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NCC Participates in 50th Anniversary
Of H-Bomb Test on Marshall Islands

After 50 Years:
What we do unto the least of these, our brothers and sisters, we do unto God.

-- Based on Matthew 25:40

We speak as leaders and representatives of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, the United Church of Christ, and the United Methodist Church who have participated in the 50th anniversary commemoration of Operation Bravo, the March 1, 1954, atmospheric test of the H-Bomb on Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

We have traveled here to listen to the survivors of Operation Bravo and the 66 other  nuclear tests carried out between 1946 and 1958 in the Pacific Islands by our government and to remember their stories.  The result of these blasts has been death, cancer, disease, and dislocation.  What has been done cannot be undone, but our churches have long been pledged to work for justice for the people of the Republic of the Marshall Islands so that they may be compensated for the personal and property loss they have experienced these many years. 

To the survivors of the 67 nuclear bomb tests:

With humility, as disciples of Jesus Christ we express our own sorrow and contrition for the horrendous acts carried out against you by our government and commit to you that we will work to secure an official apology and just financial compensation to you from the United States.

To our government:

It is morally right and proper for our government to issue an official apology for the horrors perpetrated on the innocent people of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.  We encourage the Congress to hold public hearings as soon as possible in both the Republic of the Marshall Islands and in Washington to consider the changed circumstances that warrant continued federal action on behalf of the people of those affected by the nuclear tests.  We urge the President and Congress to view the world as our friend and not our enemy.  Repenting of our national sins and asking forgiveness is a sign of strength, not weakness.  Further, we call on our government to halt production of our weapons of mass destructions as an example of leadership for the entire world.

To others present this weekend who have been victimized by military actions of the United States:

We are grateful to join with representatives of the people of Vieques, Hawaii, and Japan who have themselves experienced conventional and nuclear bombing by the United States.  We applaud your courage and determination to reclaim your lands and restore peace and harmony and wholeness following death and destruction.

Operation Bravo was ironically named.  There was nothing heroic about it 50 years ago as a yet larger and more powerful weapon of mass destruction.  It was a sad day for Godís Creation.  We do say, however, a heart-felt Bravo! to the survivors of the nuclear tests.  Bravo to all those who have experienced suffering, disease, pain, loss, and the death of loved ones with inordinate grace!  Bravo to the millions who resist the madness of the nuclear arms race and stand with these courageous people to bring peace and justice and an end to war.  We pledge to work to see this will happen never again.


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