As the United Nations open the historic Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty for signatures, church leaders in the UK have signed an open-letter, coordinated by Christian CND, calling for the government to sign up.
The text of the letter is:
At the United Nations today a ground-breaking Treaty banning nuclear weapons opens for signature. The Treaty is the result of multilateral negotiation and is supported by more than 120 states. Unfortunately the United Kingdom is not among those set to sign the Treaty.
We believe that nuclear weapons pose a threat to the survival of humanity. History has shown us the complete devastation these weapons deliver and the human suffering they cause. The Bible teaches us that we are stewards of the earth, with a duty to protect all life. Nuclear weapons are the antithesis of this teaching.
Jesus describe peacemakers as blessed and the prophet Isaiah wrote of “beating swords into ploughshares”. The world stands closer to nuclear war now than it has done for a generation. At this time, while the world debates use of sanctions, diplomacy or military force, the Treaty represents a unique opportunity for the nuclear weapon states to walk together towards a total ban.
Successive UK governments have pledged their support for a world free of nuclear weapons. We believe that this Treaty offers a significant step towards that aim. By signing the Treaty the UK can show moral leadership. We urge the government to reconsider its position on the Treaty and join the international consensus in signing it.
Rt Rev Dr Derek Browning – Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
Bishop Stephen Cottrell – Bishop of Chelmsford
Rt Rev Dr Derek Browning Derek McAuley – Chief Officer, General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches
Revd Loraine N. Mellor – President of the Conference of the Methodist Church
Alan Yates – Moderator of General Assembly, United Reformed Church