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Security, Sin and Nuclear Weapons: A Christian Plea for the New START Treaty

By David P. Gushee - Posted on 05 December 2010

"We build these weapons to secure our future but also know, as if in a nightmare we try our hardest to forget, that one miscalculation or one acquisition of nuclear weapons by a committed terrorist could unleash annihilation on millions. It is hard to think of a more profound symbol of human sinfulness."

I was reviewing my academic bio recently, and discovered that the very first article I ever published was called "Security, Sin, and Nuclear Weapons." The year was 1987.

Twenty-three years later, despite the collapse of the Soviet Union, security, sin and nuclear weapons remain concerns that are as relevant as ever.

The issue on the table is a nuclear arms reduction and verification treaty between the United States and Russia. The treaty, called New START, would reduce Russian and American deployed nuclear weapons to 1,550 and delivery vehicles to 700 each. This would be a 33 percent reduction in the existing arsenals, which is worth achieving and celebrating even as we know that countless cities and millions of precious human beings could be destroyed by the use of even part of the remaining arsenals. Still, these reductions would be a great step on the way to a safer world, as would the re-establishment of bilateral, intrusive verification measures for both sides, also part of the treaty.

This treaty has been signed, sealed and delivered by Russia and the U.S. and now sits on the floor of the United States Senate, which must muster 67 votes to approve it. The treaty has been the subject of more than 209 committee hearings, and was recommended for approval by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a bipartisan 14-4 vote in September. It is supported by, well, just about everyone who matters in the foreign policy establishment. It has unanimous support from the current uniformed military leadership, and bipartisan support from former lawmakers and top security officials from the last seven presidential administrations, including old hawks like Henry Kissinger and George Shultz and Sam Nunn.

Read the rest of this article at the Huffington Post

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