Churches in Wales have said that Christians are dismayed that so little mention has been made of the war in Afghanistan during the election campaign so far.
"With the economy in such a fragile state, the ‘national’ debt at a record level and so many of our people living in poverty, the massive spending on warfare – and plans to spend even greater sums on new nuclear weapons – should be close to the top of the political agenda" the Union of Welsh Independents said today in a statement.
The Union of Welsh Independent churches is calling on politicians of all parties to speak openly and frankly about Afghanistan, nuclear weapons, and proper care for wounded soldiers.
The armed forces must be withdrawn from Afghanistan, for the sake of the Afghan people and the UK’s military personnel, they said.
Pointing to evidence given by the Prime Minister to the Iraq Inquiry they said: "In addition to the horrendous cost in lives, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have already cost the British taxpayer almost £20 billion.
"The UK government has a duty to provide medical and recuperation units in Wales for military personnel from this country wounded, in every way, in the recent wars. Even if the fighting in Afghanistan ended tomorrow, such facilities will be needed for decades to come"
They also urge that plans to replace the Trident nuclear missile system should be abandoned immediately. "It is totally immoral and an insult to God. Firing even a few missiles would kill on a massive scale. The cost of developing and maintaining Trident (nearly £100 billion) is totally repugnant, at a time when nearly 100,000 Welsh children live in poverty – not to mention the millions suffering famine across the world.
“These issues are of the greatest concern to us as Christians; they are literally matters of life and death,” said the Revd Dr Geraint Tudur, General Secretary of the Union of Welsh Independents. “It’s obvious that a high percentage of the public share our concern, with 77 per cent of people questioned in an opinion poll earlier this week calling for the UK’s troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan. We call on the politicians to listen to the people’s voice.”
“Justice and peace go hand-in-hand,” said the Revd Guto Prys ap Gwynfor, President of the Welsh Independents. “Everyone should consider this when they vote. All life comes under the lordship of Christ – even political life,” he said.