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Seeking a just and peaceful world

ICAN Report 2019 – A Uniting Church in Australia perspective

By Rob Floyd, Associate General Secretary, Uniting Church in Australia Assembly

The Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) has a long commitment to working for a world free from nuclear weapons.

As a proud member of ICAN, we have continued to call upon our political leaders to work towards a ban on nuclear weapons.

The UCA believes that God in Jesus came to make peace. As Christians, we are called by God to love our neighbours and to work for an end to violence and fear in our world.[1]

The destructive power of nuclear weapons threatens all life on this planet.

We believe that reliance upon nuclear weapons to attain peace and security is entirely contrary to God’s creative will for the world.[2]

In our recent statement Our Vision for a Just Australia [3], we called on the Australian Government to sign the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Treaty as part of Australia’s contribution to a just and peaceful world.

It is the first Treaty to comprehensively outlaw nuclear weapons and sets out a pathway for their total elimination.

We maintain that reliance on weapons for peace and security can never achieve a just and lasting peace.

As noted in our 2003 statement Uniting for Peace, “security achieved through armament is sustained by fear of the enemy and can never see the world reconciled.” [4]

Australia cannot claim any distinction between the intended use or the actual use of nuclear weapons. Further, we reject any distinction between possession of such weapons ourselves for security and their possession by others for our security [5]

We do not support the notion of nuclear deterrence, that nuclear weapons keep the peace because no nation would risk a retaliatory attack from a nuclear-armed nation.

Nuclear weapons are intrinsically unstable, and represent a willingness to indiscriminately kill millions of civilians. [6]

In a letter to then Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in 2015, the Uniting Church Assembly highlighted the urgency of a ban on nuclear weapons.

“To ensure that nuclear weapons are never used again, they must be eliminated. To eliminate them, they must be banned.” [7]

Our former President Rev Gregor Henderson said in 2008, “nuclear weapons are an obscenity and an expression of the brokenness in our world. They breed relationships of distrust, difference and fear.”

Rather, we seek to build a world transformed by hope, peace and justice where the sacredness of all life is protected.

We continue to pray that those who seek security in nuclear weapons may discover that genuine security can only be achieved through non-violent means.


[1] Uniting for Peace, UCA Assembly Resolution, July 2003, https://unitingjustice.org.au/uniting-for-peace/uca-statements/item/497-uniting-for-peace

[2] Inquiry into Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, submission to Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, January, 2009, https://unitingjustice.org.au/uniting-for-peace/submissions/item/742-inquiry-into-nuclear-non-proliferation-and-disarmament

[3] Our Vision for a Just Australia, UnitingJustice resource, https://uniting.church/visionstatement2019/

[4] Uniting for Peace, UCA Assembly Resolution, July 2003, https://unitingjustice.org.au/uniting-for-peace/uca-statements/item/497-uniting-for-peace

[5] Nuclear Deterrence, Disarmament and Peace, UCA Assembly Statement, September 1988, https://unitingjustice.org.au/uniting-for-peace/uca-statements/item/499-nuclear-deterrence-disarmament-and-peace

[6] Inquiry into Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, submission to Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, January, 2009, https://unitingjustice.org.au/uniting-for-peace/submissions/item/742-inquiry-into-nuclear-non-proliferation-and-disarmament

[7] Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, letter to Julie Bishop, April 2015, https://unitingjustice.org.au/uniting-for-peace/news/item/1008-nuclear-non-proliferation-treaty-review-conference

[8] Inquiry into Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, submission to Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, January, 2009, https://unitingjustice.org.au/uniting-for-peace/submissions/item/742-inquiry-into-nuclear-non-proliferation-and-disarmament