Long Walk against Trident ends with footwashing

By staff writers
September 19, 2006

Long Walk against Trident ends with footwashing

-19/09/06

Scotlandís Long Walk for Peace has reached its conclusion with a rally at the Scottish Parliament and a symbolic foot washing ceremony.

The rally featured speakers from the major political parties and representatives from the countryís faith communities.

There were contributions from Cardinal Keith Patrick OíBrien, President of the Bishopsí Conference of Scotland, the Right Reverend Alan McDonald, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and the Episcopal Bishop of Edinburgh, the Right Reverend Brian Smith.

Earlier in the day a symbolic foot washing ceremony was held on the terrace outside St Johnís Episcopal Church in Princes Street. Bishop Smith, Cardinal OíBrien and the Moderator washed the feet of some of the people who had taken part in the Long Walk which set out from Faslane on Thursday 14 September.

During the foot washing an inter faith service of reflection, led by lay people, also took place inside the church.

The Government will decide before the end of 2006 whether Britain will continue to have nuclear weapons and whether to build new submarines to replace Trident. Having travelled 85 miles across Scotland, the Long Walk for Peace demands that the Scottish Parliament and Scottish MPs work to 'make Trident history'.

Speaking prior to the event at the Scottish Parliament Cardinal Keith Patrick OíBrien, President of the Bishopsí Conference of Scotland, said: ìWe are convinced that if it is immoral to use these weapons, it is also immoral to threaten their use. We urge the Government of the United Kingdom not to invest in a replacement for the Trident System and to begin the process of decommissioning these weapons with the intention of diverting the sums spent on nuclear weaponry to programmes of aid and developmentî.

The Cardinal added; "We remind all who will listen that if nuclear war is illogical, immoral and inconceivable, then investing billions of pounds in more nuclear weapons is iniquitous, irrational and absurd."

The Moderator of the General Assembly, the Rt Rev Alan McDonald, also commented: ìThe Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has said that he wants there to be 'an open public debate' about the possible replacement for the Trident ballistic missile system. The Long Walk shows that the people of Scotland are contributing to that debate, and they are arguing against weapons of mass destruction.

ìHow can it be right to spend £25 billion on a weapon of unimaginable destruction and horror when so many of the 6 billion inhabitants of earth still exist on less than a dollar a day? Furthermore, in this Post Cold War, new War on Terrorism World, exactly who would we target with our new, improved nuclear weapons? That is indeed a good question ñ one that brings the sheer insanity of nuclear weapons into sharp relief.

ìSince 1981 the Church of Scotland has said, time and again, that nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction are morally and the?ologically wrong. I am very proud to have the chance to reiterate this position today.î

Long Walk against Trident ends with footwashing

-19/09/06

Scotlandís Long Walk for Peace has reached its conclusion with a rally at the Scottish Parliament and a symbolic foot washing ceremony.

The rally featured speakers from the major political parties and representatives from the countryís faith communities.

There were contributions from Cardinal Keith Patrick OíBrien, President of the Bishopsí Conference of Scotland, the Right Reverend Alan McDonald, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and the Episcopal Bishop of Edinburgh, the Right Reverend Brian Smith.

Earlier in the day a symbolic foot washing ceremony was held on the terrace outside St Johnís Episcopal Church in Princes Street. Bishop Smith, Cardinal OíBrien and the Moderator washed the feet of some of the people who had taken part in the Long Walk which set out from Faslane on Thursday 14 September.

During the foot washing an inter faith service of reflection, led by lay people, also took place inside the church.

The Government will decide before the end of 2006 whether Britain will continue to have nuclear weapons and whether to build new submarines to replace Trident. Having travelled 85 miles across Scotland, the Long Walk for Peace demands that the Scottish Parliament and Scottish MPs work to 'make Trident history'.

Speaking prior to the event at the Scottish Parliament Cardinal Keith Patrick OíBrien, President of the Bishopsí Conference of Scotland, said: ìWe are convinced that if it is immoral to use these weapons, it is also immoral to threaten their use. We urge the Government of the United Kingdom not to invest in a replacement for the Trident System and to begin the process of decommissioning these weapons with the intention of diverting the sums spent on nuclear weaponry to programmes of aid and developmentî.

The Cardinal added; "We remind all who will listen that if nuclear war is illogical, immoral and inconceivable, then investing billions of pounds in more nuclear weapons is iniquitous, irrational and absurd."

The Moderator of the General Assembly, the Rt Rev Alan McDonald, also commented: ìThe Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has said that he wants there to be 'an open public debate' about the possible replacement for the Trident ballistic missile system. The Long Walk shows that the people of Scotland are contributing to that debate, and they are arguing against weapons of mass destruction.

ìHow can it be right to spend £25 billion on a weapon of unimaginable destruction and horror when so many of the 6 billion inhabitants of earth still exist on less than a dollar a day? Furthermore, in this Post Cold War, new War on Terrorism World, exactly who would we target with our new, improved nuclear weapons? That is indeed a good question ñ one that brings the sheer insanity of nuclear weapons into sharp relief.

ìSince 1981 the Church of Scotland has said, time and again, that nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction are morally and the?ologically wrong. I am very proud to have the chance to reiterate this position today.î

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