Trident plan attacked
Posted: 02 Nov 2006 @ 00:00
THE Conference overwhelmingly opposed replacement of the Trident nucleaweapons system and urged the Government "to take leadership in disarmamennegotiations in order to bring about the intention of the Non-ProliferatioTreaty for the elimination of all nuclear weapons
The Trident issue, an appendix to the reporPeacemaking: A Christian vocation, was to the fore after thannouncement by the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, that the Government was seekinto replace the weapons. An amendment to remove the Trident resolution waresoundingly defeate
The report, prepared jointly with the United Reformed Church, examines thethics of modern warfare. It calls for Christians to be peacemakers; addressethe environmental dimension to conflict; and considers what the response tterrorism should be. It recounts personal experiences of war and the 7 Julbombing
The report challenged the Church to "move out of its comfort zone ofamiliar debates and mild protest and into real action for justice anreconciliation", said Steve Hucklesby, the Methodist Church's Secretary foInternational Affairs.
Since the end of the Cold War, thConference had urged further disarmament, and had called in 1996 for "a genuinwillingness to forgo Britain's own nuclear capability . . . in order to stonuclear proliferation. Consistency with those long-established views, togethewith the recommendations in the report", would lead the Conference to opposthe renewal of Trident, the report suggested.
An ex-President othe Conference, the Revd Will Morrey, said that, with other Churches in the UKthe Methodist Church had asked the Government in 2005 to spell out thconditions under which the UK might be content to forgo Trident. It hadeclined to do so, and Tony Blair had also declined to give a direct answeother than "We will do things robustly and engage in robust conversatio"
"If we are to register on the radar screen of such 'robustconversation, we must present the original resolution," Mr Morreurged.
Edwin Dobinson, ex-Royal Navy and Falklands veteranbelieved that a deterrent had been an effective peacemaking tool in the ColWar. But the "uncertain question" now was whether a nuclear deterrent oanything else would deter the kind of fanatical leadership that was in IranTerrorism, he suggested, could be addressed only by addressing the root causeof disaffection.
Dr Peter Stephens defended deterrence: policy hato be set now for 20 and then 30-40 years ahead. "War is never of the kind wexpect when we are looking decades down the road." Another speaker suggestethat the UK must be part of the "nuclear club" if it was to have significanworld influenc