On Friday 3rd May, a service will be held in Westminster Abbey to ‘Recognise Fifty Years Of Continuous At Sea Deterrent.’ Christian MacLean and Kathy Galloway – the leaders of the Iona Community – have written to the Very Rev Dr John Hall, the Dean of Westminster, to raise the concerns of the Community about this service. The following are extracts from the letter; you can download and read the full text here: Letter to the Dean of Westminster
The Iona Community has since 1967 required its members as a condition of membership, and as an integral part of our Rule, to actively oppose the use or threatened use of nuclear weapons, an to work for a policy of their renunciation by our own nation and other nations.
This position is shared by faith leaders from across the UK, who affirmed this statement in 2015:
Nuclear weapons are by their nature indiscriminate in their effect. Any use of nuclear weapons would have devastating humanitarian consequences, be incompatible with International Humanitarian Law and violate the principle of dignity for every human being that is common to each of our faith traditions.
Our activism as a community is spiritually-based, and motivated above all by the desire to follow Jesus Christ and walk in his way. Christianity is a religion whose founder was unequivocal in teaching that his followers should love their enemies, do good to those who hate them, bless those who curse them and pray for those who ill-treat them, and who died doing exactly that. Yet the policy of deterrence is prepared to kill, not only to defend their own side but to aggressively obliterate the other side, which is ultimately what the nuclear deterrent commits itself to doing.
We cannot understand how threatening humankind, and the planet itself, can be seen as distinctive Christian witness. It is the complete divorce between spirit and matter. Neither, in linking their commitment to this un-Christian policy, do we believe this service is a good recognition of the service of the Royal Navy, whom we would wish to recognise, and respect.”