Replacement of Trident is 'unwarranted' and 'unethical' say Churches

The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church ofScotland, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church andQuakers in Britain have said that the proposals to renew theTrident nuclear weapons system are 'unwarranted' and'unethical.'

This announcement comes in advance of the Parliamentary debateon Trident is to take place, where the UK Government will seekapproval to spend £41 billion on building new submarines to carrynuclear weapons. 

The Churches have previously expressed dismay that the UKGovernment is resisting discussions sponsored by the United Nationson multilateral disarmament. UK Churches have been represented atNon-Proliferation Treaty conferences in New York and have soughtfor many years to influence Government policy on nuclear weapons.In 2015, 26 faith leaders called on the UK Government to join withothers in developing a robust plan of action to lead to a worldfree of nuclear weapons.

With a combined membership of over one million people in the UKalone, the leaders of the five Churches are encouraging all to prayand  write to their MPs.


Earlier this week, the General Assembly of the United ReformedChurch reiterated its opposition to the Trident nuclear weaponssystem and called for the negotiation of a treaty banning nuclearweapons. Alan Yates, Moderator of the General Assembly of theUnited Reformed Church said: "We appreciate that negotiations taketime, but the UK must take steps down the nuclear ladder. Thethreats that we face today are diverse and nuclear weapons simplycannot offer security or peace for anyone."

Rachel Lampard, Vice-President of the Methodist Conferenceadded: "It is scandalous that the UK Government has consistentlyopposed opportunities for discussion on multilateral disarmament. Adecision to build Trident submarines now, just as talks ondisarmament are due to get underway in the United Nations GeneralAssembly, seems ill-timed and unwarranted."

Paul Parker, Recording Clerk of Quakers in Britain said: "We seethat of God in everyone and seek to love our neighbours asourselves. A teaching which is present in many religions. Thismeans we cannot threaten others with weapons of mass destruction.We will build a more secure future by modelling in our own actionsthe behaviour that we ask of others."

Recalling that the Church of Scotland has spoken out againstnuclear weapons for thirty years, the Rt. Rev Dr Russell Barr,Moderator of the Church of Scotland said: "Attempts to sustainpeace through the threat of indiscriminate mass destruction couldnot be further from the peace to which Christ calls us. It is vitalthat the UK demonstrates the sort of change it wants to see in theworld; building peace through strong and courageous leadership andnot by commissioning more nuclear weapons."

The Revd Stephen Keyworth, Faith and Society Team Leader, theBaptist Union of Great Britain added: "We have an opportunity togive strong moral leadership and to work creatively as peacemakers.We will never achieve the peace which Scripture encourages ustowards with a defence policy built on fear -peace is achievedthrough justice and relationship, not fear."



  • For more information on the issue and to write to your MP,please visit the  Joint Public Issues website.
  • Policy Advisor, Steve Hucklesby, and Church and SocietySecretary, Grace Pengelly, are available for interview. Pleaseemail Toby Fairclough on  fairclought@methodistchurch.org.uk    or call on  020 75675208.
  • Earlier this year, all 8 Catholic Bishops of Scotlandsigned a statement in opposition to the renewal of Trident. Click here to read the story.