Nuclear resisters Fr. Carl Kabat and Byron Clemens arrested inside Kansas City plant after red paint is poured on sign

Fr. Carl Kabat and Byron Clemens

from a report from Chrissy Kirchhoefer

As part of an annual “Interdependence Day” Plowshares Witness started in 2011, Fr. Carl Kabat, OMI returned to Kansas City on July 4 to take part in direct action at the Kansas City plant that produces 85% of the non-nuclear components of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. 

Along with Byron Clemens of St Louis, he entered the Kansas City National Security Campus, a National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) facility operated by Honeywell. Undeterred by the heavy rain, the two men were able to quickly walk into the campus. Once inside, Kabat poured red paint on the main entrance sign “to illuminate the insanity of nuclear weapons from the past, potential in the future and present misguided priorities.”

He has repeatedly been a witness for peace to call for the elimination of nuclear weapons at the Kansas City plant. This year he employed a new tactic of an “underhand softball throw” to pour paint eight feet in height. 

The pair were detained on site for a few hours. The legend of Carl Kabat was present, with many of the NNSA employees stopping to say hello, even ones he had not previously met but who knew of him.

Both were charged with trespass, and Kabat also faces a destruction of property charge.

The priest and peacemaker made a statement at the Kansas City plant. “To follow Jesus and the Gospel,” Kabat said, “we must publicly and nonviolently resist evil.” Fr. Kabat follows the biblical words of Isaiah 2:4, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares . . . May God have mercy on us for not doing so.” 

“They’re insane,” Kabat said, referring to the production of nuclear weapons, “Everyone says so – they need to be destroyed. They are dangerous and disregard future generations.” He believes he has a moral and ethical mandate as an Oblate priest to actively oppose production of nuclear weapons.

The last time Fr. Kabat was in jail for a July 4th action, the jail supervisor recognized him as a “super patriot”. Kabat stated on the day of this 2019 action that “Clemens graduated to super patriot status today.”
Fr. Kabat, age 85, received the blessing of his order – the Oblates of Mary Immaculate – to participate in this Interdependence Day action. He has taken part in multiple campaigns over the years to disarm the U.S. nuclear arsenal. On September 9, 1980, he was part of the Plowshares Eight, who attempted to disable nuclear missile nose cones. In another action in Missouri on November 12, 1984, he used a jackhammer to disarm a Minuteman missile silo. Kabat received an 18 year sentence for that Silo Pruning Hooks action, the longest sentence, up until that time, imposed for anti-nuclear civil disobedience. Cumulatively he has served more that 18 years in prison. He was most recently arrested in July 2017 at the Kansas City facility. In addition to his activism against nuclear weapons, Fr. Kabat has ministered to the poor and to immigrants. (Read more here.)
Please feel free to write Carl a note of support before July 15 at: 
Fr. Carl Kabat 
200 N. 60th St.
Belleville IL 62223

At this time Carl is scheduled to move to an Oblate run facility, Madonna House, in San Antonio, Texas on July 15. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers during this transition.


Byron Clemens accompanied famed Plowshares activist Father Carl Kabat July 4 when Kabat splashed red paint on the National Security Campus entry sign. Kabat, 85, moved to the Order of Mary Immaculate retirement center in San Antonio July 15. Clemens came to court Aug. 5 and received a court date of Sept. 5 at Municipal Court in Kansas City, Mo. Clemens says he supported Kabat’s efforts “to stop the insanity of nuclear weapons.”

Byron Clemens comes to trial Sept. 5 in KC for ‘trespassing’ at nuke-parts plant

Byron Clemens, left, displays his police report in Kansas City Aug. 5, standing outside Municipal Court with supporters Christian Brother Louis Rodemann and Chrissy Kirchhoefer.—Photo by Jane Stoever

On July 4, Father Carl Kabat, 85, splashed red paint on the massive National Security Complex sign in Kansas City, Mo., at the entry road to the new nuclear weapons parts plant. At Kabat’s side was Byron Clemens, a former public high school teacher in St. Louis. On Aug. 5, Clemens received a trial date of Sept. 5 at KC’s Municipal Court, Courtroom G, at 1:30 pm.

Why was Clemens at Kabat’s side? “I took part in supporting Carl Kabat’s continuing efforts to stop the insanity of nuclear weapons,” said Clemens after his court hearing in KC Aug. 5. “Part of my motivation is the plan for smaller, more ‘usable’ atomic bombs. They’ve abrogated the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty to allow the US to send more nuclear weapons to Europe. The new secretary of defense is proposing distributing smaller and intermediate-range missiles throughout Asia.”

Further, said Clemens, Missouri is home to the first atomic weapons used in the world—the Manhattan Project assigned Mallinkrodt Chemical Works in St. Louis to enrich uranium. “They still haven’t cleaned up their mess,” said Clemens. “It’s impacted my family. My father got cancer working at McDonnell Douglas next to a radioactive waste site (from Mallinkrodt), and my mom never smoked but had lung cancer. My brother, Doug Clemens, a member of the Missouri House of Representatives, is featured in the HBO documentary The Atomic Homefront” (link:

Why was Kabat not at Clemens’ side for the Aug. 5 hearing? Kabat, a member of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), moved July 15 from Illinois to his new home in San Antonio, the OMI Madonna Residence for its senior members. Kabat pulled off “interdependence day” actions on (or near) July 4 in 2011-14, including a July 13, 2013, gathering of 24 line-crossers, and Kabat splashed paint on the National Security Complex sign Aug. 9, 2015. He sends greetings by phone to the peace and justice community, which invites people to attend Clemens’ Sept. 5 trial.

—By Jane Stoever

Fr. Kabat and Clemens enter the Kansas City plant