A veteran peace activist will lead other demonstrators tomorrow (Thursday) in a protest at the U.S. Strategic Command center at Offutt Air Force Base. Frank Cordaro is a 55-year-old retired priest and co-founder of the Des Moines Catholic Worker community.
Cordaro has been arrested more than a hundred times since his first act of civil disobedience in 1977, at the Pentagon. He estimates that in the last three decades he?s served nearly five years of prison time in 12 states for his peace activism. After crossing onto Offutt Air Force Base in December 2005, Cordaro was charged with criminal trespassing and served six months in federal prison. Three other activists were arrested and received probation sentences.
Cordaro says come tomorrow, he will not join others in crossing the line. ?I?m no real hero here, I?m just another human being trying to point the way, saying listen folks, we?re doing this wrong, we need to change the course. And right now I?m not ready to do another half a year in jail. So call me a coward. I do. I think we?re all cowardly when it comes to what we need to do.?
Cordaro organized a three-day retreat that began Tuesday at Creighton University, which includes a historical overview of nonviolent civil disobedience at Offutt, a period of spiritual reflection, a planning session, and finally a line crossing at 12:30 P.M. tomorrow (Thursday). Cordaro acknowledges the demonstrations have little effect. But he says the hope is other Christians will get their message that nuclear weaponry contradicts the teachings of Jesus. Offutt officials were not available for comment.