Christian peace organisations have written to churches urging them to join a call on the Government for resources to be devoted to 'human' rather than 'military' security.
The Fellowship of Reconciliation and Pax Christi have launched the initiative as the government undertakes a strategic defence review, in the wake of the economic downturn.
Entitled “Addressing the real wounds of the human family: a call to action” also comes as political parties set out their spending proposals as they prepare for the general election.
"The first decade of the twenty-first century has seen increased global polarity. Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Israel-Palestine, Congo, are just some of those countries that continue to be torn apart by war and conflict, many in the name of the ‘war on terror’, others in the drive to secure access to and control of natural resources" the statement says.
"As well as the obvious human costs, the opportunity costs of these wars are incalculable: lack of investment in social and development projects, the displacement of people, the destruction of essential infrastructure within countries, the fuelling of suspicion and hatred within and between communities. As with the people at the heart of Jeremiah’s cry, millions today are offered a false and dangerous peace which not only ignores but often exacerbates the real suffering of the human family and the very planet."
The two groups are calling for churches, dioceses, congregations and parishes to join the appeal that "the pursuit of love and justice should set the political, economic and social agenda."
They have also issued a briefing to accompany the call entitled 'Security for the Common Good: A Christian challenge to military security strategies', which is also being sent to church leaders.
Chris Cole, Director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation said: “We are calling on the Government, as it undertakes the Defence Review, to use this opportunity for a radical evaluation of security policies. It is not enough to tinker with budgets, to choose between ‘boots or bombs’. Now is the time to redirect military spending, research and development into life-giving projects that address our real security needs today.”
Pat Gaffney, General Secretary of Pax Christi said: “For decades the discussion on peace and security has been dominated by proponents of the ‘might is right’ model, arguing that national self-interest and the protection and security of others is best achieved by military means. The time has come to turn away from this false and short-sighted model in favour of a model of sustainable human security that puts people – and especially the poor - at its centre. Such a model is consistent with the social teachings of many churches which seek to build global solidarity between peoples – solidarity that heals the wounds of war, the violation of rights, poverty and the destruction of the environment."