“…we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society?”
By Carol Masters WAMM Newsletter Fall II 2015
Around the world, people of faith and concerned citizens are being asked to reflect on what corporate-driven global capitalism and greed are doing to our planet. In Turin, Italy, this past June, Pope Francis severely criticized arms manufacturers and those who profit from such production. At a huge rally the pontiff declared that those who claim to follow Christ but also manufacture weapons are hypocrites. His criticism was not limited to the manufacturers; Francis also called out investors, saying “duplicity is the currency of today…they say one thing and do another” (Time, June 22, 2015). On September 24, in an address to the U.S. Congress, he urged an end to the arms trade:
…we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade. (“Pope Francis Address to Joint Meeting of Congress,” C-Span, September 24, 2015)
This past summer, his encyclical “Laudato Sii: On the Care for Our Common Home” was released, asserting that climate change is a moral issue. The encyclical covers global crises from the destruction of biodiversity to the unacceptable treatment of the poor, immigrants, and climate refugees. The paper offers an uncompromising indictment of free markets, accusing capitalism of plundering the planet, driving global inequality, and serving only the ‘very few.’ These few beneficiaries also have obstructed desperately needed action.
Similarly, in August in Istanbul, Turkey, Islamic leaders from 20 countries launched a bold Climate Change Declaration to engage the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims on the issue of our time. At Istanbul’s International Islamic Climate Change Symposium the Declaration urged the assembled governments to come to a strong, new international climate agreement in Paris when the nations of the world gather at the United Nations Climate Change Conference this coming December. The Declaration presents the moral case, based on Islamic teachings, for Muslims and people of all faiths worldwide to take urgent climate action.
In Minnesota, Minneapolis Area Synod Lutherans passed a resolution focused on U.S. war policies, citing “harm to future generations in environmental destruction and genetic mutation” as well great “public expense, removing resources from life-sustaining and vital social needs.” The resolution asks congregations to do “soul-searching” and faith leaders to call on Congress to remove consent for the Authorization for Use of Military Force, so that it is not applied indefinitely and indiscriminately to all countries and targets; and to call for a report and hearings evaluating the consequences of U.S. military action since 1990 on global violence and instability.
Carol Masters is a writer, editor, antiwar activist, and member of the WAMM Newsletter Committee.
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