Last month, Bud Ryan and Ellie Voutselas of Pax Christi New Mexico put together a Pray-Study-Act e-bulletin (PSA) to help Pax Christi USA members and friends commemorate the anniversary of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Below is the introduction to that PSA and a link to the full e-bulletin.
If we just had two of Christ’s statements – “Put down your sword,” and “Blessed are the Peacemakers,” we should know that as Christians we should be opposed to nuclear weapons. The bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, August 6 and 9, 1945, were a complete game-changer–for the first time people had the capacity to destroy whole cities, and a global paranoia began to spread about the bomb.
As we all know, those first atomic bombs were nothing compared to the hydrogen bombs that we have today as the first hydrogen bomb that the U.S. tested on November 1, 1952 was 450 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Nagasaki some seven years before. To quote General Omar Bradley, “The world has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than living.”
Today we live in a world where nine countries hold the world hostage to their nuclear terrorism. These nine countries possess 19,000 nuclear warheads with some 4,400 of those to be operational. Despite the end of the Cold War, the United States and Russia still have nuclear weapons pointed at one another and on high alert. To quote former Secretary of State George Shultz, “It’s a very unstable situation. I think it’s outrageous.”
Now many will say that nuclear weapons have not been used in war since August 9, 1945–so why should we be worried? Even without the use of these genocidal weapons, their shadow looms across the world, because if we remember it was President Bush who was able to take our country into war against Iraq by saying, “Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof, the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.”
“The taproot of violence in our society today is our intent to use nuclear weapons. Once we have agreed to that, all other evil is minor in comparison. Until we squarely face the question of our consent to use nuclear weapons, any hope of large scale improvement of public morality is doomed to failure.” – Richard T. McSorley, SJ