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Activist priest believes that ”the days of nuclear weapons are numbered”

Jesuit Steve Kelly has done jail time for protesting nuclear weapons. He’s willing to do it again. America Magazine,   Kevin ClarkeAugust 06, 2021
 ”……………..Father Kelly considers the effort to rid the world of nuclear weapons very much of this time and this place. “This is the same kind of thing that took place in the previous century when we did away with slavery,” he says. “Anyone [then] would have told you, ‘Wow, no, slavery is here to stay. It’s an economic reality that has been around for thousands of years. You’re not going to undo this.’”

He believes that nuclear weapons will one day soon be similarly recognized as “God’s nightmare.” There has, in fact, been much recent progress on ridding the world of nuclear weapons.

Through a number of treaties over decades that have eliminated entire classes of nuclear weapons, the United States and Russia (and its predecessor Soviet Union) made huge reductions in the number of nuclear weapons in their arsenals. From a Cold War high of more than 70,000 nuclear warheads, that mutual global arsenal has been reduced to about 14,000 weapons. The United States alone reduced its arsenal by 87 percent, from 32,000 warheads in 1967 to about 4,000 operational and reserve weapons today.

Last year, the United Nations ratified an abolition treaty that outlaws nuclear weapons as a moral and existential affront. The abolition movement has failed, so far, to persuade any of the nine members of the nuclear weapons club to completely abandon their programs, but Father Kelly remains optimistic about Plowshares’ odds in this countercultural fight.

He notes the movement of the church under Pope Francis away from what had been a qualified acceptance of nuclear deterrence to an absolute rejection of the moral acceptability of any possession of nuclear weapons. “We knew that the church was very much opposed to nuclear weapons,” he says, “but to be able to have something that official, that coordinated, to be able to speak with one voice is just a tremendous help.”

Father Kelly says he maintains tremendous hope that “people will pick up this mission” when and if he finally concludes his activism for peace.

“That’s what it’s going to take, I think. The politicians will follow the people,” he says.

“Maybe I might not see it in my lifetime, but I think the days [of nuclear weapons] are numbered.”

August 7, 2021 - Posted by | Religion and ethics, USA

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