Faith leaders commemorate Hiroshima bombing saying ‘never again’

By Agencies
August 7, 2015

Religious leaders from many faiths, including several Christian denominations, gathered at an interfaith commemoration service held yesterday (6 August) at Friends House in Central London to mark the 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The overriding message of the meeting was clear: 'Never Again'. The British faith leaders called on the international community to develop a robust plan of action designed to lead to a world that is free of nuclear weapons.

The Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, Convener of the Church of Scotland's Church and Society Council said: "The use of and threat to use nuclear weapons are inherently evil. Security policies based on the threat of the use of nuclear weapons are immoral and ultimately self-defeating."

During the service Jehangir Sarosh, Director of Religions for Peace, read out a statement An end to nuclear weapons,signed by 26 faith leaders and to which others have since added their support online.

Speaking about the 1945 bombings and the lessons to be learned, Ms Francis Brienen, Deputy General Secretary (Mission) of the United Reformed Church, said: "As we remember the tragedy of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we remain convinced that the way to address the problems we face as a global community is by building trust and co-operation, not accumulating and threatening to use nuclear weapons.

"The use of such weapons will always have devastating humanitarian consequences and as such they violate the principle of dignity we believe all people possess as children of God. The only way we can be sure that nuclear weapons are never used again is to ensure their complete elimination.

"Many of our churches will be marking this tragic anniversary in some way in their services this weekend and, on this 70th anniversary, we join with people of all faiths and none in calling on political leaders to develop a plan of action that will free the world of nuclear weapons."

The commemorative service in London is just one of many events around the world where churches are joining with other faith and civil groups to mark the 70th anniversary.

Helen Drewery, general secretary of Quaker Peace and Social Witness said: “Quakers are reaching out to those of all faiths to come together in reflective commemoration of the lives lost to nuclear weapons in Japan in 1945. Our common belief in the preciousness of every human life is something which draws us together and strengthens our commitment to learning from the past so as to help to build a more peaceful future for the world.”

UK church representatives are attending Japanese events in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Rachel Allison, a former intern in the Joint Public Issues Team of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church and the Church of Scotland, visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki in July. She said: "Having visited Japan I feel that we have lost our passion and drive to eliminate nuclear weapons and become too comfortable with their existence around the world.

"Chatting to young people here I have been struck by their astonishment that after Hiroshima and Nagasaki we in the UK still have not learnt that nuclear weapons have a devastating human cost which affects us all."

Read the statement An end to nuclear weapons here: http://www.endnuclearweapons.org.uk/

[Ekk/4]

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