Prevent nuclear history from repeating itself

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Earlier this month, on August 6, we marked the 71st anniversary of the U.S. dropping the first nuclear bomb. That bomb, followed by a second one on August 9 over Nagasaki, killed nearly 200,000 people. That is exactly what these horrific weapons are designed to do — indiscriminately kill vast amounts of people.

Currently the U.S., Russia, China and six other countries have more than 15,000 nuclear weapons. Every single one of them is more powerful than those dropped on Japan. Nuclear weapons are one of the greatest threats to our safety today. As Catholics who follow the peaceful Jesus we must never condone the use or the stockpiling of such weapons of mass destruction.

Take these days to reflect on the past and pray for the people of Japan who continue to suffer from the fallout from these terrible events. Ask God for forgiveness for the role we are playing in the continued development of even more lethal and sophisticated weapons. Become active in the effort to ban nuclear weapons. Oppose our plans to modernize the U.S. stockpile to 2080 and beyond. This is a waste of nearly $1 trillion dollars, and a terrible signal that could launch another global arms race.

Work to Cancel the Long Range Stand Off missile (LRSO). This nuclear cruise missile is duplicative in our arsenal and is destabilizing the world. Contact your representatives to urge the president to issue a “no-first-use” policy for the U. S. In no scenario should our country be the one to start a nuclear war, period.

Let us gather together with people of many faiths to learn more about this clear and present danger. Join Pax Christi Rhode Island for an evening of education, discussion and reflection on Wednesday, Sept 21, 2016, International Peace Day, at 7 p.m. at the diocese’s McVinney Auditorium, 43 Dave Garitt Way, Providence. The program, entitled “A New Global Nuclear Arms Race: Risks, Prevention and Moral Imperatives,” will feature Lisbeth Gronlund, of the Union of Concerned Scientists and Stephen Colecchi, of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

More information on this program will be featured in R.I. Catholic in the coming weeks.