Churches call for support for treaty banning nuclear weapons
A two-minute video calling on Christians to safeguard God’s good world through working towards a future free of nuclear weapons has been released this week. The video, which is being distributed digitally to thousands across the world is a joint call to action from five Christian denominations: the Baptist Union, the Methodist Church, the Quakers, the Church of Scotland, and the United Reformed Church.
The video explains, in simple cartoons, the basis for the Churches’ support for the new UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and calls on people to join in this multinational movement towards a world free of nuclear weapons. The Treaty once ratified will make the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons illegal under international law.
The Churches are inviting people to submit their names and images online to a picture petition that will be delivered to the UK government in February.
The letter asks the government “to urgently develop and publish a transition plan so that the UK is ready to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the first opportunity.” It states that “the continued threat of use of nuclear weapons by a few governments is contrary to the genuine peace that Christians and others seek to build.”
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons opened for signature at the UN on 20th September 2017. It places nuclear weapons in the same legal category as biological and chemical weapons It is hoped that this will be a significant step towards a nuclear weapons free world.
The call to action from Churches comes in the same week that ICAN (the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons) will be presented with the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition for their role in achieving the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Alongside the video, the Joint Public Issues Team has produced an Advent reflection for this week for churches and their members. It explores the story of one of Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of Hiroshima who has worked with ICAN, as an example of what it means to prepare the way for Christ.
Welcoming the campaign, Richard Frazer, Convener of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland, said: “The treaty for the prohibition of nuclear weapons represents the first step in a possible future free from Nuclear Weapons. The indiscriminate nature of Nuclear Weapons and the disproportionate scale of suffering that they are capable of unleashing make them unjustifiable. We are encouraging everyone to take part in this picture petition to show their support for a world free from nuclear weapons.”
Steve Hucklesby, a spokesman for the Churches group, said: “Even a limited nuclear conflict would have devastating humanitarian and environmental consequences killing innocent people. Relying on nuclear weapons for your security poses unacceptably high risks. It encourages proliferation and cannot form the basis of a just peace. This short video shows that there is another way. The UN treaty for the prohibition of nuclear weapons is the product of a new global movement. We hope that people will watch this video, share it with friends, and support a more equitable and safer future for all.”
[i] The video can be found at https://youtu.be/oYiCtLJ4WYk