As a specialist section of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Christian CND seeks to campaign on key issues around nuclear weapons alongside CND and in a way which reaches the Christian community in the UK and further afield. All of our campaigning work is underpinned by prayer, which is why we publish a monthly Prayer Diary to accompany our work.
Our vision is for a world without nuclear weapons with the UK playing its part by scrapping our weapons system Trident and cancelling the planned replacement, which is estimated to cost at least £205bn.
Our current key campaigns and the work we are doing on them are set out below.
Trident is the UK’s current nuclear weapons system. It consists of four submarines, at least one of which is at sea at all times. Each submarine has eight nuclear missiles which in turn have four warheads attached, each one many times more powerful than the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In 2016 Parliament voted to go ahead with a project to replace the four existing submarines, with the new ones due to begin patrols in the mid 2030s. Work on the submarines began in 2017 at Barrow shipyard.
Not only are nuclear weapons immoral, with the capacity to kill millions of innocent civilians were they ever to be used, but they do nothing to tackle the threats we face today. The Government itself identifies health pandemics, cyber attacks and climate change as the main threats to the UK. Trident actually takes money away from these projects. Christian CND campaigns for Trident to be scrapped and the project to replace it to be cancelled so that the money can be diverted to more socially productive uses.
Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) was agreed by the United Nations in 2017 with more than 120 nations in support. Representatives from Christian CND attended the negotiations around the Treaty in New York in March 2017.
The Treaty will ban nuclear weapons in the same way that chemical and biological weapons have already been banned. Whilst we are heartened by the level of support the Treaty enjoys among the international community, we are disappointed that the UK government continues to refuse to engage in any way.
The Treaty looks set to come into force later in 2020, once 50 states have completed ratification. Christian CND continues to call on the UK government to engage with the Treaty, which is possible without signing at this stage. We also urge all states that have signed the Treaty to quickly progress their domestic ratification procedures to ensure the Treaty can quickly enter into force.
Christian CND is proud to work alongside the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and other partner groups in the UK and across the world on this campaign.
- Contact your MP to urge the UK government to engage with the Treaty
Activity in churches
We long for the day when nuclear disarmament will be a mainstream issue in UK churches, in just the same way that poverty alleviation and environmental stewardship have become in recent years. We are convinced that this will happen but we need to work together to make it happen soon.
- Contact us about becoming a speaker for Christian CND – we can help you to find appropriate ways to inform other members of your church about the issues and to enthuse them to get involved. We are developing a range of speaker resources to make it as easy as possible.
- Talk to your church leaders about whether you could become a Partner Church and if not, why not!
Christian CND has been involved in campaigning on international issues aside from the TPNW for many years and we have been able to build good relationships with diplomats in various missions in London. One of our key events every year is our Embassies Walk, where we discuss current issues around nuclear weapons with diplomats. With so many states opposed to nuclear weapons we find they are happy to meet activists from a nuclear-armed state who share their concerns.
We also attend international conferences including talks on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. These take place almost every year in either Vienna or Geneva, with a main Review Conference taking place every five years in New York. The next Review Conference is due to take place in January 2021 having been postponed due to Covid-19.
- If you have family or personal links with another country, check the ICAN website https://www.icanw.org/how_is_your_country_doing and write to their embassy to thank, urge or reprimand them! Let us know how they reply.
- Come along to the 2021 Embassies Walk – the more people attend, the more embassies we can cover.
Nuclear weapons financing
One of the key aspects of nuclear weapons is where the money comes from to build and maintain them. Companies from the UK and elsewhere in the world are involved in the process, often without the public knowing about it. Alongside this many banks, pension funds and financial institutions invest in these companies, supporting their activities around nuclear weapons. One of the best ways to challenge nuclear weapons is to take away their funding.
Christian CND has been working with other faith groups on a new report into the funding of nuclear weapons by UK based companies. This report will be launching very soon and will give you the chance to contact your bank, pension provider or other financial institution ins which you have an interest to ask them to change their policy around funding nuclear weapons.
- Check back here after 18 May to read the report and find out how you can take action
Church of England Synod Motion
After many years of attending General Synod we were delighted when the Church of England passed a motion in July 2018 calling on the UK government to respond positively to the TPNW and set out how it planned to disarm under existing obligations set out in the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The motion also commits the Anglican Communion to working towards the elimination of nuclear weapons to achieve “genuine peace”.
- Write to your local Anglican Church to make them aware of the motion and thank the Church of England for this position.
- Write to your MP to highlight the motion and ask what steps the Government is taking to meet existing commitments under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Church positions on nuclear weapons
We are thankful for the Christian traditions and denominations in the UK that have taken a strong position opposing nuclear weapons in principle. You can find a full list of these denominations and their statements here. There are still some denominations however, who do not have a formal position on nuclear weapons. Christian CND wants to see unity among the Body of Christ and has a vision that all churches in the UK will be part of the campaign to bring real peace without nuclear weapons.