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Synod signals its opposition to a Trident upgrade

by Rachel Harden

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Casting off: the Revd Ainslie Walton, a retired minister from Pollockshields, Glasgow, throws a floral peace symbol into the waters outside the Faslane base NICK COBBING/GREENPEACE

Casting off: the Revd Ainslie Walton, a retired minister from Pollockshields, Glasgow, throws a floral peace symbol into the waters outside the Faslane base NICK COBBING/GREENPEACE

THE ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury spoke strongly against the proposed upgrading of Trident during a debate in the General Synod.

Dr Williams said that he did not believe there was a case “for the moral acceptability of nuclear weapons”. He was aware, though, that not everyone in Synod, let alone the Government, would agree. He said the lack of unity of thought in the Church meant that other arguments should be deployed “granting that what we should be working for is ‘less bad’ rather than an ideal outcome”.

In the debate (full details), a motion reflecting the findings of a report from the C of E’s Mission and Public Affairs committee was strengthened in order to challenge the Government more directly, and was passed by a narrow majority.

Dr Williams concluded: “I believe that the least a Christian body ought to do in these circumstances is to issue the strongest possible warnings and discouragements to our Government.”

The Church of Scotland organised a “Bin the Bomb” rally in Glasgow last Saturday to protest about Government plans to renew Trident, which is based in Faslane on the East Coast.

Speakers at the rally included the Moderator of the General Assembly, the Rt Revd Alan McDonald, the CND vice-president Bruce Kent, and other church and political leaders.

The previous week a delegation of Church of Scotland ministers joined campaigners on the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise to bear witness at the Faslane base.

The Methodist, Baptist, and United Reformed Churches are encouraging members to write to their MPs about opposing the replacement of Trident and urging a move towards non-proliferation. All three churches have passed motions opposing the replacement of Britain’s nuclear weapons system.

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