Published on The Parliament of the World’s Religions, November 29, 2018.
The following statement, developed by Jonathan Granoff of the Global Security Institute, with the supportive consultations of our esteemed Parliament presenters former Canadian Prime Minister Right Honorable Kim Campbell, General Romeo Dallaire, Senator Douglas Roche, Parliament Chairperson-Elect Audrey Kitagawa, Bishop William Swing, and Kehkashan Basu, has been adopted by the Parliament of the World’s Religions in November, 2018 for release worldwide:
Responding to the Unique Challenge of Nuclear Weapons
A Passionate Call From The Parliament of the World’s Religions
The destructive capacity of nuclear weapons is beyond imagination, poisoning the Earth forever. These horrific devices place before us every day the decision whether we will be the last human generation. The power to unleash this destruction is in the hands of a small number of people. No one should be holding such power over the very creation, which we regard as a sacred gift for all today and for future generations.
At present, there are over 14,000 of these devices, with hundreds on hair trigger alert. Nine nations* claim that they can responsibly pursue global security by daily making thousands of people ready to use these weapons on a moment’s notice, by relying on machines to determine whether a threat is actual or mistaken, by spending trillions of dollars in the weapons designs and deployments, by demonizing other peoples and nations, by spending vast sums to convince populations that the weapons make them safe and secure, by demonstrating a present readiness to use the weapons to deter others from acquiring them or others with them from using them first, and by threatening to use them as an exercise of aggressive political will.
This conduct is immoral, ignores the legal obligations contained in treaties and the unanimous ruling of the World Court to negotiate the elimination of nuclear weapons, and is practically unsustainable. It is claimed that the readiness to use nuclear weapons under the military doctrine of deterrence is justifiable. Such reasoning is unrealistic and flawed. The possession of nuclear weapons relies on the alleged infallibility of men and machines not to use the weapons by mistake, miscalculation, madness, or design. Such arrogance is foolish. The possession of nuclear weapons is immoral, illegal, and must be rectified by prompt action.
Scientific findings now demonstrate that if less than 1% of today’s arsenal were to be used, even in a first strike, the consequences would be millions of tons of soot in the stratosphere, which would lower the earth’s temperature, create dramatic ozone depletion, and render agriculture unable to sustain civilization. This would destroy the nation that used them first.
Such a posture is unworthy of civilization, insults the dignity of life, is an impediment to all ethical and moral norms of all the world’s religions. To ignore the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons by exalting nationalism as higher principle raises moral corrosion to unprecedented levels. The ongoing possession and threat to use nuclear weapons is a gross affront to a culture of peace and an impediment to obtaining realistic security based on protecting our planet home, eliminating poverty, and basing the conduct of nations on the rule of law.
For some nations to claim the weapons are good for them but not others violates the Golden Rule of Nations: Nations must treat other nations as they wish to be treated.
Jonathan Granoff is the President of the Global Security Institute, a representative to United Nations of the World Summits of Nobel Peace Laureates, a former Adjunct Professor of International Law at Widener University School of Law, and Senior Advisor to the Committee on National Security American Bar Association International Law Section.