NO to NATO – YES to Peace

A NO to NATO Counter Summit is planned in Washington, DC following a Canada-wide week of action (July 5-11) to protest the 75th Anniversary in Washington DC, July 9-11. (See more re Demonstrations in Toronto)

“You have heard it said, Love your neighbours but hate your enemies. But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you.” Matthew 5: 44

“When someone slaps your right cheek, offer them your other cheek.” Matthew 5:39

“Put your sword back in its sheath.” John 18:11

The above teachings of Jesus offer us the most counter-intuitive and greatest wisdom teaching ever given for disrupting the cycle of violence. However, as church and followers of Jesus these words are rarely taken to heart, embodied, or lived out by Christians down through the centuries as witness to the endless wars that have wracked Christian Europe from the time of the conversion of the Emperor Constantine to the present.

July 9-11 the leaders of the 32 countries that make up NATO will gather in Washington DC to celebrate and commemorate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Regrettably, this alliance since the collapse of the former Soviet Union has sought to expand eastward, absorbing several former east bloc countries and seeking to add Ukraine to its fold which directly precipitated the current conflict with Russia. This after Mikhael Gorbachev dissolved the Warsaw Pact and was given assurances NATO would not expand one inch eastward.

We are now well into three years of NATO’s proxy war with Russia with no foreseeable off ramp and more and deadlier weapons shipments being sent to an already devastated Ukraine. We are now closer to nuclear war than even during the Cuban Missile Crisis with Western leaders even refusing to talk to Mr Putin who continues to express a desire to de-escalate and end this war.

NATO has a proven track record of aggression over the last 30 years Iraq,Serbia/Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and now Ukraine/Russia. We in Pax Christi believe Jesus offers a true path to peace through forgiveness, love, kindness, and compassion. Therefore, we call upon Canada and all NATO member nations to say No to NATO. Thus, in Washington there will be counter demonstrations against the NATO alliance and calls for its dissolution. We know that military spending is out of control for all members of the alliance leading to hardship for citizens of these countries as resources directed toward the military leave little for real human needs like healthcare,housing, education, food security, environmental protection and a host of other serious needs. NATO is seeking commitments of 2% of GDP from all member states to increase military spending. Canada has already increased war spending 27% to meet this goal with more to come. It is time for an awakened citizenry to mobilize in a massive peace movement to call for an end to this madness. We as Christians should be front and center in this movement if we take Jesus at his word and truly want to live the Beatitude: Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God. We pray and act for Peace! Blessings and Love to All!

┬áTORONTO DEMONSTRATIONS AGAINST NATO – JULY 9-11

As the leaders of NATO gathered in Washington DC for a celebratory birthday party for the military alliances’ 75 years of existence, counter gatherings opposing its ongoing militarism were taking place around the world and also in Washington. I gathered as a member of Pax Christi, July 9 with other peace activists in front of the US Consulate on University Avenue in Toronto reminding passersby of the reality of NATO’s militarism. President Biden gave a speech praising the North Atlantic Treaty Organization promising more weapons and support for Ukraine and further expansion into Asia. Canada is now under tremendous pressure by US politicians to increase our war spending to meet NATO’s 2% of GDP. Chrystia Freeland has responded that Canada will indeed meet this requirement. While the Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenbery has stated that this is the basic requirement implying they want even more spending. Once again, as people of faith and followers of the nonviolent Jesus we are called to live the Beatitudes and especially Blessed are the Peacemakers.  Let us continue to take the Gospel of Peace and Nonviolence out of the pews and into the streets following the example of Jesus and those great disciples who did likewise: St Francis of Assisi, Dorothy Day, Fr. Louis Vitale, Frs. Dan and Phil Berrigan, and Fr. John Dear. Let us all be Peacemakers!