Now is the time for nations to commit to a world free of nuclear weapons, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, is telling political leaders today.
The Rt Reverend Bill Hewitt is among a UK-wide consortium of church leaders spearheading a campaign for nuclear disarmament.
The churches’ campaign, entitled “Now is the Time”, joins the World Council of Churches and others in pushing for governments to put all bomb-grade material under international control and commit to making the use and possession of nuclear weapons illegal through a new Nuclear Weapons Convention.
Mr Hewitt is asking Church of Scotland members and others to sign an online petition expressing support for these aims.
The alliance of clergy includes the Church Scotland, the Church of England, the Methodist Church, the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), the United Reformed Church, the International Affairs Department of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, the President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Scotland and the Archbishop of the Church of Wales.
Mr Hewitt and the other leaders are voicing their concerns in advance of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference in May, which they believe to be vital for international disarmament.
The church leaders are calling on the government to make a commitment to achieving a world free of nuclear weapons and to build a safer future for all.
Hewitt declared: “The Church of Scotland has long held the conviction that nuclear weapons serve no useful purpose for humanity. We and others in the Christian family have led the way in challenging the morality of nuclear weapons. Our human calling is to choose life over death and the alleviation of poverty over nuclear weapons."
He continued: "The time to scrap nuclear arsenals is now. At a time when voters are asking difficult questions about the best use of tax revenues for the benefit of the maximum number of citizens we have to consider the financial implications as well as the moral. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is an opportunity to make that difference and to save lives for generations to come.”
The campaign also has the backing of Baroness Shirley Williams, the adviser to Gordon Brown on nuclear proliferation, as previously reported on Ekklesia.