Nuclear weapons are 'an evil', says Church leader ahead of Hiroshima's 75th anniversary

Birds fly over the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima, western Japan.Reuters

The Moderator of the Church of Scotland General Assembly has added his name to a statement calling for a world free of nuclear weapons ahead of the 75th anniversary of the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima.

6 August will mark three-quarters of a century since the attack on the Japanese city, which instantly killed over a hundred thousand people and caused the death of countless others afterwards as a result of the long-term effects of radiation sickness.  Hiroshima was followed three days later by the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, killing tens of thousands more.

The statement, organised by the Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said the bombings had caused "suffering which many people continue to live with today".

It calls on the UK Government to "make every effort" to engage in "meaningful international disarmament", and cancel plans to replace Trident. 

"Shortly after the bombings the international community came together at the United Nations to say 'never again' and pledged to work for the elimination of nuclear weapons around the world," he said.

"Sadly, 75 years on, that goal has yet to be met, and many nuclear-armed states, including the United Kingdom, are currently pursuing upgrades to their nuclear arsenals, spending hundreds of billions of pounds in the process.

"As Christians we reject nuclear weapons. We believe that their capacity to indiscriminately kill millions of our brothers and sisters, and to catastrophically destroy God's creation, makes them contrary to the teaching of Jesus Christ.

"Recent events have shown that the global community must work together to overcome the challenges facing us in the 21st century. We must speak out and call for action to ensure that the horrific events witnessed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki are never repeated." 

Kirk Moderator Dr Martin Fair is encouraging more church leaders to sign the statement. 

"This is a subject over which people will disagree, sometimes vehemently," he said. 

"But the General Assembly has been consistent in declaring nuclear weapons to be an evil and therefore the Church should have every confidence in continuing to campaign for their removal and eventual eradication.

"It is right that those who follow the Prince of Peace should themselves work for peace and this is no small part of that."