The General Secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) has urged governments and people around the world to “choose life” as they mark the 65th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Japan.
Hiroshima was bombed 65 years ago today (6 August), followed by Nagasaki three days later. Hundreds of thousands of people died in each city as a direct or indirect result of the bombs, dropped by US forces with the backing of the UK.
The Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit said that society must find “new resolve to protect the sanctity of life”.
“The Bible urges us to ‘choose life’ so that all may live,” he added.
He said that, sixty-five years after the first nuclear weapons were used, “nuclear bombs still threaten humanity and deny a lasting peace”.
Addressing current controversies over nuclear proliferation, he added, “There is also a legacy that since 1945 the world is divided into two camps, a handful of states that assert the right to have weapons of mass annihilation and the majority of states that do not”.
His words are likely to be taken as criticism of those governments that maintain nuclear weapons – the USA, Russia, China, France, the UK, Israel, India, Pakistan and possibly North Korea.
Tveit recognized that strides have been made to eliminate nuclear weapons. “People of faith are standing together for a world without nuclear weapons,” he said.
The WCC and its member churches are promoting the ratification of a new arms control agreement between the United States and Russia and reform of NATO’s nuclear policy.
“The atomic bomb survivors of 1945 continue to live lives of courage and endurance, witnessing to the hope that no one will ever again suffer as they have suffered,” said Tveit.
Also on Ekklesia Hiroshima and Nagasaki: active remembrance, by Olav Fykse Tveit - http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/12804