Church applauds MSPs for voting against Trident weapons

Scottish Parliament

Church leaders have applauded members of the Scottish Parliament for voting to end the Trident nuclear weapons programme, in a debate held Tuesday 3 November.

The Very Rev John Chalmers, the Church of Scotland's Principal Clerk, said:

"The debate at the General Assembly in 1982 was a defining moment for the Church of Scotland when it agreed a statement which included a commitment to the Christian vocation of peace-making, opposed the use of nuclear power for war-like purposes and pressed for the immediate cessation of the further manufacture of such armaments."

"The language used then was powerful, describing the level of nuclear force held by the Government as 'absurd and sinful'. A year later the General Assembly went further and affirmed its "conviction that nuclear arms, including readiness to use them, are by their nature morally and theologically wrong."

Speaking immediately after the decision, the Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, Convener of the Church of Scotland's Church and Society Council, said: "We welcome the vote and are encouraged by the fact that the two largest parties in the Scottish Parliament have joined forces to call for Trident renewal plans to be scrapped.

"For over 30 years the Church of Scotland has stated clearly that the ownership, use, or even the threat to use nuclear weapons is morally and ethically abhorrent.

"We have consistently stated that such weapons run counter to the Church's understanding of God who created the world out of love.

"We have a deep concern for each and every person, and their families, who may lose their jobs in the event of Trident being cancelled.

"Everything must be done to support new jobs. However, the first steps must be the cancellation of a weapons system which has no part in a civilised world."

Mr Chalmers added:

"In 1987 the General Assembly received a report on the implications for Christian Theology of the Nuclear Threat to Life; this report is still well worth reading. It finishes with a prayer which includes the words, "Deliver us from the temptation of thinking that your new Earth will come through a nuclear war, or that somehow your people will survive, or that we need do nothing. And deliver us from the evil of believing that there is good in weapons that can destroy all human life."

For info the whole of the prayer styled on the Lord's Prayer is as follows:

Our Father God, you who are not bound by the same fears as we are, you who see things as they really are, may your voice be heard and believed.

May your will be done on Earth as in Heaven, that people may live in trust and peace.

Give us what we need for this day: food and hope, a meaning to our lives, a belief that the child born today will live to grow old.

Forgive us where we have added to hate, added to distrust, colluded in the creation of weapons of fear, as we forgive those who have done us harm.

Deliver us from the temptation of thinking that your new Earth will come through a nuclear war, or that somehow your people will survive, or that we need do nothing.

And deliver us from the evil of believing that there is good in weapons that can destroy all human life.

For it is your way of sharing that we would follow, your power in trusting that we would take, your light of truth and joy that we would show the world.

May it be so. Amen.