Christians focus prayer and protest against the arms trade

Christians focus prayer and protest against the arms trade

By staff writers
6 Jun 2008

Christian members of the Campaign Against Arms Trade, which recently won a crucial court victory in the BAE Systems corruption allegation case, are holding a day of prayer across the country on Sunday 8 June 2008.

The initiative will involve local churches and is part of a week of action by opponents of the international arms trade and Britain's involvement in it, highlighting the trade's impact on development, poverty, global conflict, human rights and the distortion of economic priorities.

The focus of the 2008 Stop the Arms Trade Week (1-8 June) has been on getting the government to re-open the BAE case and on other practical measures to control, limit, reduce and eliminate weapons sales - especially to regimes involved in the suppression of their citizens and wider conflicts.

Those supporting the Campaign Against Arms Trade's work include the Anglican Bishop of Salisbury David Stancliffe, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Brentwood Thomas McMahon and Baptist peace worker Norman Kember, who survived kidnapping in Iraq two years ago with a delegation from Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT).

CAAT is also backed by a range of Christian organisations, including the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the SPEAK network of young evangelical activists, Pax Christi and the Student Christian Movement.

Prayers are expected at Anglican, Baptist, Mennonite, Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and United Reformed Churches and at Quaker Meetings.

Simon Barrow, co-director of the religion and society think-tank Ekklesia, which has encouraged the churches to pioneer fresh approaches to peacemaking and conflict transformation, says the work of groups like Campaign Against Arms Trade, and the involvement of Christians in them, remains "vital".

"The international arms trade continues to be a deeply corrosive force in a world of need and conflict. CAAT has been working creatively and effectively on advocacy and policy issues for 24 years, involving people of all faiths and none with a crucial issue which is often just underneath the headlines," he observed.

Barrow added: "CAAT's recent successes in helping to secure the closure of DESO, the government's dedicated arms sales wing, and in successfully getting the High Court to rule that the Serious Fraud Office's decision to end a corruption enquiry into BAE Systems was wrong, have shown just how powerful the action of concerned citizens can be."

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You can contact the CAAT Christian Network at: http://www.caat.org.uk/getinvolved/christian/

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