On to the Senate floor with Bipartisan Support!

Earlier today, in bipartisan fashion, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to approve the New START treaty, sending it to the Senate floor where it needs 67 votes for ratification. But it’s not time to celebrate yet! Clearing committee is a big step in the right direction, but the tight Senate schedule means that unless Senators from both parties publicly call for an up-or-down vote on this treaty, it may not be ratified this year.

With strong bipartisan support, the time to ratify the New START treaty is now:

  • The treaty makes us safer — it will reduce the number of deployed nuclear weapons in U.S. and Russian arsenals.
  • The treaty allows U.S. inspectors to monitor Russian nukes. By the time the committee voted today, it’s been 285 days without on-site inspections of Russian nuclear weapons and facilities.
  • The treaty has the overwhelming support of the military and national security experts of both parties, including current and former commanders of our nuclear weapons, Colin Powell, Henry Kissinger, and many others.
  • The treaty is a symbol of peace and the common good, and has the support of religious groups from across the spectrum, including the World Evangelical Alliance, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

Please take time today to call your Senators and let them know the New START treaty is out of committee with Republican and Democratic support, and they need to join this bipartisan consensus. It will take only five minutes — simply visit the Two Futures Project START Action Center, find the Office Number for your Senators, and ask them to publically call for a vote to ratify the New START treaty this year.

Nukes in the News

Jonathan Merritt and civil rights icon Rev. Joseph Lowery, “Living Together as Brothers in a World with Nuclear Weapons” http://huff.to/9Vc44g

New York Times editorial on New START: “Failure to ratify this treaty would be hugely costly for American credibility and security.” http://nyti.ms/bMTtae

George Shultz, Madeleine Albright, Gary Hart and Chuck Hagel have a remarkable op-ed in the Washington Post, “It’s time for the Senate to vote on New START” – http://bit.ly/bTbom6

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Hiroshima Day (8/6/10)

In the summer of 1945, sixty five years ago today, an American B-29 bomber dropped an atomic weapon named “little boy” on Japan, leveling a city and killing approximately 140,000 Japanese. On this 65th anniversary of Hiroshima, more than a billion Christians will simultaneously remember a culminating event in the life of Jesus Christ, as today also marks the great Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ.

In today’s Huffington Post, Tyler Wigg-Stevenson offers a Meditation on Hiroshima and the Transfiguration:

“It must be one of the extraordinary accidents of history that the first atomic bomb was dropped on August 6, which marks the annual Feast of the Transfiguration for Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox Christians around the world. […] Roughly nineteen centuries [after the Transfiguration event], and sixty-five years ago today, the city of Hiroshima was destroyed with elements that cannot but recall the Transfiguration: a sun-bright white light; a roar from heaven; a cloud; terror; and-most of all-a world that would never be the same…” [link]

The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki remain the source of deep controversy in America. Yet, as Tyler wrote last year in Christianity Today, even those who would seek to legitimize the bombings within the context of World War II should not use them as barriers to disarmament in our day.

In today’s Washington Post On Faith, Jane Smith Bernhardt has an interfaith spiritual reflection on the bombing of Hiroshima. Also, to commemorate the 65th anniversary, Time Magazine has never before seen photographs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Nukes in the News

Don’t miss Jonathan Granoff and Rhianna Tyson Kreger of the Global Security Institute in the Huffington Post, “Countdown to Zero: A Compelling Film With a Critical Message.

John Dear SJ in the National Catholic Reporter, “A Gathering Storm for Hope.

Along with Tyler Wigg-Stevenson’s lecture on moralism and nuclear security given at the Chautauqua Institute — be sure to check out the lecture recaps from the Chautauquan Daily on the other featured speakers at the recent week on disarmament: (1) Jonathan Granoff, “Nuclear issue should be national priority.“, (2) Joe Cirincione, “‘Nuclear Neanderthals’ stand in way of progress.”  (3) Rev. Jim Wallis, “Disarmament battle needs faith community’s backing.” and (4) Sen. Sam Nunn, “Arms reduction essential for future generations.

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Week of Action on START (5/17/10)

It’s not often that we have the opportunity to weigh in on a concrete step that will improve nuclear security — these chances sometimes come around just once per year.

So take this opportunity to tell your elected officials that you won’t tolerate partisan nonsense when it comes to a treaty that’s good for national security and sound moral choice.

We need you to call the offices of your U.S. Senators and express your strong support of the treaty. It will take only five minutes — simply visit the multifaith START Action Center hosted by the Two Futures Project to find the Office Number for your Senators and use our sample “call script.”

Last week, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) was officially submitted to the U.S. Senate, with hearings expected to begin later this week. In order for this treaty to become law, the Senate must ratify it by a two-thirds majority — needing 67 votes.

There is no reason for this treaty not to receive unanimous support from the Senate based on its merits. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, “the treaty has the unanimous support of America’s military leadership.” Similarly, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen said during a briefing on the announcement of the START treaty, “I am as confident in its success as I am in its safeguards.”

However, the greatest enemy to its success in the Senate is partisan distraction, and the possibility that a handful of outspoken ideologues can derail or weaken the treaty. This would not only damage strategic relations between the US and Russia, it would be a huge step in the wrong direction toward nuclear insecurity.

Take action today for the peace and security of tomorrow.

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It’s a Good START, But Now What? (4/8/10)

AP PhotoAs you’ve probably seen in the news, President Obama and Russian President Medvedev met in Prague yesterday morning to sign the historic New START treaty limiting strategic nuclear weapons.

…now what?

For the treaty to become law, the U.S. Senate and Russian Duma must ratify it. This means 67 votes in the Senate — but there is no reason why the treaty shouldn’t have unanimous support based on its merits alone.

The greatest enemy here is partisan distraction, and there’s a possibility that a handful of outspoken ideologues in the Senate can derail or weaken the treaty. This would not only damage strategic relations between us and Russia, it would be a huge step in the wrong direction toward nuclear insecurity.

Want to do something right now?

Along with contacting your Senators to let them know you support ratification, why not take a few minutes to watch this remarkable video from nuclear policy expert Joe Ciricinione — and then help to make the video go viral. Send it to your colleagues, friends, family, and anyone who may not understand the urgency of the movement toward disarmament.

Nukes in the News

Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, “Welcomes Nuclear Arms Treaty

Here’s faith and culture writer Jonathan Merritt’s take on the New START treaty in an op-ed for the Huffington Post, “A Good START to a Safer World

USA Today: “Obama announces changes in U.S. nuclear weapon policy

God’s Politics Blog: “A New START Toward Nuclear Disarmament.”

The Christian Post: “Evangelicals Support U.S., Russia Nuclear Arms Treaty

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New Nuclear Doctrine (4/5/10)

Earlier this morning, the administration released an important nuclear weapons policy document called the “Nuclear Posture Review.” Released just a year and one day after President Obama’s historic speech in Prague, where he articulated a firm commitment to seek a world without nuclear weapons, the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) represents the administration’s first comprehensive outline of the ways in which that commitment will impact U.S. nuclear policy.

The NPR is a welcome attempt to marry idealism and realism with policies that meet the needs of our post-Cold War, post-9/11 era.

Among the changes the text called for in the 2010 NPR:

  • No use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states in compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
  • Significant reductions of the role of nuclear weapons in the U.S. national security strategy
  • Changes in nuclear command structure to help prevent accidental launch-
  • A commitment to reduce Cold War-levels of nuclear arsenals
  • Firm restrictions on when nuclear weapons can be used
  • Elimination of obsolete weapons systems
  • Rejection of new nuclear weapons programs

Take some time to learn more about the Nuclear Posture Review — we’ve collected a number of articles on the NPR below, as well as the full-length text from the Department of Defense, if you’re in the mood to get really in-depth.

Learn More about the Nuclear Posture Review:

New York Times interviews Pres. Obama on Posture Review, “Obama Limits When U.S. Would Use Nuclear Arms

From the Wall Street Journal, “U.S. Narrows Role of Nuclear Arms

Here’s a great piece from the National Security Network, “A 21st Century Nuclear Posture for 21st Century Threats

In case you want to read through the NPR, here’s the full text from DoD: http://bit.ly/d0QCfT

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“All Nukes, All the Time” (4/5/09)

You may not realize this yet, but April is kind of a big deal. In fact, decisions are being made this week that will shape nuclear weapons policy for years to come. So over the next few days, as the news unfolds, you can expect to hear from us a few more times. As one White House senior official recently put it: it’s “All Nukes, All the Time.”

So why are we emailing you now? Actually, today is the one-year anniversary of a remarkable speech President Obama gave in Prague on April 5th, 2009. Echoing the voices of Kennedy and Reagan, Pres. Obama gave what policy experts acknowledge to be one of the most important speeches on nuclear weapons in history — boldly endorsing a vision of disarmament: “I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

With the President returning to Prague later this week to sign a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), we encourage you to take the time to watch the speech or even read the transcript. You won’t regret it. Also, check out the links below for articles that about the New START treaty.

Nukes in the News

Here’s a fantastic piece on the morality of nuclear weapons and arms reductions from PBS Religion & Ethics. Do yourself a favor and read it: http://is.gd/b8Gvg

“Reform Movement Welcomes Nuclear Arms Treaty,” http://bit.ly/dhTjaQ

“Monks walk long way to share peace message at Portsmouth Library,” http://bit.ly/bGmclq

Sojourners ‘God’s Politics’ blog featured Tyler’s article titled “A New START Toward Nuclear Disarmament

Op-ed by Adam Woods on New START treaty at Relevant Magazine’s ‘Reject Apathy blog: “Forging a New Start”

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Courageous Leadership from Utah (3/17/10)

There was big news out of Utah earlier this month when the state House unanimously passed a resolution urging the U.S. Senate to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

If you’re like me, when you hear about nuclear weapons testing, you probably think of the footage and images we’ve all seen of a blast rippling through an empty desert, or a mushroom cloud towering above a remote island — but what’s missing from these larger-than-life images is what’s most important: the suffering, sickness, and death of innocent people “downwind” of the test.

Utah’s resolution stems from the state’s painful history of cancer, child leukemia, and other birth defects caused by radioactive fallout from our government’s nuclear testing in southern Nevada during the 1950s. The tragic story of Utah’s “downwinders” is not some tin-foil hat conspiracy theory. It’s a documented and publicly acknowledged mistake in our country’s history, where unsuspecting and innocent lives were lost or ruined in the name of “national security.”

Yet the United States is part of a very short list of countries who have still not ratified the CTBT (India, Pakistan,China, North Korea, etc.). The good news is there’s a growing movement toward the ratification. The bad news is there’s still a mix of ignorance and apathy about the test-ban treaty, which may slow or even prevent a successful Senate vote in 2010. Listed below are a number of great articles and maps explaining the treaty and why it matters. So take some time to read about the test-ban and learn why its ratification is a vital step toward the elimination of nuclear weapons — because your knowledge and willingness to speak out for the CTBT in 2010 will be essential for its success.

Thanks for your help as we work to take seriously our responsibility to love God and each other.  With two starkly different futures possible, the world needs the leadership and courage our faith demands.

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