Scottish churches in anti-nuclear petition
Scotland's churches have launched a joint petition urging the UK Government not to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system.
Leaders of The Church of Scotland, the Catholic Church and the Episcopal Church signed the paper in Edinburgh.
Four Trident nuclear submarines have been based at Faslane on the Clyde as part of Britain's nuclear deterrent.
Last year, British church leaders wrote to a national newspaper urging that the Government spell out the conditions under which it might forego a replacement of Trident.
In January, the defence secretary said a decision on its future would be taken within four years.
But the allegation by Christians and others that the British government is actively planning to develop and deploy another generation of British nuclear weapons after the existing Trident submarine system is decommissioned have recently appeared substantiated.
Scotland's most senior Roman Catholic, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, was the first signatory to the new petition.
The petition also called for money for Trident's replacement to be diverted towards aid and development.
The Commons defence committee is examining whether the UK should replace Trident, which is expected to be obsolete by 2020.
Cardinal O'Brien, who is also Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, is a long-standing campaigner against Trident.
He called on the government to replace the weapons system with projects that "bring life to the poor".
The cardinal said: "I welcome the prime minister's recent comments that there should be the 'fullest possible' debate on the Trident nuclear missile system.
"The Catholic Church has clear and consistent teaching on nuclear weapons.
"The use of weapons of mass destruction would be a crime against God and against humanity that must never happen."
Morag Mylne, convener of the Church of Scotland's Church and Society Council, described the weapons system as "morally repugnant".
She said: "There are certain issues which unite the churches in Scotland. One of these is our revulsion at the continued presence of weapons of mass destruction.
"Later this month, the General Assembly will be asked to oppose any move by the UK Government to replace Trident with a new generation of nuclear weapons, and to affirm our belief that any system of weapons designed to destroy whole cities has to be considered morally repugnant and an evil in the world."