A Quaker Lobby in the Public Interest
Commentary by Religious Leaders in Arizona on Nuclear Nonproliferation
"McCain could help Obama reduce nuclear threat" East Valley Tribune (Phoenix), February 23, 2010 - 2:19PMMcCain could help Obama reduce nuclear threat
Minerva Carcano, Gerald F. Kicanas, Dr. John C. Dorhauer, Commentary
When President Barack Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Norway on Dec. 10, he recommitted our country to working to reduce the danger posed by nuclear weapons. In our view today, nuclear weapons threaten us more than they protect us.
While ideology around their deterrent value gets used to defend their existence, it is imperative for all to acknowledge that nuclear weapons - by their very existence and purpose - pose an imminent threat to the existence of all life.
Nuclear weapons are not just another tool in our nation's arsenal: Their frightful power and lingering radiation make them indiscriminate and disproportionate weapons that would endanger innocent civilians. As clergy leaders in Arizona, we hold that life is most precious and that we have an ethical imperative to speak out in support of the movement toward nuclear disarmament.
Now comes the hard part. The next steps in reducing this danger are: a strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Obama is expected to sign the arms treaty with Russia this year, and then both of those treaties will be sent to the Senate for ratification.
As religious leaders in Arizona, we are eager to join in this work, and we write now to encourage others to also join in these efforts.
The good news is that many leaders in the United States have in the past and are now warning of the nuclear danger and called for steps to reduce global stockpiles of these weapons. President Dwight Eisenhower was one of the first presidents to warn of the dangers of nuclear weapons. And as Arizona's senior senator, John McCain, has noted several times this year, President Ronald Reagan was a passionate advocate for a world free of nuclear weapons.
Other strong supporters of this goal include former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, former Secretary of Defense William Perry and former Sen. Sam Nunn, who joined together in 2007 to call for a global effort to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons, to prevent their spread to other countries and ultimately to establish a world free of nuclear weapons. Since that time, hundreds of other politicians from both major political parties have endorsed their effort.
As residents of Arizona, we take particular note that McCain has associated himself with the goal. In a speech on the Senate floor earlier this year, McCain said, "let us keep in mind the dream of a nuclear-free world enunciated so eloquently by our 40th president." We hope that McCain will ultimately decide to support Senate ratification both of the strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia and of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
While we are not experts on nuclear weapons, we join with other leaders in our faith communities in supporting Senate ratification of these treaties as important steps to reduce the nuclear danger. We hope Arizonans will join with us in urging our senators to support ratification of these important treaties.
Bishop Minerva G. Carcano of the Phoenix Area of The United Methodist Church
Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson
The Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, Conference Minister, Southwest Conference, United Church of Christ
See the story at eastvalleytribune.com.