Sister Joan Speech        
    Page 2

    In 1995, in Cambodia, thirty one percent of the so-called “sex-workers” were
    girls between the ages of twelve and seventeen.  It’s women who endure
    domestic violence at home, from their frustrated and violence driven warrior
    husbands.  And it’s women who bear, and feed, and raise the children, raping
    warriors leave behind.  But those issues never get negotiated.  Those issues
    never come to the compensation tables.  Those issues, the issues of women
    and children they’re left to support in the midst of war, as a result of war, are
    never redressed by peace treaties, never dealt with by male mediators, never
    factored in to the cost of war, never considered in the determination to go to
    war, never even counted as victims.  Indeed, women have a place to fill, and
    a stake to claim, and a role to play in the world’s pursuit of peace.  Indeed,
    women have a right to participate in the decisions that lead to the waging of
    war, to judge the strategies!  They have a right to judge the strategies that are
    becoming the instruments of war and to suggest, no, to demand the feminine
    alternatives of listening and seeing and caring and relating and reaching out
    and feeling for the other that lead the world away from war!  It’s time for women to take as much
    responsibility for maintaining the life of the world as they do for bearing the life of the world.  Otherwise,
    we raise one world to destroy the other.  Otherwise, we make a mockery of the very spiritual
    responsibility we say we hold to bring life to birth, in us, within us, around us.  

    But if giving life, preserving life and valuing life is a spiritual responsibility, what does religion have to do
    with war?  The important thing to remember is that religion itself is meant to be only a means to sanctity,
    not an end in itself!  Religion is at best, the Sufi Master says, a finger pointing at the moon!  Religion
    itself then, consumed more by the national, then the universal, more by the cultural than the cosmic,
    more by religiosity than real religion can become both an instrument and a purveyor of war.  When we
    stop, you and I, at the level of religious rights and rituals, religious rogues and parochial rules, and call
    those things religion, call those things, our things, absolutes, we stop far short of the divine!  We missed
    the moon entirely.  When we stop at the level of denominations, throw up dogmatic drawbridges and fill
    the moats between us and other people with theological acid, on a planet of peoples, made plural by
    our creating God, we failed the creator who made this many-ness , is never the less, always, always
    one.  Then we make our religions God and our God puny!  Then we make,
    then we make our religions dangerous!  

    Real religious people know, that creation in all of its diversity, is the face of
    God’s presence in the world.  And so, all of creation, all God’s creatures must
    be reverenced tenderly.  Violence against the other, violence on the scale
    that’s practiced, now, and here, and by us-- by us meaning the United States
    of America-- by us meaning the globe, over two hundred wars in the twentieth
    century alone.  And these wars of ours responsible for sixty million—sixty
    percent of the one hundred million war deaths since the year 1700, defy all
    the definitions of religion we’ve ever had.  And over ninety percent of those
    ungodly deaths, remember, are now civilian innocents whose number of
    wounded are not even counted, let alone compensated.  

    Months after the war in Iraq had begun, a high ranking American official was
    being interviewed by TV commentators in New York City.  Sir, one of the
    reporters said, could you tell us—you’ve told us how—you know how many
    American war dead we have in Iraq—Could you tell us how many Iraqi war
    dead there are?  And one of the highest men in our government looked
    straight into that television camera and said, that is a number in which I have
    absolutely no interest what so ever.  Ask yourself then, what of the feminine
    is missing in this government’s attitude toward how you impose a democracy
    on people who don’t want it?

    Only seven percent of our bombs in Iraq, our own government certifies, were
    defined as precision bombs.  And only two to four percent of those, so-called,
    precision bombs, the military certifies, were accurate.  And even the so-called accurate ones, in urban
    settings, destroyed property and people for miles around.  Wipe out of your head, that fallacious picture
    of a bomb dropping through a smoke stack in the middle of a city!  Surely, that kind of indiscriminate
    killing of defenseless slaughter, call it a collateral damage to justify your
    carnage, if you can, is clearly a sin against the sacrament of life!

    We stand, you see, we religious people, this religious nation, on the brink of
    human extinction boasting that we seek the God of Light.  And so, we have
    millions of dead, trillions of dollars used for destruction rather than
    development, millions of civilian refugees homelessly roaming the world
    today, over thirteen million of them internally displaced, hundreds of
    thousands more of them on the roads, and all of them in rape camps, we so
    genteelly call refugee camps, by very nice people!  Where women are
    unprotected and war maddened military guerillas and paramilitaries and
    even international aid workers, the UN itself admits, prey on the girls that were left behind.  All of them,
    all of them, all of them, give a lie to the claim, that we are religious people.  Whatever our president
    proclaims himself to be, he is definitely not Pro-Life!

    Lights (so bright in her eyes)

    The point is clear.  Violence has simply run its course.  War is now total, which means that war, as we
    define it, and we dream it, and doggedly go on making up moral reasons, God help us, moral reasons
    to approve of it, is now obsolete.  It not only threatens the planet, it exhausts the resources of the very
    countries that declare it!  And so in the end, don’t be misled for a minute.  We will all lose this war, even
    if we win it!  War is much more than military conflict now.  It is social annihilation.  It is the displacement
    of the innocent, the destruction of the beautiful, the defilement of the , and the disfigurement of the soles
    of the young, wounds from which the human spirit never really recovers, unless and until, religion
    rediscovers spirituality!

    Religion, history shows us, as often used in the service of the secular and determined by voices like the
    secular society around it, that are predominantly, if not always, male.  Spirituality, on the other hand, is
    about enlightenment, the ability to see beyond all the things we make God, to find God.  We make
    religion God and so we fail to see Godliness in religions other than our own, though goodness and
    holiness are clear and constant everywhere!  We make human color and gender, the color and gender
    of God!  And we fail to see God in the one who comes in different shades and other forms than ours,
    though all of our scriptures are clear about equality and all those theologies are sound.  We separate
    spirit and matter as if they were two different things, though we know that matter is simply fields of
    molecular force made dense by the same energy that is the basis of everything.  We are one, then, with
    the entire universe.  This, and this.  We’re not separate from it.  We’re all simply in it together, swimming
    together in the energy that is God.  All of us, Afghans and Iraqis, Palestinians and Israelis, Americans
    and Arabs, Christians and Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims and Jews, we are, each of us, just simply
    one more tiny sliver of humanity seeking to become more human, trying to become more Godly.

    But nor then can we ever be by degrading these others.  Enlightenment takes us all beyond our
    parochialisms to the only present presence of God in the entire universe.  It ignores color.  It disdains
    gender!  It releases gifts and it listens to voices not its own, precisely because they are not its own!  To
    be enlightened is to be in touch with the God within us and around us and all of these others, more than
    it is to be engulfed by any one denominational construct, however good it may be.  God has many faces
    and speaks in every tongue.  The real religious knows that God is radiant light, blazing fire, asexual
    spirit, colorless wind.  God is the magnet of our souls, the breath of our hearts, the very stuff of our lives.  
    God is no ones pigment, no ones flag and no ones gender.  And those who certify their God under any of
    these credentials make a new idol in the dessert!
    To be religious people, to be spiritual, we must think beyond our religions to the reasons for which all
    religions exist, to engender the life of God, in us and around us, both here and hereafter, hereafter of
    course, but here as well.  Religion is at base, a cosmic call to cosmic consciousness.  

    We must be conscious of the fact that we can no longer take war for granted.  We took slavery for
    granted once.  Ask a black in this room today.  But, we have grown beyond that now, God willing.  We
    take war for granted, now, say its natural, even then blindly tell ourselves that life is like that.  But its not!  
    Years of aggression studies show us that people do control their anger even under provocation.  Years
    of anthropology show us that there have been cultures who did not practice war.  The ancient Minoans,
    for instance, who populated Crete, for fifteen hundred years  went without a war!  The Vikings
    slaughtered and plundered, yes, but their descendents in Sweden haven’t fought a war in two hundred
    years!  Years of game theory experiments show us that people quickly become fixated on strategies that
    assure fain foe everyone rather than risk everything for anyone and that even when the group gains,
    would be smaller than the possible profits for anyone who might conceivably defeat the rest of them.  In
    other words, people regularly choose smaller personal gains in order to profit the whole group and
    themselves as well.  We know, in other words, yes, that interdependence—France’s reliance on
    German tourists, for instance, makes war a lot less likely between the two of them now than ever before
    in history.  War, we must understand, we must preach from the housetops, we must never allow
    anybody else to change our minds about it.  War is not inevitable.  War is planned.  War is a choice!  

    This, then, is indeed your moment, an historic moment.  You and I are living in a time when by calling for
    a summit of spiritual leaders, both men and women, the United Nations, this international organization,
    has recognized the untapped potential, both of religion and of women spiritual leaders as well, to be a
    necessary force in the peacemaking process of a world in chaos.  Mark it down!  The texture, the
    composition, and the character of the political and peace making world changed in your lifetime.  As
    George Clemens so put it once, war is much too important a matter to be left to generals.  This is, then,
    a most religious moment.  Why?  Because religion is fast becoming the most dangerous thing the world
    has to offer!  Now our newspapers speak of Jihads and Armageddon’s and new crusades and biblical
    land grants and blame God for all of them.  Religion has become, in other words, religion worst enemy.  
    Catholics and Protestants, Buddhists and Christians, Christians and Muslims, Muslims and Hindus,
    religious radicals everywhere, threaten the life of which each of them, ironically, say they stand.  Clearly,
    it is time for women, the other half of the human race, the other face of God, to save both their religions
    and their nations.  Women, the life bearers, must now give to the world the spiritual life this world lacks.  

    Holy one, the disciples asks, what’s the difference between knowledge and enlightenment?  And the
    Holy one replied, when you have knowledge, you light a torch to find the way.  When you have
    enlightenment, you become a torch to show the way!  It’s time for women to take their place in bringing
    spiritual light, to show the world the way in a world that is adoring at the shrine of the God of death, at
    their expense, at the cost of their children, at the destruction of the globe.  It’s time for women to be
    where they can say, No, No, No, to war, in honor of Brahma, to extinction for the sake of Buddhism, to
    death in behalf of Yahweh, to massacres in the name of Allah, to crusading reprisals in the mane of
    Christ!  It is time for women to speak a public voice against the wars that men have designed to protect
    them, without ever putting women themselves at the tables, where a few decide to wage them, or
    governments refuse to negotiate them.  To do that, women must bring to the public arena, values that
    have been long missing there.  

    The first value is the awareness of our political policies can never be really affective and if they’re not
    based on sound, spiritual principles, rather than on absolutist, religious precepts.  The second missing
    value is the awareness that the spiritual can never be real if it ignores the political aspects of life.  The
    third value that must finally be recognized is that women have another agenda, a different agenda, and it
    must be brought to political systems in a world gone mad with arrogance, with ascendancy to
    patriarchal power, to each of those values, to each of those values, each facet of the Abrahamic tradition
    that has formed in the West and now threatens the world brings a light to show the way!

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How beautiful the world is when we live and work together in peace.
Global Strategy of Nonviolence
Mother Theresa said, “Peace begins with a smile.”
Welcome! A Global Strategy of Nonviolence
FOR the CHILDREN A World-Wide Unity Campaign
A Strategy to Bring Peace For the Children and Stop  War
(GS of NV)

In 3 years, we the
people, can change the



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September 11, 2021
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