Gandhi was a faithful Hindu who read the Beatitudes (Matthew V or Luke VI) every day. Was it his daily absorption of the Self revelation/identification of Jesus that drove Gandhi to become our foremost example of a pacifist lifestyle in the 20th century?
There are those who cannot love their enemies simply because they do not have any. Obviously, there are people who despise or hate us, but that toxin is in their hearts, not ours. If we can rise, then retire every day without knowing one enemy, then we are free.
We all know of Gandhi, but few have encountered Concepcion (“Connie”) Picciotto, who died at age 81 on January 24, 2016, according to THE WASHINGTON POST. For over 30 years she maintained a daily vigil in front of the White House warning against our possession and intent to use nuclear weapons.
It was my privilege to pay a visit to Concepcion’s humble shelter in front of the White House in 1984.
Sojourners is a peace/social justice organization in Washington DC that investigated US overthrowing governments in Guatemala (1954), sending money and weapons to El Salvador (where 14 aristocratic families oppressed the nation), Honduras and funded the “contras” throughout the 1980’s in an effort to overthrow Nicaragua’s elected government. Why do we have refugees trying to enter the USA? They are the “fruit” of our oppressive, militaristic policies since the 1950’s. Walls are needed to keep US trouble makers at home. A hard lesson for some 2016 US political figures.
On the day of our US Senate vigil in 1984, Concepcion was standing at her post with a sign warning our Commanders-In-Chief about playing with fire by planning to use nuclear weapons. She was no threat to DC police or security officers. She stood alone with her placard and a little US flag to manifest patriotism. We from Sojourners were nearly 200 strong in opposition to US intrusion throughout Central or Latin America. Our humble effort to stop the government from wreaking havoc in other countries was to sit down peacefully in front of the US Senate office building.
No elected officials could enter unless they walked awkwardly over us. We actually shut down the senate for a brief moment. No laws would be passed sending money and arms to other nations. Unlike Concepcion, we were a “non-violent threat” to the US government and all were arrested. We had three minutes to leave, but did not.
A muscular DC police officer easily picked my non-resisting body from the front steps, but apologized gently in my ear: “I totally agree with what you are doing, but must put you in jail!”
Concepcion was a faithful fixture and daily warning to US presidents about holding thousands of nuclear weapons in our planetary-destroying arsenals.
Bishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador was a non-violent threat to oligarchs and Washington leaders. To the soldiers of his country he advised: “When you receive the order to kill, do not do so! You have an order from one higher Authority never to kill!” He was murdered by soldiers from El Salvador trained in Ft. Benning, GA, then quickly “canonized” by his own people.
Does Concepcion also deserve that saintly recognition?
“Peacemakers will be children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)