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May 12, 2019

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North Korea?  Venezuela? Iran? It doesn't matter. John Bolton just wants to go to war. 
"Trump, facing the possibility of military confrontations with both Iran and Venezuela, said on Thursday that he sometimes serves as a counterbalance to his hard-charging national security adviser, John Bolton" Reuters reports. “John’s very good," Trump said, "he has strong views on things which is OK. I’m the one who tempers him, which is OK." 

"Crises around the globe are shining a bright spotlight on John Bolton a little more than a year into his tenure as President Trump’s national security adviser," The Hill reports. "Critics and supporters alike see Bolton’s fingerprints on Trump’s foreign policy, particularly as tensions with Iran and Venezuela appear close to boiling over."
"And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." — Isaiah 2:4
The solution to dealing with Iran according to John Bolton? Attack them.

The solution to dealing with Venezuela according to John Bolton? Attack them.

The solution to dealing with North Korea according to John Bolton? Attack them.

The idea that Trump is "tempering" Bolton's rush to war across the continents and three very different situations should frighten us all. We are close to any number of military involvement and you can see the advantage for Trump in looking "tough" ahead of the 2020 elections.

But enough about Trump and Bolton. Today is Mother's Day. And I want to give the floor to poet Julia Ward Howe. Decades before President Woodrow Wilson established the first national Mother’s Day holiday on May 9, 1914, she envisioned a Mother’s Day that would be part of a worldwide peace movement. (For more on the back story behind Mother's Day, check out this fascinating article from Jacobin: "Bring Back the Real Mother’s Day.")

From the article: "Howe inaugurated the first 'Mother’s Day,' or 'Women’s Peace Festival,' in New York on June 2, 1872, and continued to commemorate the day in subsequent years under the auspices of such groups as the Society of the Friends of Peace and the Women’s Educational Society. At its 1874 anniversary, participants sang songs and read papers, including one calling for the abolition of standing armies and war armaments and the creation of a system for universal peace arbitration." 

Now that's a stark contrast to Trump and Bolton! The peace magazine Plough Quarterly published the proclamation Julia Warde Howe wrote for Mother's Day, which still needs to be shared today -- 149 years later:

Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of tears! Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.

“Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says, “Disarm, disarm! The sword is not the balance of justice.” Blood does not wipe out dishonor nor violence indicate possession.

As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each learning after his own time, the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.
Add your name to this petition: Stop Bolton’s war with Iran!
Great God, who has told us
"Vengeance is mine,"
save us from ourselves,
save us from the vengeance in our hearts
and the acid in our souls.

Save us from our desire to hurt as we have been hurt,
to punish as we have been punished,
to terrorize as we have been terrorized.

Give us the strength it takes
to listen rather than to judge,
to trust rather than to fear,
to try again and again
to make peace even when peace eludes us.

We ask, O God, for the grace
to be our best selves.
We ask for the vision
to be builders of the human community
rather than its destroyers.
We ask for the humility as a people
to understand the fears and hopes of other peoples.

We ask for the love it takes
to bequeath to the children of the world to come
more than the failures of our own making.
We ask for the heart it takes
to care for all the peoples
of Afghanistan and Iraq, of Palestine and Israel
as well as for ourselves.

Give us the depth of soul, O God,
to constrain our might,
to resist the temptations of power
to refuse to attack the attackable,
to understand
that vengeance begets violence,
and to bring peace--not war--wherever we go.

For You, O God, have been merciful to us.
For You, O God, have been patient with us.
For You, O God, have been gracious to us.

And so may we be merciful
and patient
and gracious
and trusting
with these others whom you also love.

This we ask through Jesus,
the one without vengeance in his heart.
This we ask forever and ever. Amen

prayer for world peace - sister joan chittister - benedictine sisters of erie
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