Thanking God for the Nuclear Deterrent
An exchange of correspondence between us and the Dean of Westminster Abbey.
To: The Very Reverend Dr. John Hall, Dean of Westminster
April 14th 2019
We would like to support the letter sent to you by the Recording Clerk of Britain Yearly Meeting, with regard to the proposed service of thanksgiving for nuclear weapons, on May 3rd (see BYM website).
Last year, a Church of England General Synod motion called for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
Izumi Nakamitsu, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, told the United Nations recently that, ‘the possible use of nuclear weapons is one of the greatest threats to international peace and security’.
Our Book of Discipline, Quaker Faith and Practice, includes the passage: “We believe that no one has the right to use [nuclear] weapons in his defence or to ask another person to use them on his behalf. To rely on the possession of nuclear weapons as a deterrent is faithless; to use them is a sin.” (QFP 24.41)
We continue to pray and work for peace.
Clerk – signed on behalf of, and with the support of, this Meeting
From: The Very Reverend John Hall, FCIS FSA FRSA BA HonDD HonDTh HonDLitt, Dean of Westminster
16th 16th 2019
Dear Ms D
The service planned for 3rd May will mark the 50 years of the continuous at sea deterrent and recognise the work of the men and women who have been committed to that work during these often difficult years.
We do not of course intend to celebrate the threat of mass destruction but to mark 50 years of effective deterrence. The service will be neither one of thanksgiving nor in any way a celebration of nuclear armaments.
I hope in my sermon to reﬂect on the horriﬁc power of nuclear weapons and the value of mutual deterrence that has maintained peace between the most powerful nations during the years since the Second World War.
The service will recognise the commitment of the Royal Navy to effective peace-keeping through the deterrent over the past ﬁfty years and we shall pray, as we do regularly, for peace throughout the world.
John R Hall