Nun was actually a hero.

Yesterday I wrote a post about an 83 year-old nun trying to steal uranium that I got pretty much entirely wrong.  The nun is actually a hero.  She’s part of a group called the Plowshares Movement which does non-violent protests against nuclear arms.

1. absolutely nonviolent to people, 2. each actor claimed personal responsibility for her or his actions, never fleeing the scene but rather standing accountable, 3. making some effort, big or small, real or symbolic, to turn swords into plowshares.

I’m not a complete pacifist, since I think violence can, on rare occasion, be necessary (only because other people are being violent though, so if we could ditch all violence…).  For instance, I believe military opposition to Adolph Hitler was the right thing to do.

But for the most part violence sucks, and we could definitely do with fewer nuclear weapons.  The woman made a sacrifice to make a point and she should be lauded for it.  Mea culpa.  You go, nun!

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Glodson

    I might not like her religion, and I sure as hell don’t respect her religion, but I respect her for her courage and willingness to take a stand. She’s got a good cause, and showed some bravery.

    As a side note, it is always good to see someone admit mistakes.

  • aoscott

    She was given up to 20 years for this. God bless America, right?

    • Glodson

      Thank goodness she didn’t have any pot. It could have been worse.

      If only she had done something as harmless as rape. (As of 1992, the average sentence was about 11.8 years, with about 5.4 years time served in the US, which is the most recent reliable data I have.)

      • Fred

        I hate that you used the example of rape. But since you opened the door. Rape only affects one person. She and her two compatriots affected everyone in that facility. The intrusion caused the plant to shut down for two weeks.

        Further they were offered the chance to plead to a charge of trespassing and 1 year, they rejected that offer.

        “The protesters’ attorneys noted that once they refused to plead guilty to trespassing, prosecutors substituted that charge with a sabotage count that increased the maximum prison term from one year to 20 years. ”

        So yeah she was offered the chance to plead out rape to a much lesser charge, when she turned that down the govt went with premeditated gang rape.

        In short she’s getting exactly the martyrdom she wanted.

        • Glodson

          I dislike that you used the example of rape. But since you opened the
          door. Rape only affects one person. She and her two compatriots affected
          everyone in that facility. The intrusion caused the plant to shut down
          for two weeks.

          This is absurd. Rape effects more than just one person. And the effect that it has on that one person lasts a lifetime. Years into decades. To bring it further, there’s the victims friends and family. There’s an effect on them. A lasting effect.

          But I guess the plant that has to shut down for weeks is exactly the same thing.

          • Fred

            Don’t try to cover up YOUR trivialization of rape by overreacting to me.Excuse the Fuck out of me for trying to make a point by using your own dumb example. I didn’t say it was exactly the same thing. I’d appreciate it if you put those words down and not stuff them into my mouth anymore.

            Point being she was offered the chance to plead out to a much lesser charge that she’s perfectly guilty of. The people who self selected to go with her were older and didn’t have any families whom their incarceration would deprive.They planned for this eventuality and by their actions in rejecting the plea, they desired this outcome.

            So yeah your griping about pot and your comparing the sentencing to rape with what actually happened looks dumb as hell.

          • Glodson

            Don’t try to cover up YOUR trivialization of rape by overreacting to me.

            I wasn’t trivializing rape. I was showing that an act of protest, non-violent protest, might easily land a greater penalty than rape could. I was also showing how rape is treated in this country, if the rapist is even punished.

            You are the one who argued over the difference in harm. If it wasn’t your intent to minimize the harm of rape, you did a poor job of it.

            I didn’t say it was exactly the same thing. I’d appreciate it if you put
            those words down and not stuff them into my mouth anymore.

            No, you didn’t. You said the protest at the plant did more harm than a rape. Let’s quote you.

            But since you opened the door. Rape only affects one person. She and her
            two compatriots affected everyone in that facility. The intrusion
            caused the plant to shut down for two weeks.

            That’s that you wrote. Now if you didn’t intend to minimize rape, okay, fine. However, this is what you wrote, and it reads as if you think her crime was tantamount, or even worse, than rape in terms of harm caused. I’m not a mind reader. I can only go by what you write.

            Point being she was offered the chance to plead out to a much lesser charge that she’s perfectly guilty of.

            You know, you could have just said that instead of making your confusing statements if that was your intent. Easy to understand. And I don’t mind her doing this in this case. It is part of the protest. It makes sense.

            Which makes your griping about sentencing for pot and rape rather dumb.

            How so? Because the state can threaten people who commit non-violent crimes, it justifies harsh penalties? That makes sense because? These penalties exist as a means of control. Often one can get a lesser plea deal that an innocent person will take rather than risk the harsher one.

            This nun could be rejecting the plea not for the sentence, but to force the trial. It furthers the cause. And to say that rejecting a plea deal is the same as the sentence a state can enforce, you are wrong. It isn’t. The pot deal was a joke on how our system handles drug offenses, how crazy we are about the sentences. That was simply a joke, as pot offenses don’t normally get that harsh.

            The rape joke was a sad commentary on our treatment of rape in the criminal justice system. Plea deals are not germane as it is about the penalty incurred for a crime. Not about the possible legal wranglings which could reduce the sentence. If she took the plea, the charges would change. Thus making her guilty of a different crime in the eyes of the court, thus reducing the possible penalty.

  • Kengi

    Cool nun.

    I can see why being a nun is becoming so popular in America. Someone recently told me they make up almost 20% of the population now. That would mean something like 40% of all women are now nuns.


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