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Scottish Churches call for voters to back anti-Trident candidates: The Church of England Newspaper, April 9, 2010 p 6. April 18, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Arms Control/Defense/Peace Issues, Church of England Newspaper, Scottish Episcopal Church.

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Church leaders in Scotland have released a joint Easter letter urging voters to support candidates who will oppose funding for a new generation of Trident nuclear missiles.

On April 1, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Bishop David Chillingworth of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, the Right Rev William Hewitt, Cardinal Keith O’Brien and the leaders of five other denominations stated that funds allocated for Britain’s nuclear weapons systems would be better spent on the poor.

Britain’s nuclear force is based upon four Vanguard class submarines based at HMNB Clyde on the eastern shore of Gare Loch, 25 miles west of Glasgow.  Britain is believed to possess 200 nuclear weapons and each submarine is armed with 16 Trident II ballistic missiles.  In 2006 the Ministry of Defence released a White Paper recommending that Trident be upgraded through the purchase of four new submarines.  The estimated costs for the next generation of missiles and submarines were £20 billion, with an additional annual operating cost of £1.5 billion.

In 2007 Parliament backed the Government’s plans to renew the Trident nuclear submarine system, by a vote of 409 to 161—with 95 Labour MPs breaking ranks to vote against the proposal.

Before the vote Defence Minister Des Browne said in a speech at King’s College, London that nuclear weapons were not “inherently evil. In certain circumstances, they can play a positive role – as they have in the past.”

Concerns over the morality of nuclear weapons were misplaced and naïve, he said.  “Are we prepared to tolerate a world in which countries which care about morality lay down their nuclear weapons, leaving others to threaten the rest of the world or hold it to ransom?”

In their Easter letter the Scottish church leaders disputed Mr. Browne’s claims saying that national security would not come from “any human creation” but from “faith in the vulnerability of God in Christ.”

Nuclear weapons were immoral, they argued.  “The indiscriminate nature of nuclear weapons makes it impossible to justify them as weapons of war as their effect cannot be considered as either limited or proportionate.  Therefore, the very possession of nuclear weapons is unjust and thus wrong.”

“Nuclear weapons by their very existence undermine the security of the whole world and are inconsistent with the traditional theories of just war,” they argued, adding that “tackling injustice, poverty and inequality would lead to a safer world for all.”

The church leaders stated that Britain faced a “political choice in the next few weeks. We call upon all people of goodwill to make it clear to candidates of all parties that we should choose life over death and the alleviation of poverty over the replacement of Trident.”


1. hunter - April 18, 2010

Lord save us from fools and children !!!

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