Thursday, 06 August 2020

Time to end nuclear weapons

Hiroshima A-bomb dome (Courtesy: ICAN) Hiroshima A-bomb dome (Courtesy: ICAN)

Seventy-five years after the nuclear bomb devastated the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) has joined more than 50 other faith organisations calling for Australia to sign and ratify the global treaty banning nuclear weapons.

The nuclear attacks on 6 and 9 August 1945 indiscriminately killed more than 210,000 innocent people and left tens of thousands injured. Many of the effects are still felt today.

Sadly, the world remains under the threat of nuclear weapons, with massive investment in existing and new nuclear weaponry and nuclear arms control agreements expiring, languishing or collapsing.

In an Open Letter addressed to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese urges the Australian Government to sign and ratify the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

The Treaty has been signed by 82 countries and ratified by 40. It will enter into force after the 50th ratification.

UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer said that as Christians we are called by God to love our neighbour and work for an end to violence.

“The destructive power of nuclear weapons threatens all life on this planet,” she said. “We believe reliance upon nuclear weapons to attain peace and security is entirely contrary to God’s creative will for the world.”

“Together, with our friends in other faith traditions, we seek to build a world transformed by hope, peace and justice where the sacredness of all life is protected.”

The Open Letter points to the significance of the treaty in the eradication of nuclear weapons.

It reads:

“The new treaty champions collective security beyond nuclear weapons. It sets the new highest standard for nations seeking nuclear abolition, to ensure these weapons are never used again.”

“As people of faith across Australia we join together in one voice to urge the Australian Government to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Our future depends on the successful implementation of this treaty.”

Tonight (6 August 2020) the UCA is partnering with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) to host an online interfaith service to honour the victims and survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and all those impact by decades of nuclear testing since World War II.

Prayers from seven different faith traditions will be shared.

Register for the Service via the ICAN website or watch live from 6pm Australian Eastern Standard Time on the Uniting Church in Australia Facebook page.