Christian leaders urge support for nuclear ban treaty
A debate today in the House of Lords could be the first step towards the UK government signing a Treaty to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted last July. The UK government refused to sign saying it is committed to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology.
Christian leaders and representatives welcome today's debate in the House of Lords. Their Open Letter urges, “Being the first nuclear-armed state to sign would show real moral leadership and demonstrate the UK's commitment to work for a world without nuclear weapons.
Quakers are led by faith to oppose nuclear weapons. Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain said, “Quaker regard for the sanctity of all life leads us to say that all killing is wrong. Our representative body, Meeting for Sufferings declared in 1955 that, 'To rely on the possession of nuclear weapons as a deterrent is faithless; to use them is a sin'." (Meeting for Sufferings, 1955, Quaker faith & practice 24.41).
The full text of the Open Letter follows:
“Successive UK governments have pledged their support for a world free of nuclear weapons. Today the House of Lords will discuss a United Nations Treaty that bans nuclear weapons. The Treaty is the result of multilateral negotiation and is supported by more than 120 states, more than 50 of which have already signed. Unfortunately, the United Kingdom has refused to engage with the process.
Being the first nuclear-armed state to sign would show real moral leadership.- Christian leaders' Open Letter
“Nuclear weapons continue to pose a threat to the survival of humanity. The Bible teaches us that we are stewards of the earth, with a duty to protect all life. Nuclear weapons are the antithesis of this teaching.
“At a time when the threat of nuclear war continues to hang over all of us, the Treaty represents a unique opportunity for the nuclear weapon states to walk together towards a total ban.
“We hope that the debate in the Lords today will be the first step towards the UK engaging with this process and joining the growing international consensus against nuclear weapons. Being the first nuclear-armed state to sign would show real moral leadership and demonstrate the UK's commitment to work for a world without nuclear weapons.
“We urge the government to reconsider its position on the Treaty."
Jill Baker, Vice President of the Methodist Conference
The Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford
Rev Dr Richard Frazer, Convener, Church and Society Council, The Church of Scotland
Derek McAuley, Chief Officer, General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches
Revd Loraine Mellor, President of the Methodist Conference
Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain
Revd Kevin Watson, Moderator of General Assembly of the United Reformed Church
Alan Yates, Moderator of General Assembly of the United Reformed Church