Moderator comments on nuclear deterrent service

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The Church has underlined its commitment to supporting Armed Forces personnel regardless of expressing misgivings about a service to mark 50 years of the UK’s nuclear deterrent.

Rt Rev Susan Brown, Moderator of the Basic Assembly, has signed a statement ahead of the occasion at Westminster Abbey in London tomorrow.

submarine
The UK’s nuclear deterrent is primarily based at Faslane on the west coast of Scotland

Mrs Brown stated: “The Church of Scotland recognises and is thankful for, the immense service, professionalism and commitment of Armed Forces Personnel and of their households who assistance them in their duties.

“We recognise that these males and girls are normally asked to undertake tough tasks, not constantly of their personal picking and normally at fantastic private expense.

“We are grateful for the function of Royal Navy Chaplains who assistance them as they carry out these, occasionally, controversial duties.

“It is in the spirit of this understanding that the following statement is supplied.”

Inappropriate

The statement has also been signed by William Nolan, Bishop of Galloway and president of Justice and Peace Scotland.

It reads: “As males and girls of faith, and as leaders of the Christian communities in Scotland we offer you our thanks and sincere gratitude to all the males and girls of our nation’s Armed Forces for their service, and for the households and good friends who assistance them in that process.

“However, as Christians, acknowledging our duty to be cautious stewards of our planet, and the moral questionability of nuclear weapons we take into account it inappropriate to have a church service celebrating 50 years of Continuous-at-Sea-Deterrence of these weapons of mass destruction.

“Since 1982, the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland has condemned the use, or threat of use of nuclear weapons as immoral.

“In 2017, His Holiness Pope Francis noted that the extremely possession of nuclear weapons is to be firmly condemned.

Rt Rev Susan Brown during her visit to Glasgow and Strathclyde University Royal Navy Unit, sailing on the River Clyde
Rt Rev Susan Brown for the duration of her check out to Glasgow and Strathclyde University Royal Navy Unit (URNU), sailing on the River Clyde. Photo: Royal Navy

“For more than thirty years the position of the Basic Assembly of the Church of Scotland has been that the possession, threat of use, or use of nuclear weapons is inherently evil.

“The 50th anniversary of the UK’s nuclear weapons submarines, sailing out of Faslane, for that reason, is not a moment for celebration but rather a point for lamentation and profound regret.

“In following Jesus, the Prince of Peace, we continue to oppose the UK Government’s possession of nuclear weapons, which are a each day reality for these of us in Scotland who reside alongside them.

“We urge the UK Government to take seriously its’ treaty obligations to function for disarmament, and recall the words of Isaiah, ‘they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they find out war any longer.”’

In 2017, the Church of Scotland signed the Armed Forces covenant to strengthen its commitment to supporting military personnel, veterans and their households.

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