Church voices support for nuclear weapons ban
Published on 7 July, 2017
On Friday 7 July over 120 states voted to adopt a treaty prohibiting Nuclear Weapons. Speaking after the decision Rev Dr. Richard Frazer, convener of the Church of Scotland's Church and Society Council said:
“In 1972 the world banned biological weapons; we have subsequently banned chemical weapons, anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions. Today the UN has agreed the Nuclear Ban Treaty.
“While there is much more that needs to be done before we can rid the world of nuclear weapons, this represents a significant step forward and will make the possession of these weapons morally and practically more difficult.
“Nuclear weapons are indiscriminate in their impact and the disproportionate scale of suffering that they are capable of unleashing makes them unjustifiable. Steps now need to be taken to urge our own government to take further their own commitments to nuclear disarmament, particularly in light of last year’s disappointing decision to renew Trident.
“The text of the Treaty agreed at a meeting of the United Nations at its headquarters in New York prohibits member states from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, acquiring, possessing or stockpiling nuclear weapons. While regrettably all nuclear-armed states and NATO member states, except the Netherlands, boycotted the meeting, this nonetheless represents a significant step from the international community.
“Since 1983 the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has held the position that nuclear arms are by nature morally and theologically wrong. In 2015 the General Assembly reaffirmed the Church’s position that the ownership of, use of and threat to use nuclear weapons are inherently evil and stated its support for an international Nuclear Ban Treaty.”
Speaking last year, the Very Rev Dr Russell Barr, then Moderator of the General Assembly said:
"Attempts to sustain peace through the threat of indiscriminate mass destruction could not be further from the peace to which Christ calls us. It is vital that the UK demonstrates the sort of change it wants to see in the world; building peace through strong and courageous leadership and not by commissioning more nuclear weapons."
The Joint Public Issues Team, an initiative of the Church of Scotland, the Baptist Union, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church, has produced a briefing on the Nuclear Ban Treaty with actions to be taken by MPs