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John Dear
John Dear is an internationally known voice for peace and nonviolence. A priest, peacemaker, organizer, lecturer, and retreat leader, he is the author/editor of 30 books, including his autobiography, “A Persistent Peace.” In 2008, John was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and in 2015 by Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

From 1998 until December 2000, he served as the executive director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the largest interfaith peace organization in the United States.

After the September 11th, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, John served as a Red Cross Chaplain, and became one of the coordinators of the chaplain program at the Family Assistance Center. He worked with some 1,500 family members who lost loved ones, as well as hundreds of firefighters and police officers, while at the same time, he spoke out against the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan.

From 2002-2004, he served as pastor of several parishes in northeastern New Mexico. He co-founded Pax Christi New Mexico and works on a nonviolent campaign to disarm Los Alamos. These days, he lectures to tens of thousands of people each year in churches and schools across the country and the world. He also works with

A longtime practitioner and teacher of nonviolence, John has written hundreds of articles and given thousands of talks on nonviolence. His many books include: The Nonviolent Life; Thomas Merton Peacemaker; Walking the Way; Lazarus, Come Forth!; Living Peace; Put Down Your Sword; Transfiguration; The Questions of Jesus; Mary of Nazareth, Prophet of Peace; Jesus the Rebel; Mohandas Gandhi; Peace Behind Bars: A Journal from Jail; The God of Peace: Toward a Theology of Nonviolence; You Will Be My Witnesses; Disarming the Heart: Toward a Vow of Nonviolence; The Sound of Listening; The Sacrament of Civil Disobedience; Seeds of Nonviolence; Our God Is Nonviolent; and Oscar Romero and the Nonviolent Struggle for Justice. He has edited: The Road to Peace: Writings on Peace and Justice by Henri Nouwen; And the Risen Bread: The Selected Poems of Daniel Berrigan, 1957-1997; and The Vision of Peace: Faith and Hope in Northern Ireland: The Writings of Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire.

John’s peacework has taken him to El Salvador, where he lived and worked in a refugee camp in 1985; to Guatemala, Nicaragua, Haiti, the Middle East, Colombia, and the Philipines; to Northern Ireland where he lived and worked at a human rights center for a year; and to Iraq, where he led a delegation of Nobel Peace Prize winners to witness the effects of the deadly sanctions on Iraqi children. He has run a shelter for the homeless in Washington, DC; taught theology at Fordham University; and served as Executive Director of the Sacred Heart Center, a community center for disenfranchized women and children in Richmond, Virginia.

A native of North Carolina, John was arrested on December 7, 1993 at the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, North Carolina for hammering on an F15 nuclear fighter bomber in an effort to "beat swords in plowshares," according to the biblical vision of the prophet Isaiah. Along with activist Philip Berrigan, he spent eight months in North Carolina county jails. John has been arrested over seventy-five times in acts of nonviolent civil disobedience for peace, and has organized hundreds of demonstrations against war and nuclear weapons at military bases across the country, as well as worked with Mother Teresa and others to stop the death penalty.

John has two masters degrees in theology from the Graduate Theological Union in California.

Entries by John Dear

The Life and Death of Daniel Berrigan

(14) Comments | Posted May 1, 2016 | 4:22 PM

The Life and Death of Daniel Berrigan
By John Dear

Rev. Daniel Berrigan, the renown anti-war activist, award-winning poet, author and Jesuit priest, who inspired religious opposition to the Vietnam war and later the U.S. nuclear weapons industry, has died at age 94, just a week shy of his...

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The Church's Turning Toward Nonviolence

(32) Comments | Posted April 20, 2016 | 2:25 PM

For its first three centuries, Christianity required the practice of active nonviolence as taught by Jesus. The early Christians refused to serve the Roman Empire or kill in its wars, and so they were routinely arrested and killed. All that changed in the year 313 when Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity....

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The Historic Vatican Peace Conference

(2) Comments | Posted April 15, 2016 | 8:58 AM

This week, an historic gathering of 80 leading Catholic peace leaders from 20 different nations met at the Vatican to call for an end to the so-called just war theory and for a recommitment to the nonviolence of Jesus.

There has literally never been a gathering...

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Building New "Nonviolent Cities"

(0) Comments | Posted March 14, 2016 | 1:34 PM

Last year, I was invited to give a talk on peace in Carbondale, Illinois. I was surprised to discover that in recent years, activists from across Carbondale had come together with a broad vision of what their community could one day become--a nonviolent city. They wanted a new holistic approach...

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Christmas Celebrates Nonviolence

(1) Comments | Posted December 24, 2015 | 11:27 AM

"And so this is Christmas, and what have you done?" That's the question which John Lennon puts to us in his famous Christmas song. In the chorus, he gets right to the point, to the heart of Christmas: "War is over, if you want it."

For some, that might...

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An Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind

(26) Comments | Posted November 25, 2015 | 9:33 AM

That Friday evening I was just beginning to lead a weekend retreat at the Kirkridge Retreat Center in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, when we received word about the terrorist attacks in Paris. Like everyone else, we were grief-stricken, but we regrouped and became even more determined to dive deep into our...

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'Do Unto Others:' Pope Francis' Call to Action

(7) Comments | Posted September 24, 2015 | 12:30 PM

"Hope and healing, peace and justice!" That's what Pope Francis called us to this morning as he addressed Congress. "Summon the courage and the intelligence to resolve today's many geopolitical and economic crises," he said.

Our efforts must aim at restoring hope, righting wrongs, maintaining commitments, and thus promoting...
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Over 325 Actions for Peace and Justice Across the US Next Week

(0) Comments | Posted September 17, 2015 | 12:39 PM

Starting this weekend, over 325 demonstrations, marches, vigils and other public events will be held all across the U.S., covering every state, as part of the second annual "Campaign Nonviolence" week of action. Tens of thousands of people will be gathering and taking to the streets to "connect the dots"...

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Bob Dylan and America's 70-Year Nuclear Nightmare

(43) Comments | Posted August 5, 2015 | 10:14 AM

A few years ago, Bob Dylan gave a powerful interview to Rolling Stone. The editor asked about his recent music, but also about our political predicament and how we got into this global mess. Dylan seemed a bit cantankerous -- forgive me, Bob! -- and kept hemming and hawing.


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Grieve, But then Teach and Organize Nonviolence

(1) Comments | Posted June 18, 2015 | 10:12 PM

Grieve, But then Teach and Organize Nonviolence
By Rev. John Dear

Like millions of others, I'm grieving the death of the nine church folk killed in the unthinkable massacre inside Charleston's Emanuel AME Church on Wednesday night. My heart goes out to the families and friends of the dead,...

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Thomas Merton's Call for Peace

(2) Comments | Posted June 4, 2015 | 8:38 AM

This weekend five hundred of us are gathering in Louisville, Kentucky, to celebrate the one hundredth birthday this year of Thomas Merton, one of the great peacemakers and spiritual teachers of our time. Born in 1915, Merton entered the Trappist monastery of the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky in 1941,...

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Honoring Oscar Romero of El Salvador

(15) Comments | Posted May 20, 2015 | 10:19 AM

This week, I'm in El Salvador to join the national celebration on Saturday, May 23, for the beatification ceremony of Archbishop Oscar Romero, the great peacemaker who was shot dead while saying Mass and preaching for peace on March 24, 1980. After 35 years, 75,000 dead, countless millions of dollars...

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Everyone Has to Practice Nonviolence Now

(11) Comments | Posted May 12, 2015 | 11:12 AM

The death of unarmed Freddie Gray in police custody and the subsequent riots in Baltimore demonstrate the profound systemic injustice in our country, as well as the complete misunderstanding and widespread hypocrisy about nonviolence.

Everyone has to practice nonviolence. Everyone. From the people on the streets to the police, to...

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Resurrection Means Nonviolence!

(0) Comments | Posted April 5, 2015 | 1:04 PM

For me, resurrection is everything. It's the lynchpin of Christianity, the key to nonviolence, the hope we hold dear, and the possibility of a new world of peace. In other words, with the resurrection of the nonviolent Jesus, anything is possible, even the abolition of war, poverty, nuclear weapons and...

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Good Friday's Last Words

(3) Comments | Posted April 2, 2015 | 10:52 PM

On Good Friday, we stand with the nonviolent Jesus as he suffers torture and execution at the hands of the empire, yet remains centered in the God of love, forgiving and nonviolent to the end. Gandhi said that in his death, Jesus practiced perfect nonviolence. He teaches us not only...

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Take the High Road to Peace

(3) Comments | Posted September 13, 2014 | 7:29 AM

Millions of Americans oppose war as a solution to our problems. Millions were opposed to Bush's war in Iraq, and they remain opposed now to war as a way to bring peace to Iraq.

War never brings peace, it always sows the seeds for future wars. War can't stop...

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With Archbishop Tutu in Cape Town

(0) Comments | Posted March 23, 2014 | 9:38 PM

In January, I fulfilled a lifelong dream of traveling to South Africa with friends to learn from those who gave their lives in the nonviolent struggle for justice, for the end of apartheid.

We traveled through Johannesburg and Soweto, where we met with our sister parishes and even met...

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Honor Mandela by Carrying On the Struggle for Justice and Peace

(1) Comments | Posted December 11, 2013 | 11:24 AM

With everyone else, I've been mourning, celebrating and reflecting these past few days on the extraordinary life of Nelson Mandela, who died on December 5. I'm amazed at his political vision, his daring revolutionary commitment, his patient endurance through 27 years in prison, his determination to avoid war and reconcile...

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Remembering a Plowshares Action for Peace, Twenty Years Ago

(2) Comments | Posted December 7, 2013 | 6:40 PM

On December 7, 1993, my friends Philip Berrigan, Lynn Fredriksson, Bruce Friedrich, and I walked onto the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, North Carolina at four in the morning, passed through thousands of soldiers in the middle of full scale national war games, came upon an F-15E nuclear-capable...

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Gutierrez and Farmer's 'In the Company of the Poor'

(1) Comments | Posted November 8, 2013 | 9:33 AM

So many voices these days uphold the "rights" of multinational corporations, defend the billionaire one percent and their weapons, actively obstruct free healthcare for those who need it, legitimate drone strikes, bombing raids and extrajudicial assassinations, ignore Fukishima, the BP spill, catastrophic climate change and support the unjust status quo...

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