Catholic Bishops, Evangelicals Call for Ratification of New Start Treaty

December 7, 2010 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON (December 7, 2010) — Representatives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) called for the ratification of the New START Treaty in a December 7 media conference call.

Both Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, and Leith Anderson, president of NAE, applied the moral teachings of their faith traditions to concerns related to the treaty, which was signed by President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on April 8.

“Nuclear war is rejected in Church teaching because nuclear weapons cannot insure noncombatant immunity and their awesome destructive power and lingering radiation cannot be meaningfully proportionate,” said Bishop Hubbard. He cited the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and Pope Benedict XVI’s 2006 World Day of Peace message, in which the pope said, “In a nuclear war there would be no victors, only victims.”

Anderson said, “In the long and tragic history of human warfare the nuclear weapon occupies a singular position due to the scope and scale of its terrible and indiscriminate power to destroy human life. Evangelicals strongly believe in the sanctity of life.”

Anderson cited the history of NAE in speaking out on the dangers of nuclear weapons and supporting nuclear arms reduction. He cited the broad military support for the New START Treaty and urged bipartisan cooperation for its ratification.

“Ratification of the New START Treaty will give the U.S. new rights to inspect Russian nuclear weapons facilities, reducing our military’s need for costly ‘worst case’ contingency planning—a concern which grows with each passing month that the treaty is not ratified,” Anderson said. “The treaty will reduce by 30 percent the number of Russian nuclear warheads which threaten our nation, while honoring our commitments under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.”

Bishop Hubbard noted, “Timely ratification of the New START Treaty is critical because verification ensures transparency and transparency builds trust. Trust is essential for reducing the threats of misunderstandings and accidents that could be catastrophic for human life if they led to a nuclear exchange. The earlier START Treaty verification and monitoring requirements expired one year ago. Without a new treaty there are no inspections or verification regimens in place, a disturbing and potentially dangerous situation our nation has not faced in decades.”

Bishop Hubbard cited the support of the former president of the USCCB, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, as well as the bishops’ new president, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, for ratification of the treaty. He also said the treaty has global importance.

“Strong and timely ratification of the new treaty will communicate our nation’s moral commitment to continue down a road that reduces the nuclear threat,” Bishop Hubbard said. “It will encourage other nations to adhere to their responsibilities under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The new treaty will make our nation and world safer by reducing nuclear weapons in a verifiable way. For the safety of our nation and world, we urge the Senate to take up the New START Treaty without delay.”
Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Howard Hubbard, Leith Anderson, National Association of Evangelicals, NAE