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NCC joins major initiative for nuclear free world 

New York, May 14, 2007 A coalition of national and regional religious leaders has launched a major initiative to "zero-out" funding for the production of new nuclear warheads.   

The Rev. Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches USA (NCC) kicked off the initiative with a speech at San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church in Alamo, Calif.   

"We must ask ourselves why we would continue to spend billions constructing weapons that have the power to destroy us, rather than build systems and structures that will save lives and help all persons reach the potential for which God created them," said Edgar.   

"If we have the power and the will to create something that could annihilate all of humankind, surely we can summon the will to provide adequate and affordable health care to every American." 

"The administration's proposal to build more nuclear warheads is not only immoral and unnecessary, but also dangerous," said Jessica Wilbanks, coordinator of the National Religious Partnership, which counts the Episcopal Church, the Islamic Society of North America, and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism among its fourteen national partners.  "If other nations follow suit, we could be caught up in another arms race." 

The Bush administration's plan to build-up new nuclear warheads would command a minimum of $150 billion dollars in government resources.   

Rev. Rick Schlosser, executive director of the California Council of Churches, offered an alternative application of those funds in the State of California.   

"It is immoral for so much money to be directed into weapons development when so many human needs are going unmet.  Here in California, people need quality, affordable health care--and instead the funds that could pay for it are going to an unnecessary expansion of our bloated nuclear arsenal," said Rev. Schlosser from his Sacramento office on a telephone news conference May 10. 

In January, 74 religious groups and denominations issued a statement opposing American plans for a nuclear weapons build-up. In particular they pointed out the hypocrisy of the U.S. developing new nuclear weapons while insisting other countries not acquire them.   

"Religious communities in the United States have already weighed in," said Jon Rainwater, executive director of Peace Action West.  "If human life means anything to us, then there can be no future for the nuclear weapons complex." 

Co-sponsors of new initiative include the National Council of Churches, the California Council of Churches, Peace Action West, Tri-Valley CAREs, and the National Religious Partnership on the Nuclear Weapons Danger, an interfaith coalition of denominations and national religious bodies dedicated to ending the nuclear weapons danger.

Audio from the press conference is now available at

More information on the initiative is available at For more information on participating organizations, visit, and

Initiative contact: Reva Patwardhan, (o) 510.849.2272 x112 (c) 510.681.7075, 

NCC News contact:  Dan Webster, 212.870.2252,


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