“One Minute for Peace”
with Mary E. Hunt
“One Minute for Peace” is a project of the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker group located in Philadelphia (www.afsc.org). They have been doing peace work for nine decades. They received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947 along with the British Quakers for their post-war efforts to fed and care for people in Europe, especially children.
Their current project, “One Minute for Peace,” is a graphic way to think about how much of our common money, U.S. tax money, goes to war, defense, and nuclear weapons.The wonderful ribbon-like flyer that they have produced shows the percentages of the 2013 national budget that go toward various aspects of our common life. Note that 57% of all tax revenue goes toward military purposes. Food and Agriculture, Transportation, Labor, Science, Energy and Environment each get 3% or less. The federal government spends 4 % on International Affairs, 5% on Health, 5.5% on Housing and Community, 6% on Government costs, 6% on Education, and 5% on Veteran’s Benefits. The rest goes to the military.
AFSC figures that the U.S. spends $1.2 million every minute on defense-related things. They want to raise just one minute’s worth for peace. Imagine that while we meditate for 20 minutes, $24 million will be spent on the military. They quote President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was a Republican and a general: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” Let this harsh and, if I may say so, grim reality ground our quiet time together.