Renewal of Trident "unethical"

Following today's report 'The Future of the UK's StrategicNuclear Deterrent; the White Paper' by the Defence SelectCommittee, leaders from the Baptist Union of Great Britain, theMethodist Church and the United Reformed Church continue to urgethe Government not to replace the Trident Nuclear WeaponsSystem.

The Churches join the Defence Select Committee in welcoming theGovernment's increased openness about the decision making processand share its hope that this will be the pattern for the future.They strongly endorse the Committee's call for the Government togive a clear statement on its plans for nuclearnon-proliferation.

The three Churches made a joint submission to the Committee,arguing that the Government's White Paper provides no seriousanalysis of the security risks associated with a renewal ofTrident. They state that it is vital to control the proliferationof weapons technology and they raise concerns over the Government'sclaim that Trident might provide protection against state-sponsorednuclear terrorism. The submission also draws attention to thestatus of Britain's commitment to the Nuclear Non-ProliferationTreaty (NPT).

Anthea Cox, Methodist Coordinating Secretary for Public Life andSocial Justice said; 'Renewal of Trident has significant ethicalproblems. Its power as a deterrent is based on fear, residing inthe fact that it is designed to cause indiscriminate harm on amassive scale. It is unthinkable to invest in nuclear weapons whentheir 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 proliferationbut a replacement for Trident seriously undermines this aim. The UKgovernment should be directing its efforts towards disarmament ifit is serious about peacemaking.'

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

The government has set March 14th for a parliamentary debate. TheCampaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is organising a rally inParliament Square during the debate which will be attended byrepresentatives from the Churches.