The World Council of Churches pushes for a prohibition on nuclear weapons

July 10, 2014

Following its week-long Central Committee Meeting, the World Council of Churches released a statement about the necessity of working towards the creation of a nuclear-free world. The statement pointed to the indiscriminate and inhumane effects of nuclear weapons, and the threat they pose to the entire world.

The World Council of Churches is a multidenominational fellowship of Christian churches that seeks to bring together and unify these different faiths. Throughout its existence, the WCC has demonstrated a strong commitment to pressing social issues, including protection of vulnerable populations, economic justice and peace advocacy.

“This new policy updates a long-standing goal of the World Council of Churches”, says Jonathan Friedrichs, the WCC programme executive for peacebuilding and disarmament.  “It reinforces the role of churches and related organizations already behind the humanitarian initiative, and it introduces others to the humanitarian initiative and the need to work with ICAN.  Finally, there’s a whole section inviting churches to reflect and act on nuclear dangers in the light of faith.”

According to the statement released by the WCC, the existence of nuclear weapons cannot be reconciled with peace and humanitarian principles. The statement emphasizes that miscalculations and nuclear accidents, as well as intention detonation of nuclear weapons, can have devastating effects, and therefore the existence of these weapons is a constant threat. There are international norms and treaties governing other indiscriminate weapons of mass destruction, and the statement suggests this is what is needed to eliminate nuclear weapons.

The WCC statement includes a series of recommendations to churches wanting to create a nuclear-free world. The WCC urges churches to put pressure on their governments to pursue a ban on nuclear weapons, and to show support to civil society and advocacy organisations, including ICAN.

The statement by the WCC is yet another demonstration of the growing support for a ban on nuclear weapons and the necessity of their absolute elimination. The statement rightly points out that “Nuclear weapons cannot indeed be reconciled with real peace. Their power is indiscriminate and their effects cannot be matched by any other device. As long as nuclear weapons exist, they pose a threat to humanity.”

  • aiweiwei

    “Let’s act up! Ban nuclear weapons completely and unconditionally.”

    Ai Weiwei Artist and activist

  • sheen

    “If Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr were alive today, they would be part of ICAN.”

    Martin Sheen Actor and activist

  • bankimoon

    “I salute ICAN for working with such commitment and creativity.”

    Ban Ki-moon Former UN chief

  • yokoono

    “We can do it together. With your help, our voice will be made still stronger. Imagine peace.”

    Yoko Ono Artist

  • jodywilliams

    “Governments say a nuclear weapons ban is unlikely. Don’t believe it. They said the same about a mine ban treaty.”

    Jody Williams Nobel laureate

  • desmondtutu

    “With your support, we can take ICAN its full distance – all the way to zero nuclear weapons.”

    Desmond Tutu Nobel laureate

  • herbiehancock

    “Because I cannot tolerate these appalling weapons, I whole-heartedly support ICAN.”

    Herbie Hancock Jazz musician

  • dalailama

    “I can imagine a world without nuclear weapons, and I support ICAN.”

    Dalai Lama Nobel laureate