Coalition Letter: Religious Leaders Oppose New Nuclear Weapons

April 27, 2004

April 28, 2004


Dear Senator:

We are concerned to learn that some Members of Congress and some officials in the Administration propose to develop new and so-called "useable" nuclear weapons. New nuclear weapons, they say, will slow the proliferation of nuclear weapons, but we believe it will have unintended, though predictable, consequences for accelerating proliferation and may increase the likelihood that nuclear weapons will be used again.

The Administration's budget request for FY 2005 includes $27.6 million for research on the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, or nuclear "bunker buster," and $9 million for the Advanced Concepts Initiative. We urge you to support amendments to cut the funding for the new nuclear weapons when the defense authorization bill reaches the Senate floor.

We share a common concern to uphold the sanctity of human life and the holiness of God's creation. We must work in concert to eliminate the nuclear threat to life. We call on you to act quickly and well to stop this rush toward the abyss of nuclear war fighting. We appeal to you to turn our country toward the light of a world governed by law, a world free from the threats of nuclear brinksmanship.

We pray that your deciding vote will be informed by a careful review of this departure from previous U.S. nonproliferation policy and your wisdom will be a guidepost for future generations of lawmakers here and abroad.



Brenda Girton-Mitchell, Associate General Secretary for Public Policy
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA

Maureen Shea, Director of Government Relations
Episcopal Church USA

Rev. Elenora Giddings Ivory, Director
Presbyterian Church (USA), Washington Office

James E. Winkler, General Secretary
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society

Karin Vagley, Director
Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Dwight Lundgren, Office of Reconciliation Ministries
American Baptist Churches USA

Maureen Fenlon, OP, National Coordinator
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

Rev. William G. Sinkford, President
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations

Marie Dennis, Director
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Rev. Ron Stief, Minister and Team Leader, Washington Office
United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries

Mary Lord, Director, Peace Building Unit
American Friends Service Committee

Rev. John L. McCullough, Executive Director
Church World Service

William Chris Hobgood,General Minister and President
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

David Robinson, National Coordinator
Pax Christi USA: National Catholic Peace Movement

Ibrahim Ramey, Director, Disarmament Program
Fellowship of Reconciliation

J. Daryl Byler, Director
Mennonite Central Committee U.S., Washington Office

Bruce Birchard, General Secretary
Friends General Conference (Quakers)

Joe Volk, Executive Secretary
Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers)

Ronald J. Sider, President
Evangelicals for Social Action

Jim Wallis, Executive Director

Rev. Barbara G. Green, Executive Director
Churches' Center for Theology and Public Policy

Rev. Jim Lowder, Executive Director
Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America

Howard W. Hallman, Chair
Methodists United for Peace with Justice

Rabia Harris, Coordinator
Muslim Peace Fellowship

Jackie Lynn, Ex. Director
Episcopal Peace Fellowship

Phil Jones, Director
Church of the Brethren Washington Office

Ted Keating, SM, Executive Director
Conference of Major Superiors of Men

Carole Shinnick SSND, Executive Director
Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Rev. Jerrye G. Champion, National Board President
Church Women United