Renewal of Trident "unethical"

Following today's report 'The Future of the UK's Strategic Nuclear Deterrent; the White Paper' by the Defence Select Committee, leaders from the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church continue to urge the Government not to replace the Trident Nuclear Weapons System.

The Churches join the Defence Select Committee in welcoming the Government's increased openness about the decision making process and share its hope that this will be the pattern for the future. They strongly endorse the Committee's call for the Government to give a clear statement on its plans for nuclear non-proliferation.

The three Churches made a joint submission to the Committee, arguing that the Government's White Paper provides no serious analysis of the security risks associated with a renewal of Trident. They state that it is vital to control the proliferation of weapons technology and they raise concerns over the Government's claim that Trident might provide protection against state-sponsored nuclear terrorism. The submission also draws attention to the status of Britain's commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Anthea Cox, Methodist Coordinating Secretary for Public Life and Social Justice said; 'Renewal of Trident has significant ethical problems. Its power as a deterrent is based on fear, residing in the fact that it is designed to cause indiscriminate harm on a massive scale. It is unthinkable to invest in nuclear weapons when their use will always be unethical.'

Graham Sparkes, Head of Faith and Unity for the Baptist Union said; 'The Government has declared its commitment to non proliferation but a replacement for Trident seriously undermines this aim. The UK government should be directing its efforts towards disarmament if it is serious about peacemaking.'

Stuart Dew, Secretary for Church and Society, the United Reformed Church, continued; 'We are called as Christians to be peacemakers. A decision to renew Trident will be counter-productive in negotiating with potential new nuclear states such as Iran. We call on our Government to concentrate on building peace and replacing Trident is not going to further this cause.'

The government has set March 14th for a parliamentary debate. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is organising a rally in Parliament Square during the debate which will be attended by representatives from the Churches.

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