UK Christians step up anti-arms trade work

UK Christians step up anti-arms trade work

By staff writers
29 Oct 2005

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UK Christians step up anti-arms trade work

-29/10/05

Alun Morinan, a member of the Anabaptist Network in the UK, has started work as the coordinator of the Christian network within the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), a non-partisan pressure group which seeks to end the military exports that fuel wars and prop up brutal regimes.

Mr Morinan took up his role last month, although he has been an active supporter of CAAT since the 1980s. He has also been involved in work for nuclear disarmament, and is secretary of Avenue Baptist Church in Beckenham, England.

Among the CAAT Christian Networkís current concerns, as it seeks to extend its work, is to keep up pressure on the Church of England, following the controversial decision of its Ethical Advisory Committee not to disinvest in the US company Caterpillar.

The Caterpillar D9 bulldozer has been used by the Israeli army to destroy Palestinian homes and agricultural land on the illegally occupied West Bank and Gaza, and to construct the disputed ëseparation wallí.

One of the companyís machines also killed American peace activist Rachel Corrie two years ago. Caterpillar says its bulldozers are not military equipment, and the Church of England eventually discounted evidence about their use for oppression and aggression.

Alun Morinan says: ìWe are seeking to reinvigorate the CAAT Christian Network and its resources over the coming month.î He is encouraging individuals and church groups to get involved.

Many Christian traditions, including Catholics, Anglicans and Baptists have taken a strong stand on the basic immorality of the arms trade.

The Network raises arms trade issues within national and local church structures, and creates opportunities for campaigning alongside others. It is involved in the ëCall to Conversioní initiative.

The Network has gone through a number of phases since the late 1970s, and was part of the former Peace Forum coordinated through the ecumenical body Churches Together in Britain and Ireland.

Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) was set up in 1974 by a number of peace and justice organizations, including church groups, all of whom were concerned about the growth in the arms trade following the Middle East war of 1973.

CAAT is a broad coalition of groups and individuals in the UK working to end the international arms trade. It points out that the trade in military equipment has a negative effect on human rights and security as well as on global, regional and local economic development.

CAAT has been called ìan inspirationî by US activist and internationally renowned linguist Noam Chomsky. It organized high profile protests against the worldís largest arms fair held in Europe in September 2005.

Mr Morinan is convenor of the South London group of the Anabaptist Network, which like the think-tank Ekklesia is part of the Root and Branch association of radical Christian groups. It has affinity with the ëhistoric peace churchesí, which include Mennonites and Quakers.

Those interested in supporting the CAAT Christian Network should email the coordinator.

[Also on Ekklesia: UK local authorities profiting from arms trade exposed; campaigners highlight ërevolving doorí of arms sales at election]

Alun Morinan, a member of the Anabaptist Network in the UK, has started work as the coordinator of the Christian network within the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), a non-partisan pressure group which seeks to end the military exports that fuel wars and prop up brutal regimes.

Mr Morinan took up his role last month, although he has been an active supporter of CAAT since the 1980s. He has also been involved in work for nuclear disarmament, and is secretary of Avenue Baptist Church in Beckenham, England.

Among the CAAT Christian Network's current concerns, as it seeks to extend its work, is to keep up pressure on the Church of England, following the controversial decision of its Ethical Advisory Committee not to disinvest in the US company Caterpillar.

The Caterpillar D9 bulldozer has been used by the Israeli army to destroy Palestinian homes and agricultural land on the illegally occupied West Bank and Gaza, and to construct the disputed ëseparation wall'.

One of the company's machines also killed American peace activist Rachel Corrie two years ago. Caterpillar says its bulldozers are not military equipment, and the Church of England eventually discounted evidence about their use for oppression and aggression.

Alun Morinan says: 'We are seeking to reinvigorate the CAAT Christian Network and its resources over the coming month.' He is encouraging individuals and church groups to get involved.

Many Christian traditions, including Catholics, Anglicans and Baptists have taken a strong stand on the basic immorality of the arms trade.

The Network raises arms trade issues within national and local church structures, and creates opportunities for campaigning alongside others. It is involved in the ëCall to Conversion' initiative.

The Network has gone through a number of phases since the late 1970s, and was part of the former Peace Forum coordinated through the ecumenical body Churches Together in Britain and Ireland.

Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) was set up in 1974 by a number of peace and justice organizations, including church groups, all of whom were concerned about the growth in the arms trade following the Middle East war of 1973.

CAAT is a broad coalition of groups and individuals in the UK working to end the international arms trade. It points out that the trade in military equipment has a negative effect on human rights and security as well as on global, regional and local economic development.

CAAT has been called 'an inspiration' by US activist and internationally renowned linguist Noam Chomsky. It organized high profile protests against the world's largest arms fair held in Europe in September 2005.

Mr Morinan is convenor of the South London group of the Anabaptist Network, which like the think-tank Ekklesia is part of the Root and Branch association of radical Christian groups. It has affinity with the ëhistoric peace churches', which include Mennonites and Quakers.

Those interested in supporting the CAAT Christian Network should email the coordinator.

[Also on Ekklesia: UK local authorities profiting from arms trade exposed; campaigners highlight ërevolving door' of arms sales at election]

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