Kirk hears reaffirmed opposition to 'immoral' Trident

By staff writers
May 25, 2013

As part of her presentation to the Church of Scotland General Assembly, meeting in Edinburgh this past week, the Church and Society Council convenor renewed her opposition to the 'immoral' Trident nuclear weapons system, currently based in Scotland.

The Rev Sally Foster-Fulton made the comment while listening to questions and comments in relation to her wide ranging speech and response at the annual Kirk gathering of its overall governing body.

The Rev David McLachlan, from Langside parish in Glasgow, also reminded the Assembly of the importance of the annual Easter peace witness vigil at Faslane nuclear base.

Trident replacement, either wholly or partly, has been a big political issue over the past few years, with divisions in the Westminster coalition government and within the official Labour opposition.

The pro-independence movement, including the Greeens, independents, socialists and the governing SNP are all opposed to the nuclear weapons system, and want to see it removed from Scottish soil and preferrably scrapped if the country votes to become self-governing next year.

Many see this as the biggest opportunity to end both Scotland and the British Isles possession of weapons of mass destruction, and to reallocate the funds released to create jobs and economic and social opportunity.

The Kirk, Scotland's largest church and a Presbyterian denomination, is maintaining strict neutrality in the 2014 referendum, but in common with other churches has a long standing moral opposition to the possession, use and threatened use of nuclear arms.

On the eve of its weekend of protest and action back in April 2013, the Scrap Trident coalition also received a message of support from Ms Foster-Fulton, on behalf of the Church of Scotland.

She wrote: "Speaking for peace in a fearful, troubled world has never been for the faint-hearted. It has always taken a particular courage to call for fists to be unclenched, arrows and spears to be sheathed, guns to be unloaded. The theory that violence can bring peace has been soundly disproved in every fight, every skirmish, every war... if the theory held, war would have long since ended and peace would reign. But our bloody history tells a different story and our potential for destruction grows with every new weapon we invent and invest in.

"Scotland stands at a pivotal place in history and regardless of the outcome of the referendum, NOW is the time to discuss, debate and decide what kind of nation we want to be – what kind of nation we want to leave as a legacy to our children and theirs. Is a world burdened with the scourge of nuclear weapons a place we want to live in and leave behind? You cannot be a door-mat when standing up for peace and never has it been so important to stand up for the laying down of nuclear weapons. They are a profound evil and their potential for irretrievable harm is immense. The Church of Scotland has been against nuclear weapons and in favour of unilateral disarmament for over four decades. We stand with all who seek peace that non-violence.

"By scrapping Trident, the United Kingdom has an opportunity to speak with a different voice, not a weaker voice but one that has the authenticity that comes with living the peace we call for. We call for an end to nuclear weapons in Scotland, in the United Kingdom, in the world," she concluded.

* Scottish Clergy Against Nuclear Arms study material on Trident (*.PDF Adobe Acrobat document): http://www.scana.org.uk/images/stories/tridentstudy.pdf

* Kirk on Trident: http://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/speak_out/international_affairs_and_p...

* Scrap Trident Coalition: http://scraptrident.org/

* Faslane Peace Witness: http://www.scana.org.uk/

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The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland is meeting in Edinburgh from 18-24 May 2013. Ekklesia co-director Simon Barrow and consultant Carla J Roth are there all week, reporting, liaising and commenting. They are also both associate members of the Iona Community.

* Ekklesia reports and commentary from the 2013 Kirk General Assembly, plus those from 2012 and 2011: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/kirkgeneralassembly

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