Update: Churches in Britain have spoken out against renewing the Trident nuclear weapons system. The UK Parliament on 18 July 2016 voted 472 to 117 to renew.
Church statements (after vote)
The Church of Scotland has responded to the vote. The Rev Dr Richard Frazer, convener of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland, commented:
‘It is regrettable that the first significant debate in the Houses of Parliament following the appointment of our new Prime Minister and the vote to exit the EU should be one to renew our nuclear deterrent.
‘As we seek to redefine our relationship to Europe and the wider world at this challenging time, a decision to renew an indiscriminate weapons system hardly seems the most auspicious beginning and is being rushed through with little opportunity for reflection or wider discussion.
‘We are also aware that Trident is a Scottish issue because it is stationed here and the government at Holyrood has voted unambiguously to oppose the renewal of Trident in the past’.
See the Church of Scotland Facebook page for the full statement on the vote to renew Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons programme.
Church statements (before vote)
Replacement of Trident is ‘unwarranted’ and ‘unethical’ say the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church and Quakers in Britain.
The United Reformed Church reiterated its opposition to Trident and called for the negotiation of a treaty banning nuclear weapons at its General Assembly in July 2016.
Rachel Lampard, Vice-President of the Methodist Conference has added, ‘It is scandalous that the UK Government has consistently opposed opportunities for discussion on multilateral disarmament. A decision to build Trident submarines now, just as talks on disarmament are due to get underway in the United Nations General Assembly, seems ill-timed and unwarranted.’
‘We will never achieve the peace which Scripture encourages us towards with a defence policy built on fear – peace is achieved through justice and relationship, not fear’, commented the Revd Stephen Keyworth, Faith and Society Team Leader of the Baptist Union of Great Britain.
The five churches are asking people to write to their MPs to voice their opposition to Trident in advance of a debate in Parliament.
For more details on the churches opposition to trident see the Baptists Together website.
Related to the Trident renewal issue, Steve Hucklesby of the Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) draws attention to the UK Government’s attempts to block discussion of multilateral disarmament in the UN and other forums.
The Church of Scotland has also condemned the rush to vote on Trident. The Convener of the Church and Society Council, Rev Dr Richard Frazer, has said that it is not the right time to take such a significant decision.
The Catholic Bishops of Scotland have called for ‘courageous and decisive steps towards nuclear disarmament’. You can read the full statement on the renewal of Trident by the eight Catholic Bishops of Scotland on the Scottish Catholic media Office website.
The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales has also issued a statement on the UK’s possession of nuclear weapons.
Stop Trident mass lobby of MPs
The Baptist Union of Great Britain, Methodist Church in Britain, Quakers in Britain and United Reformed Church took part in a mass lobby of MPs on Wednesday 13 July 2016. The event was a partnership between the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and twenty other national organisations.
For details on the Stop Trident mass lobby of MPs see the Quakers in Britain website.