Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons

Minneapolis Area Synod Assembly resolution regarding banning nuclear weapons

Whereas, the ELCA social teaching statement, “Church in Society: a Lutheran Perspective,” calls for the church to engage in moral deliberations regarding governmental policy, and “discern when to support and when to confront society’s cultural patterns, values, and powers”; and Whereas, the ELCA social teaching statement “For Peace in God’s World” calls for the church to engage actively in making peace not war, naming and resisting “idols that lead to false security, injustice, and war, and [calling] for repentance” ; and

Whereas, nuclear weapons are evil. They do not increase our safety. Far from keeping the peace, they breed fear and mistrust among nations, and are useless in addressing any of today’s real security threats, such as climate change, extreme poverty, and disease. Whereas, nuclear weapons programs divert public funds from health care, education, repair of the infrastructure, disaster relief and other vital services. (The nine nuclear armed nations spend many tens of Billions of dollars each year maintaining and modernizing their nuclear arsenals.) Whereas, The entire life cycle of nuclear weapons (mining to disposal) causes harm—even if the weapons are never exploded,

Whereas, the risk of a nuclear war and global annihilation has been greatly increased by the escalation of the new nuclear arms race by pulling out of treaties, the nuclear weapons standoff between the United States and North Korea, the US deployment of more usable* nuclear warheads on submarines, and the frequent US threats to other nations that “all military options are on the table” Resolved, that the Minneapolis Area Synod acting in assembly ask the Bishop of the Minneapolis Area Synod to communicate to the MAS area members of Congress and Minnesota U.S. Senators that this Synod asks them to take a leadership role in current opportunities to bring together the nine nuclear nations to work toward the total elimination of nuclear weapons and the signing and ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Resolved, that the Minneapolis Area Synod acting in assembly memorialize the Churchwide Assembly to engage the ELCA UN and Advocacy offices to take a leadership role in current opportunities to bring together the nine nuclear nations to work toward the total elimination of nuclear weapons and the signing and ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and to ask our Presiding Bishop to communicate this intent to the appropriate federal officials. *The destructive power of the so-called “low-yield” bombs is classified information, not available to taxpayers. The accepted estimate is 1/3 the size of the Hiroshima bomb. The bomb dropped on Hiroshima destroyed 13 sq km, killed about 160,000 civilians within a few months and caused on-going misery and much more early death for 75 years and counting.

Background for Resolutions:

From “For Peace in God’s World”, ELCA Social Statement, p. 18-19: “Give high priority to arms control and reduction. We particularly urge a sharp reduction in the number of weapons of mass destruction. We call for arms control agreements that are substantial, equitable, verifiable, and progressive.1

16 We support mutual confidence-building measures to improve mutually assured security. In particular, we give priority to:

• ◆ agreements among the leading nuclear powers to reduce their nuclear stockpiles and to decrease the possibility of nuclear confrontation or accident;

• ◆ the successful negotiation of a renewed Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, the strengthening of mechanisms to monitor and enforce nuclear treaties, and efforts that move toward the elimination of nuclear weapons; ….. Control and reduce the arms trade. Heavily armed nations continue to spend billions on arms. As one of the world’s leading arms exporters, the United States has special responsibility to reduce arms sales and to seek proper international control agreements over the worldwide sale and transfer of arms by the major exporters.

” From a Prior ELCA statement “ We call upon the governments of the United States and other nuclear powers to persist in the efforts to arrive at effective multilateral agreements on the cessation of all kinds of nuclear weapons testing with provision for adequate inspection and control. Toward this end we believe that a moratorium on testing should be continued until every opportunity to secure such effective agreements has been utilized. We advocate this position not only because hazards to health will thereby be kept at a minimum but also because agreement on the cessation of testing could serve to allay suspicion and provide an international experience in inspection and control which are deemed essential to the regulation and reduction of armaments in a manner that will not endanger the security of any nation. Recognizing that an open-ended armaments race poses grave peril for ourselves and all nations, we urge the governments of the United States and Canada to engage in untiring search for new and viable forms of arms limitations and control. We believe that this requires dealing realistically with the unsolved problems of the cold war. Any approach should therefore include efforts directed at relaxation on international tensions and settlement of political problems, and calls for the readiness for step-by-step progress and patience with limited achievement.”

A Statement of the United Lutheran Church in America, 1960 Contact person: Amy Blumenshine, Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, MN