Nuclear Weapons & Abolition 2000
by Missy Conrad
74 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nuclear weapons are still around. They’re even being “modernized” at great expense, in spite of our nation’s promise to eliminate them. In 1995, a global network to abolish nuclear weapons was formed: Abolition 2000. We of the New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends/Quakers have been and are part of this network.
Our Friends Committee on National Legislation in Washington, DC, has been devoted to nuclear disarmament and cutting spending by the Pentagon. Anthony Wier now heads this endeavor. Presently, the focus is to stop the deployment of the so-called “low-yield” nuclear warheads on US Navy submarines. Similar warheads are already deployed on American jets, in our bombs and cruise missiles. But placement on submarines is especially dangerous because subs are more independent. The weapons are made to be used quickly, so the time a potential adversary has to decide on retaliation is shortened.
The US House of Representatives has cut the funding for this deployment, but the US Senate and the Administration favor it. The House and Senate will have to get together to approve the final 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.
Another Quaker organization, the American Friends Service Committee, is working in the Abolition 2000 group United for Peace & Justice. Joseph Gerson, director of the northeast region of AFSC, has been promoting awareness of and action on nuclear weapons for years, having coordinated the last big anti-nuclear rally at the United Nations. He has been planning this year’s campaign for awareness, which will be from September 21, the United Nations (UN) International Day of Peace since 1982, until September 26, the UN International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons (Nuclear Abolition Day), declared in 2013.
Too many people put their faith in nuclear weapons to keep us safe. Or they rely on an idea that God will intervene, ignoring our free will. Call this what it is: modern idolatry. In addition, it is apostasy to threaten to destroy Creation. What good is retaliation on our one Earth? We have to point out the stupidity of using nuclear weapons in this time when every nation has to work together to address climate change and sustainability. Our uniqueness was seen by the astronauts—we are one human race, sharing our one beautiful Earth.
Quakers are inherently for Peace. Please visit www.MayorsforPeace.org, the US Conference of Mayors’ Resolution on Nuclear Weapons. Contact legislators, post on public forums, and witness in public places, particularly this September. And from October 24-30, join the international campaign to Count the Nuclear Weapons Money! Visit www.nuclearweaponsmoney.org/count-the-money for more on this action.