We affirm that peace is possible

Dear Northwest Quarter of New England Yearly Meeting:

As many of you know, in 2013 an interfaith group of religious leaders, including the Clerk of the Burlington Friends Meeting, asked the City of Burlington to oppose the basing of the F-35 fighter/bomber at Burlington International Airport, scheduled for 2020. Since that time, the noise of other military aircraft has forced the demolition of 200 owner-occupied homes around the runway and the new plane will place 3,000 additional homes in jeopardy due to noise and heightened crash risk. This at a time when rents are rising beyond the means of those with minimum wages and the homeless increasingly camp in the wooded areas of Chittenden County.iu-1.jpeg

Why is opposition to the basing of the F-35 of significance to Quakers? Through FCNL we have long sought a reduction in military spending and a shift of funds to meet our great social needs in education, healthcare, infrastructure, job development, and environmental stewardship. At $1.4 trillion over 40 years, this war machine represents a considerable portion of the defense budget, $700 for the coming year, and will continue to do so in future years making social priorities impossible to achieve. Furthermore, our 2016 NEYM Minute on Climate Change affirmed that fossil fuel use threatened life as we know it on earth, https://neym.org/news/2016-yearly-meeting-climate-change. The F-35 is not only a huge user of fossil fuel, its deployment in the Middle East has been in defense of our unfettered access to petroleum.

The F-35 is now deployed to Japan and is being used to provoke and intimidate North Korea, a nuclear power, thus risking catastrophic war. Yet NEYM’s Faith and Practice states, “Because of the incomparable evil presented by the threat of nuclear war, we are moved to bear a passionate witness for life and peace.”
Burlington residents, including many Quakers, are trying to place the question of basing the F-35 near Vermont’s largest population center on the city ballot for Town Meeting Day, March 6, 2018. We have have created this video for Media and Democracy, our public access channel, to explain our reasoning.
https://www.cctv.org/watch-tv/programs/f-35-question

We affirm that preparation for war before all other social goals isungodly. We affirm that peace is possible.

Charles Simpson, Co-clerk, Burlington Monthly Meeting

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