REFLECT

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Our faith calls us, and empowers us, to refuse to be held hostage by forces of violence, destruction, and despair.

Pax Christi International

CALL TO REFLECTION

 

We are an interfaith and intercultural community of advocates working to create a world free of nuclear weapons. What grounds us and holds us in that work is that in our hearts -- and in the heart of our cultures, communities and faith traditions -- we find a deep strength that sustains us and calls us to take action to protect all life and our shared planet from imminent destruction. 

By taking time for Reflection, each of us can find that wellspring – the inner foundation for sustainable outer action. In that spirit, we invite you to share your unique voice by responding to the following question:

“What is it in your ethical evolution or faith journey that is at the core of your opposition to nuclear weapons?” (up to 100 words)

We’ll share your Reflection submission online through our website and our social media platforms along with the voices of others from around the world. Your voice can help others find their own – and together they will become part of a growing global chorus calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons. 

In your Reflection submission, please include your full name, city and country so we know where you are in the world. If you prefer to be anonymous, just let us know in your response and we’ll honor your request. If you’d like to submit a small photo of yourself (optional) we’ll include it with your Reflection.

You can submit your Call to Reflection statement by clicking HERE or by emailing it (with an optional photo) to: contact@voices-uri.org

Here are some reflection statements sent to us from all over the world...

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Audrey Kitagawa
NYC & Hawaii, USA

As we travel on our respective paths from birth to death we are always learning from the multitude of challenges that we face. One of the gravest challenge that we face is our having created and unleashed on an unsuspecting population  more than 76 years  ago,  nuclear weapons that annihilated  life  in the blazing flashes of mushrooming  radioactive death and suffering. Now, more than nine countries have that capability,  with other countries striving to join this  Nuclear Club of Death. Our wisdom traditions  teach us that we must respect and honor life as Sacred, and care for all life forms though the development of our hearts of love, compassion, and kindness. Placing our focus on life affirming thoughts, speech and actions will help us individually and collectively, to transform the  existential challenges that we create out of ignorance and fear. May our collective  awakening to authentically love each other generate a global movement to abolish nuclear weapons so that no one will ever again experience such heinous death.

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Kathleen Burkinshaw
Charlotte, N. Carolina, USA

As a lay Buddhist practitioner, we believe in the importance of dignity of human life. Every human being regardless of who we are, we have the potential to live our life to the fullest, that is the right to live. Nuclear weapons which can eliminate the masses within an instance robs this value which we have. With only one button, not only we will not be able to enjoy our life at its full capacity but we may not be able to be with those we cherish the most.

Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq
Greenland

The production and the use of nuclear weapons does not honor the life itself and brings war to the mind and the people.


I come from a land - Greenland - which had never known the energy of war. 
Yes, people came here - from lands that know war - but my own people did and do not know this energy.

I pray that mankind will be much more aware within ourselves, that we can have the strength and capacity to move on in life without forgetting, always honoring, always remembering everyone. 

Everyone in the circle to which we all belong.
 

To grow up to the custodians of mother earth to protect all what is
within and upon her.

 

Hoho!
 

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William Swing
San Mateo, CA, USA

“At the core of my opposition" three biblical stories and one biblical word:

Story #1    The Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve.  One thing only is forbidden, i.e. nuclear weapons.

Story #2    There are Good Friday people building the final extermination bombs.  And there are the Easter people who live on the far side of Resurrection.

Story #3    David with a couple of flat stones slays the giant with all of his military armor.

Biblical word – “Blasphemy”  Nuclear weapons are the one human presumption that rises to the ultimate definition of mocking God.

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Vincent Leong
Selangor, Malaysia

As a lay Buddhist practitioner, we believe in the importance of dignity of human life. Every human being regardless of who we are, we have the potential to live our life to the fullest, that is the right to live. Nuclear weapons which can eliminate the masses within an instance robs this value which we have. With only one button, not only we will not be able to enjoy our life at its full capacity but we may not be able to be with those we cherish the most.

Haneen Khalid
New York City, NY, USA

For me, it is the question of how we are responsible for stewardship of ourselves, each other and life on this planet. Nuclear weapons stand in opposition of all those teachings in all faith traditions and indigenous cultures. I am trying to include some of this message in the social media posts I am crafting and so glad to hear yours too. Thank you for sharing. If there are more insights I would be interested to hear.

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Paul Chaffee
Santa Rosa, CA, USA

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.”
So said Jesus, a peace activist guided by an uncompromising love for all people, starting with the disenfranchised. The depth of his love, for me, matches what other spiritual and ethical paths most value and pursue. This shared grounding in love opens the door to caring for everyone, to opposing violence, and in particular today, to ending the possibility of nuclear violence. That goal is my guiding prayer.

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Mário Nicolini
Bratislava, Slovakia

For me, pondering nuclear force is not without dilemma.

As a Christian, I strive for justice and peace for all who share this Earth that God entrusted us.

 As a national security professional, I feel responsible for Slovakia’s security. In a world still intoxicated by weapons and parochial interest, the sole option is a nuclear-armed NATO.

 

Policy reflects the art of the possible. Weapons of ultimate destruction are fundamentally immoral. Can human brotherhood and indivisible security prevail? Can I do my part? 

Julie Schelling
Philadelphia, PA, USA

My daily aim is to treat all lives with the qualities of loving-kindness and compassion. In the way I treasure my life, I strive to treat all lives in the same way. Life is a sacred gift, and each person on the planet has an equal right to preserve it. The existence of nuclear weapons takes away that right. These weapons threaten our planet and all of life. They represent the darkest side of humankind. I believe we have the capacity and choice to live in the light of love, which by doing so, any challenge can be overcome.”

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Peter Rickwood
Vienna, Austria

A two trillion dollar makeover for the privilege of being incinerated more effectively.

That amount, an estimate of the tax bill to modernize US weapons over the next 30 years, has raised barely an eyebrow.

 

Nuclear weapons, their makers and deployers, in their nine possessor states, freed from any demand for accountability, wallow in the shadows.

 

How much their development benefits private wealth, like everything else about them, is unfathomable.

 

The national security state of which they are a cornerstone, demands servitude to secrecy.

 

Without a conversation questioning their cost and need, apathy and indifference leave their true owners powerless.

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Carolyn MacKenzie
USA

A nuclear weapon indiscriminately kills all life – that is what a nuclear weapon does – what a monster. No one should have that power and at my core, I knew this was wrong. People argue that it is a deterrence, but my heart says it is an abomination.  Albert Einstein’s words have always spoken the truth to me when he said, “Peace cannot be kept by force, it can only be achieved by understanding.” If I have a purpose on this earth, it is to use my God-given talents to stop these weapons from ever being used again.  

Ahmet Tas
Dallas, TX, USA

As a Muslim, I know very well that Allah calls us "do not kill" in all religions.  On the other hand, Our Prophet Hz. Muhammad (PBUH) says "whoever kills a person will be like killing all humanity". However, Nuclear Weapons destroy not only a person but a society, not only the present but also the future. And yet, trying to take the life of a society when we do not even have the right to hurt a person is against all human and moral feelings.

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Issac S. Thomas
Kerala, India

Jesus declared “I am the bread of life” and similarly every religion ultimately stands for life. We have been challenging the almighty and creation itself for the past 75 years, through harnessing the destructive power of atoms. Nuclear Weapons are deeply immoral and an existential threat to all of us. The present stockpile of these warheads can completely destroy our mother Earth. As a young voice, this realization has kept me steadfast in my journey to educate and advocate for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons. I believe my work empowers and inspires others to wake up to the urgency of this moment and act to save our present and future from imminent devastation. If not now, then when?

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Charles Barker, M.D.
 

I believe with all my heart, mind, and soul in the reality and presence of the Holy Spirit here and now.  Christian scripture in John's gospel narrative attributes to Jesus the saying that he must leave this world so that the Father could send the Holy Spirit which will lead and guide us into ALL truth.  With this indwelling Spirit with my spirit I have come to believe that only with love and compassion, forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration can there be true peace and healing on earth.  Nuclear weapons are contrary to that belief.

Vicki Garlock
Ashville, N. Carolina, USA

As someone who lives an interfaith life, I can find nothing – in any faith tradition – to support manufacturing, maintaining, or detonating nuclear weapons. Faith traditions, at their best, make us better humans. They impart deep wisdom from our ancestors. They provide ways of articulating the Sacred. And they offer rituals to help us connect with the deepest parts of ourselves, the divine spark in others, and the beautiful sophistication of Creation. Everything about nuclear weapons runs counter to the teachings of these faith traditions and to the peaceful, harmonious world that is our only true hope for the future. 

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Jonathan Granoff
USA

Just like everyone else, I came here bringing and responding to love. And I too became identified with nation, race, gender, and religion. I forgot we are part of one human family and every person is precious. Yet, in the stillness of the heart a light remembers and longs for that love that brought us all here. It remembers a love without borders. Intelligence coupled with fear and forgetfulness has caused us to create devices of incomprehensible power to inflict indescribable horrific suffering in the pursuit of an absolute security that is only found in that borderless love. Nuclear weapons represent a denial of the wisdom arising from that love. Working to eliminate this irrational risk is its affirmation.  

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Paul Andrews, Alameda, CA, USA

"And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.”

Nuclear weapons – in their very presence as a threat, let alone their use – are a direct and violent assault on Creation itself. They are not weapons of war – they are instruments of planetary suicide.

Anna Ikeda
New York City, NY, USA

From our Buddhist perspective, we view nuclear weapons as an absolute evil -- they are the complete opposite of our core belief, which is the sanctity of all life. Simultaneously, our Buddhist philosophy perceives nuclear weapons as a manifestation of the bleakest aspect of life’s inner workings. Personally, it has helped me to remember that darkness that manifests as nuclear weapons and war also are inside my life, and therefore, while I fight against them externally, I must continue to engage in my inner work. It is through our own inner transformation that we can bring an end to nuclear weapons.  

Rosemarie Pace
Middle Village, NY, USA

I was raised a Catholic, a faith that teaches: Love God with your whole being, love your neighbor as yourself, and love your enemy. How? By following the example of Jesus who taught acceptance and mercy, healing the sick and disabled; showing compassion to the poor, widows, orphans, and outcasts; and enduring unjustified arrest, torture, and execution with forgiveness. How can anyone condone nuclear weapons, the most deadly of weapons and a total waste of human resources, while professing to be a person of such faith? Nuclear weapons are a desecration of everything that is humane or Godly.

Marilyn Turkovich
USA

In keeping with creating a sustainable future, the Charter for Compassion currently has several initiatives we are working on to fulfill our responsibility to future generations. For us, one of the most significant is Voices for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons. While we are at the precipice of undoing the crises that rest at our threshold due to human greed and neglect, we have a tremendous opportunity to change our future story to denote a world that is just, equitable and responsible. We don’t have a choice if we are to survive and compassionate action is what we need desperately at this moment.

Meji Singh
Dublin, CA, USA

Prevention of nuclear war: Baba Nanak, the Sikh, began his poetry by Ek Onkar. Meaning there is one Creator who manifests It Self in Its Creation (Cosmic Self). Destroying or hurting any part of it is to destroy a part of us. Our Individual Self (Haumain – I am) is motivated by five impulses sex, anger, greed, attachment and pride. Relentless pursuit of these impulses without the guidance of Cosmic Self creates the sense of the other, conflict and war. If guided by Cosmic Self then these impulses sublimate into Sex-love, Anger-compassion, Greed-contentment, attachment to Haumain-detachment from it, Pride-humility. To prevent nuclear holocaust each one of us has to be guided by our Cosmic Self – loving devotion to our Creator serving and preserving Its Creation.

Thomas Graham Jr.
McLean, Virginia, USA

My decision to become involved in the effort to stop the arms race and limit and ultimately eliminate nuclear weapons was essentially serendipitous. I had left the Democratic Party after the 1968 Convention over the issue of the Vietnam War and taken a job in the Nixon Campaign. After the campaign I joined the Office of the General Counsel of the Air Force working on the establishment and improvement of early warning systems in northern Canada. I heard about a small agency associated with the State Department that specialized in negotiating nuclear arms control agreements with the Soviet Union among other disarmament policies. They were looking for a lawyer with experience on the Hill which criteria I met. It sounded interesting and I applied for the job, it was determined that I had the necessary political support and I joined the Office of the General Counsel as Assistant General Counsel of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency in September, 1970. The rest is history.

Continued...
 

I have told my students over the years that once, maybe twice, in your life you will be offered by God/the moral force in the world/serendipity the right job/calling/ place where you can do best for the world. It may be different than you ever imagined but don’t pass it up. That is what this was for me. Increasingly I came to understand how dangerous these weapons were, how the world had nearly destroyed itself during the Cuban Missile Crisis and how these weapons must be controlled, limited and when politically possible eliminated. There were many crises to come, ironically a number of them caused by failures in early warning systems. Twenty-seven years I spent at ACDA and 23 years after retiring from ACDA I am still working on these issues, along with others like climate change and the preservation of American democracy. So neither faith nor morality brought me into this work, it just happened. The morality and faith came later.

Michael Reid Trice
Seattle, WA, USA

I am rooted in a Lutheran Christian tradition, which witnesses the world around us through transcendent generosity and grace. Divine generosity, like roots, is sinewed in every aspect of the world.  Such sinewing means that our individual and collective lives are intended to become saturated in generosity in the experience of life throughout the world.  Nuclear weapons are weapons of mass destruction, and they are contrary to every intent for a generous, integrated life.  These devices are deathly because the fear and dread associated with their existential threat is massive and comprehensive.  But here is the good news: these weapons are absolutely unnecessary and inessential.  As a human community, we are capable of eradicating them.  And we will have to do so, if we aspire to a shared and healthy future for the generations to come.

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Change at the level of the individual is more and more recognized as essential to change in huge world systems.

Scilla Elworthy

Michael Lerner

Berkeley, CA, USA

Ever since as a teenager I began to take seriously the teachings and admonitions of the Hebrew Bible’s prophets, I've prayed daily for the elimination of all weapons (or as Isaiah put it, to melt our swords into ploughshares). But when studying philosophy in England in 1962, during the "nuclear confrontation" with Russia, I realized that otherwise sane people in government like JFK could actually stumble into nuclear war, and that might end all human life (and perhaps all life on our planet). So I've come to see the development of nuclear weapons, and their proliferation, as one of the greatest sins whether done with aggressive intent or merely as intended for defensive use. No human being or group of human beings should have at their disposal technology capable of destroying God's earth. Every Yom Kippur at my synagogue Beyt Tikkun we ask God's forgiveness for not yet having been successful in banning all these weapons!  

Despina Namwembe
Kampala, Uganda

Nuclear weapons are manufactured for one major reason, massive destruction and prolonged human suffering.  They destroy anything whether human or non-human.   In my faith tradition and in my humanity for serving life, I know that we all deserve to live whether human or non-human.  As an African, I value the gift of inter-dependency and communal living because that is what I grew up seeing. When a life is lost somewhere in the world, it impacts my life psychologically. Therefore, the indiscriminate, massive and inhumane nature of destruction by nuclear weapons don’t harbor my values of sanctity to life and the interdependency of humans. 

Deborah Moldow
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

I would like to categorically state that there is no moral justification whatsoever for the use of nuclear weapons. There is no religion or faith tradition on planet Earth that condones the utter destruction of people, animals, plants and the Earth itself for any reason at all. Those of us who believe in the power of love to conquer all must stand in firm alignment for the complete abolition of nuclear weapons, as we strive to bring our hearts to ever greater levels of compassion, generosity and love. This is the only path to peace on Earth.