Sunday, August 07, 2011

Prayer of the Week

The following prayer is adapted from one shared today in the bulletin of my faith community, Spirit of St. Stephens Catholic Community.

We pray with the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
upon whom we unleashed the power of the atom bomb
on August 6 and August 9 sixty-six years ago.
We pray in sorrow for the lives that were changed,
and for the hearts that were hardened
to the possibilities of peace.
We pray with all who condemn the use of nuclear
or chemical weapons of any sort.
We pray with all sisters and brothers who survived
the atomic blast and all their descendants.
We pray with all who seek sufficient wisdom to use
our God-given intelligence in a just and peaceful fashion.
We pray with all who strive to learn from their mistakes,
looking to our history before stepping into the future.
We pray with all who, like John Dear, consider themselves
"a new abolitionist, working for the end of war,
and nuclear weapons."
We pray that we might live peace, sing peace,
dance, walk and talk peace today and every day
in the firm belief of transfiguring the world.



Sixty six years have passed but the horrors and destruction of the atomic bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the US military still resonate today. This brutal and unnecessary show of power against non-combatants and civilians is one of the most barbaric acts and worst war crimes that the United States government has committed.

At least 20% of the combined population of the two cities were killed or injured. More than 300,000 civilians were killed including old people, women and children. Half of the deaths in each city occurred on the first day of the attacks. Up until now, the remaining survivors are tormented by their trauma, injuries and diseases resulting from exposure to nuclear radiation.

Notwithstanding the horrible effects of the bombing, the United States still continues to use nuclear armaments as one of their military weapons. At present, the US government owns more than half of the 20,500 nuclear weapons in the world.

The possession of nuclear weapons by the militaristic U.S. government posses a large-scale threat to the people and the environment. It uses these weapons to bully nations into submission and maintain its status as a world superpower. The U.S. has the biggest military spending, the most number of military bases and deployed military forces outside its own country.

It is also the most war-mongering country. After World War II, the US was involved in different wars of aggression and invasions in Europe, Asia and Latin America. Currently, it is directly involved in the wars of invasion and aggression in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.


See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
A Dangerous State of Mind
Christianity and Nagasaki
The Challenge of Peace
John Dear on Celebrating the Birth of the Non-Violent Jesus

Related Off-site Links:
On the Sixty-Sixth Anniversary of the Bombing of Hiroshima – Gar Alperovitz (, August 6, 2011).
Planet Hiroshima – Mark Harris (, August 6, 2011).
Nuclear Remembrance, reflection and Resistance – David Krieger (, August 7, 2011).


Ray from MN said...

Isn't that special. The draft dodgers and peaceniks are praying for the dead of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Why aren't they praying for these people:

R. J. Rummel, a professor of political science at the University of Hawaii, states that between 1937 and 1945, the Japanese military murdered from nearly 3,000,000 to over 10,000,000 people, most likely 6,000,000 Chinese, Indonesians, Koreans, Filipinos, and Indochinese, among others, including Western prisoners of war. "This democide was due to a morally bankrupt political and military strategy, military expediency and custom, and national culture."[34] According to Rummel, in China alone, during 1937-45, approximately 3.9 million Chinese were killed, mostly civilians, as a direct result of the Japanese operations and 10.2 millions in the course of the war.[35] The most infamous incident during this period was the Nanking Massacre of 1937-38, when, according to the findings of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, the Japanese Army massacred as many as 300,000 civilians and prisoners of war, although the accepted figure[by whom?] is somewhere in the hundreds of thousands.[36] In Southeast Asia, the Manila massacre, resulted in the death of 100,000 civilians in the Philippines. It is estimated that at least one out of every 20 Filipinos died at the hand of the Japanese during the occupation.[37][38] In the Sook Ching massacre, Lee Kuan Yew, the ex-Prime Minister of Singapore, said during an interview on with National Geographic that there were between 50,000 and 90,000 casualties[39] while according to Major General Kawamura Saburo, there were 5000 casualties in total.[40] There were other massacres of civilians e.g. the Kalagong massacre.

Historian Mitsuyoshi Himeta reports that a "Three Alls Policy" (Sankō Sakusen) was implemented in China from 1942 to 1945 and was in itself responsible for the deaths of "more than 2.7 million" Chinese civilians. This scorched earth strategy, sanctioned by Hirohito himself, directed Japanese forces to "Kill All, Burn All, and Loot All."

Additionally, captured allied service personnel were massacred in various incidents, including:

* Laha massacre[41]
* Banka Island massacre[42]
* Parit Sulong
* Palawan massacre
* SS Tjisalak massacre perpetrated by Japanese submarine I-8
* Wake Island massacre - See Battle of Wake Island
* Bataan Death March
* Shinyo Maru Incident

[edit] Human experimentation and biological warfare
Shiro Ishii, commander of Unit 731.

Special Japanese military units conducted experiments on civilians and POWs in China. One of the most infamous was Unit 731 under Shirō Ishii. Victims were subjected to vivisection without anesthesia, amputations, and were used to test biological weapons, among other experiments. Anesthesia was not used because it was believed to affect results.[43]

Michael J. Bayly said...

Ray, my response to your comment can be found here.