20 September 2014 Church leaders add their voice to growing call to cancel Trident and work for abolition of nuclear weapons.
In a letter to The Times today seven Christian leaders stated that it is unacceptable that British citizens should be persuaded that their security depends on the credible threat to kill millions of innocent people. They went on to say that the Government should take a lead in current global initiatives to create a nuclear-weapons free world and that cancelling Trident would be a step in this direction. Letter to The Times
Those signing this letter are Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford,The Rev Sally Foster-Fulton Convener of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council, Revd Kenneth Howcroft, President of the Methodist Conference, Most Revd Malcolm McMahon, Archbishop of Liverpool, Most Revd Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales and Bishop of Llandaff,Juliet Prager, Deputy Recording Clerk, Quakers in Britain, Revd John Proctor, General Secretary,The United Reformed Church
At the same time the Rethink Trident project was launched in The Guardian. This too has support from the Churches. Organisations such as Pax Christi, the Methodist Church, the URC Church, Quakers and individual leaders including Archbishop Malcolm McMahon, Catholic Bishops Terrance Brain, Peter Doyle, Thomas McMahon, Philip Egan and William Kenney and Anglican Bishops Alan Clayton Smith and Stephen Cottrell, have all given their support to the Statement.
Among other things, Rethink Trident states that “Instead of wasting over one hundred billion pounds on new nuclear weapons, there are many forms of socially useful spending to which the funds could be put: combating child poverty and youth unemployment; providing affordable homes; investing in education and the NHS, as well as putting serious resources into renewable energy, to name just a few. It is clear that it is Trident replacement which should be cut – not these vital areas.” Full text here
Pat Gaffney, General Secretary of Pax Christi said that Christians should be encouraged to take firm action on the cancellation of Trident and make the issue of the abolition of nuclear weapons key to discussion on security in the run-up to the General Election.
10 September, Pax Christi at launch of Rethink Trident project, House of Commons, London
Members of Pax Christi, CND, War on Want, Quaker Peace & Social Witness too part today in the launch of Rethink Trident – a project that brings together the Churches, Trades Unions and peace organisations with a common purpose: to call for the cancellation of Trident. Kate Hudson of CND said that the aim of the project is to broaden and deepen civil society initiatives on Trident and to ensure that this issue is firmly on the agenda in campaigning for the 2015 General Election. She pointed out that public attitudes consistently show opposition to Trident.
From War on Want, John Hilary spoke of the insanity of the arms race and global military spending which stands at $1.7 trillion. Within this , Trident is one of the most crazy projects that no-one seems to want. Anne Feltham from CAAT suggested that it would be helpful to link the Trident debate to work being undertaken on the Strategic Defence Review. None of the so-called ‘threats’ outlined there can be addressed by Trident or other weapons systems.
Pat Gaffney from Pax Christi spoke of the need for Church groups to create support tools and resources to help people engage with this project within their individual churches. Pax Christi have, for example, produced a leaflet on The Catholic Church and Nuclear Weapons , setting out current church teaching on the morality and legality of nuclear weapons.
Pax Christi was one of the initiating organisations of Rethink Trident. Six Catholic Bishops have endorsed the Rethink Trident statement