Martha Hennessy’s RFRA Oral Argument

Our Catholic faith and formation of conscience calls us to what some may describe as prophetic action that requires service to others. Faith is seen in action, not merely through words alone. Each time people of faith give up their personal security for the love of good, mercy, and justice, evil becomes overcome by God’s good will.

We are guided by this religious commitment through Scripture (Is. 2-4) and papal declarations, (Nuclear Disarmament: Time For Abolition, Dec. 2014) to pray and witness at the site of sin and illegal intention as our military prepares to use nuclear bombs against innocent people in the world.

We poured blood at the administration building of the command and control center of our Trident nuclear arsenal. Seeking forgiveness and exposing plans to commit mass murder cannot occur without the shedding of blood.

Our sacramental act makes tangible and evident, with our blood and symbolic hammering, what is not confessed in the maintenance of this U.S. naval base.

Our desire for nuclear abolition is being criminalized because of our religious requirement for a presence on the base to point out and uphold the rule of law.

The government has chosen the most punitive threat, 20 years in prison, for our religious exercise of a symbolic act of disarmament. The government’s compelling interest of keeping safe the personnel, property, and ourselves while on the base, was never at risk as shown with the hours we were on the base, and the many security vehicles that passed by us while we waited at the Missile Shrine.

The government has recognized our verbalized faith in action, knowing our motivations for many months in this case.

The government is attempting to dictate what is or is not a religious exercise regarding our nonviolent, symbolic direct action. Common sense and the least restrictive means have not been applied in the handling of our case for the past 16 months.

Criminal prosecution and imprisonment would be a substantial burden on the practice of our religious belief in our responsibility to protect human life, in being able to attend Mass on a daily basis, and to continue the daily works of mercy caring for the poor in our houses of hospitality.

We are committed to complying with human laws that are in line with God’s law; thou shalt not kill.

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