New England Methodist Conference Calls for Disarmament

The New England Conference of the United Methodist Church approved a nuclear disarmament resolution at its June 2015 conference.  The resolution condemns the U.S. nuclear weapons modernization program and calls for the U.S. to take its weapons off hair-trigger alert and renounce first use of nuclear weapons.  It was proposed by Rev. Leigh Goodrich, minister of the Lexington United Methodist Church and member of the New England Board of Church and Society.   The text of the resolution follows:


Resolution RS-15-302

An Action to Enforce the Nonproliferation Treaty

(Submitted by Leigh Goodrich, The New England Board of Church and Society, NEMFSA) 

As a people who affirm the world as God’s own handiwork, and understand ourselves as the stewards of the beauty and wonder of the planet; who understand our unity with all created order, we offer the following resolution:

WHEREAS decades after the fall of the Berlin wall, the United States still maintains thousands of active nuclear warheads with hundreds of missiles on hair trigger alert, as do Russia, India, Pakistan, France, Britain, Israel, North Korea, and China;

WHEREAS the intentional, or unintentional, launching of any of these weapons would kill tens of millions of civilians in their targeted cities, and risk tens of millions of US casualties from the response. Already the U.S. has lost 11 nuclear bombs that have never been recovered in accidental launchings (Fact Source: “50 Facts About U.S. Nuclear Weapons, Brookings Institute, 1998);

WHEREAS the United States has disregarded the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1969, calling for nuclear states (at that time, Russia, France, Britain and China) to initiate a full nuclear disarmament.  Instead the US is embarking on a modernization program to upgrade warheads and build new submarines, bombers and delivery systems, estimated to cost $1 trillion over the next 30 years, about $10,000 per household;

WHEREAS this excessive spending takes money away from public housing, education, transit, environmental and healthcare programs;

WHEREAS U.S and Russia possess 93% of the world’s 16,300 nuclear weapons. The others are held by China, France, the UK, Israel, Pakistan, India, North Korea (Fact Source: “Worldwide deployments of nuclear weapons, 2014, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, August 2014).

WHEREAS China and Russia are the #2 and #3 military spenders, but their combined military spending is less than half of the U.S. (Fact Source: “SIPRI Military Expenditure Database, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute);

WHEREAS the U.S. spends $1 on diplomacy for every $16 spent on military (Fact Source: “Fiscal Year 2015 Budget of the U.S. Government,” Office of Management and Budget, U.S. Government Printing Office, 2014);

WHEREAS the U.S. is the only nuclear-armed nation with nuclear weapons deployed on foreign soil (Fact Source: “Worldwide deployment of nuclear weapons, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, August 2014)

WHEREAS our United Methodist Social Principles (para. 165.c) state “that the production, possession, or use of nuclear weapons be condemned”  

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that each Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church calls upon President Obama to live up to the Nonproliferation Treaty binding commitment to engage in international negotiations for the elimination of all nuclear weapons, a commitment affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court; and

Be it further RESOLVED that each Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church condemns the new Nuclear Complex program, calls upon Congress to stop it and to devote the resulting $1 trillion in savings over 30 years to pressing human needs, including the environment, affordable housing, public transit, healthcare and education; and

Be it further RESOLVED that each Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church urges President Obama to take the U.S. nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert, and to adopt an unconditional No-First-Use policy, both of which he is empowered to do without congressional action, and to adopt a formal policy never to target any city for nuclear devastation; and

Be it further RESOLVED that copies of this Resolution, representing the combined membership of the United Methodist Church, be sent to our representatives in the U.S. Congress, our U.S. Senators, and the President of the United States; and

Be it further RESOLVED that the Conference Secretary will submit this resolution to General Conference 2016 by the deadline of October 13, 2015.