Horror at Westminster Abbey nuclear weapons "thanksgiving service"

By agency reporter
March 31, 2019

Anti-nuclear campaigners have condemned plans to host a so-called "thanksgiving service" for Britain’s nuclear weapons system at Westminster Abbey.

The Royal Navy will host a National Service of Thanksgiving to mark 50 years of the Continuous at Sea Deterrent (CASD) on 3 May 2019. New CASD Dreadnought submarines are currently being constructed as part of a £205 billion Trident replacement scheme.

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) says it will hold protests at Westminster Abbey if the service goes ahead.

Kate Hudson, CND General Secretary, said: “It’s morally repugnant that a service of thanksgiving for Britain’s nuclear weapons system is due to be held at Westminster Abbey. This sends out a terrible message to the world about our country. It says that here in Britain we celebrate weapons – in a place of worship – that can kill millions of people.

“If the Defence Secretary doesn’t cancel this service, we call on the Church authorities to step in to stop it. CND will hold protests at Westminster Abbey on the day of the service if this celebration of nuclear weapons goes ahead.”

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson told Parliament on 25 March: “In this, the 50th year of the continuous at sea nuclear deterrent, the MOD is proud to continue to protect the security and stability not only of our nation, but of our allies. I will be attending the commemoration service at Westminster Abbey on 3 May, and I hope that many colleagues from both sides of the House will also be able to commemorate this important milestone.” 

Christian CND said: "Christian CND believes that nuclear weapons are contrary to the teachings of Jesus and the Bible. We regret this anniversary and wish that it had not been reached.

"The decision to host this service in Westminster Abbey is, we believe, contrary to the motion passed by the Church of England General Synod in July 2018. That motion says that 'nuclear weapons, through their indiscriminate and destructive potential, present a distinct category of weaponry that requires Christians to work tirelessly for their elimination across the world.'”

Westminster Abbey is a ‘Royal Peculiar’ which means it is a Church of England building of worship, but it is outside of the authority of the traditional Anglican structures.

Christian CND is working with others to raise awareness of the event and are calling for it not to go ahead.

Simon Barrow, director of the beliefs and ethics think-tank Ekklesia, said: "Giving thanks in a landmark Christian building for Weapons of Mass Destruction is little short of obscene. There will be widespread horror at the Abbey agreeing to this."

* Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament https://cnduk.org/

* Christian CND http://christiancnd.org.uk/

[Ekk/6]

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