Trampling the US Constitution for War

By Daniel C. Maguire, Professor of Moral Theology, Marquette University

April 8, 2017


Trampling the US Constitution for War

About Dan Maguire (and similar Dans):  One morning in January 1984, after reporting to his CIA colleagues on his morning briefings of VP George H. W. Bush and Secretary of State George Shultz with the President’s Daily Brief, Ray retreated to the Sheraton Hotel in DC to take part in the annual East Coast Conference for Religious Education for which Ray’s parish had registered him (he was teaching 11th graders in Sunday School at the time).  Dan Maguire was the keynote speaker and the conference program listed his topic as “Educating for Peace and Justice.”


Ray reports that Dan’s talk got off to an unusually shaky start when he criticized the organizers for making an almost unforgivable error in stating the topic backwards.  Justice has to come first, he said – before Peace.  With faux indignation, Dan drove home the core point that, in the Biblical sense, PEACE IS NOTHING MORE THAN THE EXPERIENCE OF JUSTICE.


That woke everyone up and Maguire proceeded to educate the hundreds of nuns, priests, and other teachers crammed into the Sheraton ballroom on the reality that the Reagan budget announced the day before was, in Biblical Justice perspective, “a God-damned budget.”  Dan was off and running; Ray says it was the best talk he ever heard – or read, for that matter – on Justice and Peace.  Thanks to the modern technology of the times (the tape recorder), Ray was able to commit many of Dan’s observations to memory, plagiarizes freely at every opportunity, and uses Dan’s books in one of the courses Ray teaches at the Servant Leadership School: Biblical Justice: An Un-American Activity?


Last month, while in Israel/Palestine with other Veterans For Peace, Ray was reminded of his debt to three Dans in his life (Maguirebeing the first).  Before Ray left for abroad, another mentor, Dan Ellsberg had expressed the hope that Ray would somehow find Dan’s close friend, Mordecai Vanunu, and give him Dan’s best.  And whom did Ray and some of his small VFP delegation run into in East Jerusalem one evening but Mordecai Vanunu – the Israeli nuclear technician who blew the whistle on Israel’s secret nuclear weapons center at Dimona.  He is now, finally, out of prison – for the nonce, anyway.


They all shared a meal looking down at the Damascus Gate into the Old City, and Mordecai Vanunu decided on the spot to become a member of Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence (the requirement for references having been waived).  Posted on this website is a short article (with photos) about the encounter with Vanunu:


The other Dan is Berrigan.  Suffice it to add that those who have read To Dwell in Peace, Dan’s autobiography and are familiar with Ray’s post-retirement activism will have some idea of the impact that this third prophet-Dan has had on Ray’s life.