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Friday, December 23, 2005

Priest Takes Anti-Nuke Message to Governor


Albuquerque Journal, Journal Staff Report

For Father John Dear and the members of Pax Christi, a national Catholic peace movement, the decision on who should run Los Alamos National Laboratory for the next seven years doesn't matter- nuclear weapons are immoral, period.

That was the message Dear, a well-known advocate for nonviolence and nuclear disarmament, took to Gov. Bill Richardson on Thursday during a meeting that lasted a little more than 20 minutes.

Group members said they discussed a variety of issues with Richardson, from the war in Iraq to the death penalty, but the thrust of the meeting was asking Richardson to call for the dismantling of New Mexico's nuclear weapons.

The meeting came a day after the U.S. Department of Energy picked the University of California-Bechtel partnership to run the lab for at least the next seven years. A Lockheed-University of Texas team lost out in the bidding for the LANL management contract.

"(Wednesday's) decision was bad for New Mexico," Dear said, not because he favored one group's bid over another, but because the United States should be dismantling its nuclear arsenal.

"So many politicians said the choice was the lesser of two evils. I say it's all evil," Dear said.

The group said Richardson was receptive to its ideas. "He wants to continue the conversation. This wasn't just a perfunctory meeting," Dear said.

Another parishioner said Richardson communicated that his "hands were tied" on the nuclear issue, but others said they thought there was hope Richardson would become an advocate for nuclear disarmament in the future.

"We're not going to give up. We're going to keep building a bigger movement. We're not going to go away until nuclear weapons are gone," Dear said.

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