Message is simple: No nukes

From: Times Union

Message is simple: No nukes

First published: Saturday, May 8, 2010

Lying on my back, in the middle of the road, crying and wailing, the police looked withdrawn and confused. The strength of the women who joined in this anguished lamentation, our expression of profound grief over nuclear weapons and the poisoning of the land with radioactive waste somehow touched upon the holy mother and the divine feminine. It is Easter Sunday 2010 at the Nevada Test Site. I have returned to protest nuclear weapons and again my behavior has taken me out of the logical and rational. It has left me feeling disoriented and disturbed, yet a powerful healing and life-affirming transformation has occurred. Isn’t this what Easter is about?

I want so much for Christianity to find itself, to give up violence and the mistaken belief in the right to kill. Jesus offer loved and the way of the cross. The bomb is the way of the sword, the ultimate weapon in our killing arsenal. Years ago, late Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen of Seattle said, “Our nuclear war preparations are the global crucifixion of Jesus.” Recently the Indian writer Arundhati Roy has simplified this understanding. “If you are religious,” she said, “then remember that this bomb is man’s challenge to God. It’s worded quite simply: We have the power to destroy everything that you have created.”

Near the Nevada Test Site exists a spiritual anomaly, the Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet. It is metaphorically and literally an oasis, with natural springs offering life-giving water in the Mojave Desert. A visionary, Genevieve Vaughan, created this temple to Goddess Spirituality. Inside the temple the divine feminine is worshiped, most visibly in the form of Goddess Sekhmet, El Madre Del Mundo and the holy mother.

Genevieve wrote of her experience here in 1986. “I knew almost at once that this was the right place to build a temple to the goddess. The Earth at the test site is wounded underground. You can feel it in your body as you stand at the gate of the test site looking some 40 miles across the desert at the hills … Mother Earth is injured there, and nuclear waste is being stored in her wounds.”
Genevieve talked about wailing the test site. “We name the things we mourn for and moan, and scream our grief like banshees.”

The Judaeo-Christian tradition once recognized the need for lamentation more fully. It was past time for us to wail against nuclear weapons. We wailed our grief with our brothers and sisters of the Sacred Peace Walk and the priestess of the Goddess Temple. We writhed and screamed against the destruction of our planet. Hot tears streamed to the asphalt, and as we wailed, a Shoshone chief drummed what seemed like the calming and “steady beat of a human heart.”

Last Sunday, thousands of people walked from Times Square to the United Nations calling for nuclear disarmament and the implementation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Our message was simple and profound, summed up in signs that said, “No Nukes, No Wars, Fund Human Needs, Protect the Planet” and “It’s Always Been Wrong,” and the words Buckminster Fuller, “We Are Called to Be Architects of the Future, Not Victims.”

Some 1,800 people traveled from Japan, including survivors from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Giving the rally a gracious civility and gentle tone, they came bearing friendship and small gifts. Steve Wickham, a peace activist from Guilderland, encountered a woman, a Hibakusha, who survived the blast at Hiroshima. She was 13 years old in 1945. She suffered burns over 25 percent of her body, was rendered infertile by the radioactivity has bone and eye problems in her later life. Her peaceful nature and message was moving.

We cannot leave it to our leaders to abolish nuclear weapons. All of us as common citizens must speak out and insist upon nuclear abolition. Sunday is Mother’s Day. Let us all insist that we take care of our holy mother planet Earth, end the threat of nuclear annihilation and restore the balance of the divine feminine.

John Amidon is a member of Veterans for Peace in Albany. Wailing at the Nevada Test Site can be seen on YouTube at