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America’s evangelical religions condemn nuclear weapons

Evangelicals rethink nuclear weapons, Washington Post, By , Dennis Hollinger, John Jenkins and Jo Anne Lyon, 29 Nov 11  “……….the very existence of nuclear weapons may be more of a liability than an asset.

Christians hold that all people bear God’s image (Genesis 1:27).Therefore, human life and freedom are precious and should be defended from injustice and tyranny. Nuclear weapons, with their capacity for terror as well as for destruction of human life, raise profound spiritual, moral and ethical concerns.

We question the acceptability of nuclear weapons as part of a just national defense. The just war tradition admonishes against indiscriminate violence and requires proportionality and limited collateral damage. New scientific studies reveal that even a limited nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan would have profound global consequences, harming billions of innocents. The very weapons meant to restrain evil could potentially destroy all that they were intended to protect.

In our globalizing world, security cannot be obtained by threatening retaliation after a nuclear strike. Instead, our security – as well as our commitment to seeking genuine peace -requires that we eliminate the very possibility of such an attack. Russia and the United States now share a common interest, along with the other nations of the world, to see that no nuclear weapon ever falls into the hands of terrorists or madmen. We must partner to keep nuclear missiles and warheads under control, just as we are doing with chemical and biological weapons.

As leaders in the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), we believe thoughtful application of evangelical principles and consideration of the current realities support:

Re-examining the moral and ethical basis for the doctrine of nuclear deterrence

Maintaining the taboo against nuclear use

Achieving verified mutual reductions in current nuclear stockpiles

Ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

Increasing safeguards against accidental use

Resolving regional conflicts

Preventing the unauthorized spread of fissile material

Continuing dialogue on the effects of possession and threatened use of nuclear weapons…….

we ask our elected leaders and candidates for public office to consider carefully the issues raised by nuclear weapons, and to explain the strategic and moral basis for their positions.

In President Reagan’s historic 1983 “Evil Empire” speech to the National Association of Evangelicals, he asked evangelicals to support keeping “America strong and free, while we negotiate real and verifiable reductions in the world’s nuclear arsenals and one day, with God’s help, their total elimination.” Nearly three decades later, his call is more urgent than ever. And for those who cannot imagine such an outcome, we say: let us at least begin the work. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/evangelicals-rethink-nuclear-weapons/2011/11/22/gIQAn27g8N_blog.html

November 30, 2011 - Posted by | Religion and ethics, USA, weapons and war

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