The Rev. Dr.
Michael Kinnamon, a Christian Church (Disciples of
clergyman and a long-time educator and ecumenical leader, is the
ninth General Secretary of the National Council of Churches of
Christ in the USA.
The NCC is the ecumenical voice of America's Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican, historic African American, evangelical and traditional peace churches. These 35 communions have 45 million faithful members in 100,000 congregations in all 50 states.
Address to a Rally and March
Editor's Note. Dr. Kinnamon made the following remarks on the eve of the United Nations 2010 review conference of the parties to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons treaty.
Good afternoon lovers of peace!
The National Council of Churches in the USA, which I represent, is a community of Christian denominations that range from the Armenian Orthodox to the Society of Friends, from the Episcopal Church to the National Baptist Convention, from the United Methodists to the Korean Presbyterians. To let you in on a secret, churches that diverse don’t agree on all things! But on this we do agree: Nuclear weapons are a threat to the human future. They siphon off resources that could have been used to promote true security through economic and cultural development. If they ever played a stabilizing role in the balance of power, they surely do so no longer in this post-Cold War world. And thus, in the words of a resolution passed at our last General Assembly, “the time has arrived to eliminate all of these weapons before they are used to eliminate all of us. Be it therefore resolved that the National Council of Churches hereby recommits itself to the total worldwide eradication of nuclear weapons.”
The resolution takes note of the danger posed by nuclear weapons in the hands of countries such as Iran and North Korea, but it also agrees with a Brazilian ambassador who said that a nation “cannot worship at the altar of nuclear weapons and then raise heresy charges against those who want to join the sect” (Sergio Duarte). If the United States wants to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons, then it must take bold, credible steps --now!--toward its own nuclear disarmament.
Please hear me. I want to be sure that the press, that all of you, understand that our churches care deeply about the United States and its security. We are American churches. But before that, we are people of faith who know that all life is interrelated, stemming from a single Creator -- which means that real security is never achieved through unilateral defense but through attentiveness to the injustice that afflicts other children of God. Clinics and schools will do more for our security than missiles and bombs. And security is certainly not achieved through nuclear weapons-- weapons of such "abundant death"--which, as many have observed, would be suicidal to use against a country that has them, would be immoral to use on a country that doesn't, and would be of no value to use against terrorists.
Friends, I am glad I can report to you that the National Council of Churches has taken such a stance. But as we all know, nuclear weapons are not a Christian problem -- they are a human problem, one that demands a concerted effort from all of us.
So let our voice be heard from Times Square to the United Nations, from New York City to the Pentagon, from this place around the world: Nuclear weapons are a threat to the human future, a crime against humanity! To the leaders of our nations, we say: "Take steps now to remove them from the face of the earth!"
National Council of Churches
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