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.