Faith in Trident?

IssueOctober 2006
Feature by Kat Barton

The campaign to stop the next generation of nuclear weapons has received a lot of support - in particular from faith communities. From the Vatican to the local Friends Meeting House, calls to prevent Trident replacement can be heard, and many are choosing to turn their faith into action.

Every month outside the gates of AWE Aldermaston, worshippers hold a multi-faith vigil to remember those affected by acts of aggression and to renew their commitment to non-violently campaigning against nuclear weapons. Regular PN readers will also remember the “Vine and Fig Tree Planters” who back in August 2005 cut the fence at Aldermaston to plant the biblical seeds inside the grounds of the base, one of whom recently received a seven day prison sentence for their action. Others may remember the delegation of church leaders and MSPs who visited Aldermaston earlier this summer to call for non-replacement of Trident and to demand the cessation of building work until a decision is formally taken. And last month, walkers on “Scotland's Long Walk for Peace”, which called on the government to “Make Trident History” by “Binning the Bomb”, included representatives from several faith communities.

Amongst those who participated in the 85-mile trek from Faslane Naval Base to the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh were the Right Reverend Alan McDonald, Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Roman Catholic Cardinal Keith O'Brien, and the Episcopal Bishop of Edinburgh the Right Reverend Brian Smith, plus Bruce Kent and representatives from Islamic and Quaker communities.

Last month the Catholic Church in Scotland produced a study guide on nuclear weapons which made it clear that “church teaching on the demand for nuclear disarmament is very clear and very strong”. Days later, Scottish bishops received backing from the Vatican in a letter urging the UK government “not to invest in a replacement for the Trident system”.

Interfaith action against Trident is continuing, and in May next year an interfaith peace walk will depart from Dublin on a three-month walk to London. The “Interfaith Peace Walk for a Nuclear Free Future” walk will take in many of Britain's major cities and nuclear hotspots, including Belfast, Glasgow, Leeds, Faslane, Sellafield and Aldermaston.