Clinton St. Quarterly, Vol. 7 No. 4 | Winter 1985 (Seattle) /// Issue 14 of 24 /// Master# 62 of 73

The State of Washington has lost the last three cases against demonstrators charged with “Attempting to obstruct a lawfully operated train.” The State was not able to prove that the White Train operation was legal, even under domestic law. then the local TV. talk show. There are a lot of ways to get the word out. “There’s a guy, an old farmer, and he’s retired now, this year. He wants to devote the rest of his life to fighting Hanford. He gave this friend a list of doctors in the area who are very much against Hanford, and ' some of them have put together death charts and cancer lists. Would anyone like a copy?” Karen Sticklin___ Two hundred people stand in a circle, holding hands. It’s dusk and it feels like rain. Silent figures walk behind, passing out candles. A song is shared: "We are in this all together, and we are singing, singing for our lives. ” By the time all the verses have been sung, intermittent flickers can be seen around the circle. The chanting and drums of a Buddhist monk have stopped. Except for the noise of a news helicopter, this Vigil on the. tracks in a Kitsap Peninsula forest is quiet. The sobbing of a woman becomes faintly audible. The White Train is already inside the cyclone fence around Naval Submarine Base Bangor, and Karen Sticklin is under arrest again. She was dragged across the tracks by one Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputy and one Burlington Northern security guard. She was dumped in an ordinary Kitsap County Transit bus, driven by a regular driver. She let her body go limp on purpose; she believes in “Non-violent Non-codperation.” Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi and Jesus are her exemplars. Karen was instrumental in the Civil Disobedience Training, the Vigil Orientation, and helped to plan meetings with Burlington Northern officials and the Sheriff, before the arrival of the train. She is a member of the Seattle Agape Community. Agape is a Greek word meaning divine love operating through the human heart. According to Karen and her group, Agape is more powerful than nuclear weapons. She helped to post flyers all over Seattle: “LOVE Will Stop the Train.” Two years ago, Karen was arrested for sitting on these same tracks. Things were different then. The nuclear warheads actually did arrive on a specially- painted White Train. The Department of Energy, responsible for the movement of these shipments, has since changed the color of the cars, making them less conspicuous, less likely to attract the attention of protesters. But the “White Train” label stuck, and Agape activists are not giving up. A woman who lives on a hill overlooking the Pantex plant in Amarillo, Texas, watches from her window with binoculars. She can see the train being prepared for departure. When it leaves the gates, she makes the first telephone call, activating a phone tree network involving 250 Agape groups across the country. Their common bond is the railroad tracks. The nuclear train passes through each of their hometowns twice a year on its way to Bangor, where the warheads (usually 150 per shipment) are installed in the atomic submarines sent out on patrol. This particular White Train is made up of red, orange, green and blue cars, and it looks just like any other freight train, except for the turreted security cars, and the armed guards, dozens of them, hanging from the,outside of the boxcars. Until now, it has always been the intention of authorities to “Move the train through at all costs.” The guards are trained to “Take appropriate action if the shipment is endangered.” Appropriate action can mean shooting to kill anyone believed to threaten the shipment. Last year, a White Train accelerated when it approached six protesters sitting on the tracks near Memphis. But now, for the first time. Burlington Northern officials and the Kitsap County Sheriff agreed in advance that the best course of action would be to stop the train for the people on the tracks in the interest of preserving human life. They made this agreement with the Seattle Agape Community contingent on the behavior of the “Vigilers,” who are committed to the philosophy and practice of Non-violence. So the train did stop for the crowd seated on the tracks; long enough for Agape members to present a giftwrapped loaf of bread to the Engineer and crew; long enough for the reading of a poem. And it waited while the Sheriff asked the Civil Disobedience people to leave the tracks, and for them to be physically removed when they refused. About 10 minutes. Then it moved through the gates, into the Navy Base. There have been legal developments since the last time Karen went through this. Two years ago she was charged by the State of Washington with “Attempting to obstruct a lawfully operated train.” Archbishop of Seattle Raymond G. Hunthausen Responds To Questions from Susan Cicotte and CSQ Interview Conducted by Dr. Maury R. Sheridan Cz/inton St. Quarterly: Your own position on nuclear armament is clear. You have called Trident the “Auschwitz of Puget Sound. ” Yousay your own convictions on disarmament are not moral absolutes of Church teaching. What is the position of the Church on the participation of Catholics in the building of nuclear weapons? Archbishop Hunthausen: There is a paragraph from the U.S. Bishops’ pastoral letter on war and peace (“The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response’’—May, 1983) stating how the bishops feel on that: "You (men and women in defense industries) also face specific questions because the defense industry is directly involved in the development and production of weapons of mass destruction which have concerned us in this letter. We do not presume or pretend that clear answers exist to many of the personal, professional and financial choices facing you in your varying responsibilities. In this letter we have ruled out certain uses of nuclear weapons, while also expressing conditional moral acceptance for deterrence. All Catholics, at every level of defense industries, can and should use the moral principles of this letter to form their consciences. We realize that different judgements of conscience will face different people, and we recognize the possibilities of diverse concrete judgements being made in this complex nrea. We seek as moral teachers and pastors to be available to all who confront these questions of personal and vocational choice. Those who in conscience decide that they should no longer be associated with defense activities should find support in the Catholic community. Those who remain in these industries or earn a profit from the weapons industry should find in the church guidance and support for the ongoing evaluation of their work.” CSQ: United States federal law demands that Americans contribute to the nuclear arms race with tax dollars. International law (the Charter of the International Military Tribunal) forbids “crimes against peace, ” including preparation for war. It forbids "crimes against humanity," including extermination. Are their divine laws that would apply to participation in the nuclear arms build up. ARH: The nature of the question is such that “divine law” can be interpreted either way. That is, the people who are building up arms, of course, would argue that the reason for the arms build up is to preserve peace and to avoid war. You can use the same issue and turn it either direction, so for me to argue that the Christian believes that we are created in the image and likeness of God, and the greatest commandment is to love God and love one’s neighbor as oneself, to forgive one’s enemies and to do good to those who hate you-—this, it seems to me, is all behind this argument. Now that’s all based on the premise that these weapons will one day be used. They would argue, well, they might not be. So I think the other argument, of course, is the cost factor in the arms build up, how this denies the kind of support for the needy in the world. You almost have to go into a lengthier explanation of that because the very argument you use is the same argument those who support a build up would use, as well. CSQ; There is a woman who lives in my building. Every morning she gets in her car and drives to Boeing. She works overtime as a draftsperson on the Cruise Missile Project. What would you say to this woman and all of our Puget Sound neighbors who spend their workday building and aiming the missiles. ARH: In no way would I try to lay a guilt trip on that person. But I would, with that person, just as I would with anyone else, ask them to become better acquainted with what the arms race is about. I'd urge them to read the peace pastoral, reflect on it, and engage in conversation with others. The implication again is that my feeling toward this person is that she’s in the wrong and I’m in the right. I really believe that my intent is to sensitize people to what the implications of the arms race really are, and how we as a country—our whole economy—seems to be based on that arms race, and I think this is a misdirection of resources, of talents. There’s a brain drain right there. I would like us as a world and as a people to direct these talents and these resources to other, much more gainful purposes, and reflect on that. I've known people who, on that kind of reflection, have come to the conclusion that they cannot in conscience continue to contribute to something which they find is a misdirection for the human family. I think the important issue is that people take the arms race seriously, no matter what kind of occupation they’re in. 30 Clinton St. Quarterly