Ahead of a debate in the House of Lords on Tuesday 20 February, Christian leaders and representatives have signed the statement below calling on the UK government to sign the Treaty.
Successive UK governments have pledged their support for a world free of nuclear weapons. Today the House of Lords will discuss a United Nations Treaty that bans nuclear weapons. The Treaty is the result of multilateral negotiation and is supported by more than 120 states, more than 50 of which have already signed. Unfortunately the United Kingdom has refused to engage with the process.
Nuclear weapons continue to pose a threat to the survival of humanity. 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.
At a time when the threat of nuclear war continues to hang over all of us, the Treaty represents a unique opportunity for the nuclear weapon states to walk together towards a total ban.
We hope that the debate in the Lords today will be the first step towards the UK engaging with this process and joining the growing international consensus against nuclear weapons. Being the first nuclear-armed state to sign would show real moral leadership and demonstrate the UK’s commitment to work for a world without nuclear weapons.
We urge the government to reconsider its position on the Treaty.
Jill Baker, Vice President of the Methodist Conference
The Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford
Rev Dr Richard Frazer, Convener, Church and Society Council, The Church of Scotland
Derek McAuley, Chief Officer, General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches
Revd Loraine Mellor, President of the Methodist Conference
Paul Parker , Recording Clerk – Quakers in Britain
Revd Kevin Watson, Moderator of General Assembly of the United Reformed Church
Alan Yates, Moderator of General Assembly of the United Reformed Church