Sidebar: A New Day: A Summary of Recent Faith-based Action
Faithful Security: The National Religious Partnership on the Nuclear Weapons Danger is urging letters of thanks to President Obama for recent remarks in support of nuclear arms reductions.
Faithful Security is a multi-faith coalition dedicated to the permanent elimination of nuclear weapons. It offers a downloadable toolkit of study materials called “Breaking Faith with Nuclear Weapons” for religious communities. The kit includes ideas for taking action, prayers, bulletin inserts, organizing tips, and national resources.
A section called “Six Things People of Faith Can Do” urges people to know the facts, pray, get together, pass a resolution against nuclear weapons, build momentum, and speak truth to power. See www.faithfulsecurity.org.
The Two Futures Project, a new initiative led by a rising generation of evangelicals, focuses on rallying support among American Christians for nuclear weapons abolition.
A charter statement declares: “We believe that we face two futures: a world without nuclear weapons or a world ruined by them.” Other declared commitments include:
“We renounce nuclear weapons as sin against God and neighbor.
“We repent of apathy toward devices that cause indiscriminate destruction.”
The Two Futures web site includes details on nuclear treaties, the practicalities of disarmament, and the urgency of the issue politically and theologically. Director Tyler Wigg-Stevenson is guest contributing editor to this Reflections issue.
Pax Christi promotes peacemaking as a priority among American Catholics. It recently launched “A New Moment for Nuclear Disarmament” campaign, aiming to mobilize people to support efforts to outlaw nuclear weapons globally.
Organizers hailed President Obama’s recent speech on nuclear arms as a turning point in U.S. policy.
“President Obama’s commitments to seek Senate ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, negotiate an end to the production of nuclear materials for weapons, and negotiate deep cuts in the Russian and U.S. arsenals offer real hope that we have turned the corner on the dangerous and destabilizing polices of the past eight years,” Pax Christi director Dave Robinson. See www.paxchristiusa.org.
United Methodist Bishops are poised to update their historic 1986 pastoral letter against nuclear arms. A Council of Bishops task force is holding denominational hearings and gathering input for a new document in a new century.
The 1986 letter, In Defense of Creation: The Nuclear Crisis and a Just Peace, declared “a clear and unconditional” rejection of use of nuclear weapons. It was intended as a prophetic guide to lead the church in study, prayer, and action.
The new pastoral letter will likely address poverty, environmental degradation, and the arms trade.
The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) is the largest peace lobby in Washington, D.C., and a historic presence in faith-based opposition to nuclear weapons.
Founded by Quakers in 1943, FCNL is promoting an online petition for citizens to sign that urges senators to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
FCNL says its advocacy on arms reduction, tax policy, hunger, civil rights, and other issues “connects historic Quaker testimonies on peace, equality, simplicity, and truth with peace and social justice issues which the United States government is or should be addressing.” See www.fcnl.org.
The World Council of Churches and three other church coalitions recently urged NATO to update its strategies so they reflect a vision for a nuclear-weapons-free world.
The letter was signed by leaders of the WCC, the National Council of Churches of Christ USA, the Canadian Council of Churches, and the Conference of European Churches.
“The emerging vision of a world without nuclear weapons is giving citizens and churches in every NATO country cause for hope,” the letter declared.
The letter calls for the removal of the 150-250 U.S. tactical nuclear weapons still based in five NATO countries – Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy and Turkey. See www.oikoumene.org.