Faith Groups Vigil While Parliament Decides

Yesterday Parliament voted in favour of building four new nuclear-powered submarines to carry US Trident missiles, armed with modernized nuclear warheads, for the next half century, in other words to renew Trident.  While this debate proceeded hundreds, maybe thousands of people came to Parliament Square with a different message.

The CND rally went ahead with wise words and tumultuous applause, while on the Parliament side of the square the Christian, Buddhist and other faith groups were for much of the time the main presence.  Who can have a silent vigil amid the roaring traffic and among friends that one has not seen for a year or more?  Nevertheless we prayed, I know we did, and God was listening. We stood with our banners “No Faith in Trident” and placards proclaiming church statements on Trident and nuclear weapons, as a witness against the accepted narrative that was proceeding in Parliament.

We attracted some attention from tourists and commuters, and we  talked with some foreign and freelance media. (UK mainstream media seems only ever engaged by violence.)  We talked about how we knew we would “lose the vote” – we who had no vote!  Yet we know we have the power of logic and humanity.  History shows that truth and goodness and common sense have a way of winning out in the long term.

We know that most countries are on our side, having already decided against the false security of nuclear weapons. It is very likely that next year a ban treaty will be agreed in the UN, making nuclear weapons illegal, as has already been achieved with chemical, biological and other weapons such as antipersonnel mines and cluster bombs, that could never meet Just War criteria.  If you still feel despondent about this go to http://uk.icanw.org/.

Martin Birdseye

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