Washington, DC (BWA)--The recent Baptist World Alliance (BWA) General Council meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in July, passed a resolution on Just Peacemaking, endorsing the "ten practices of just peacemaking" developed by scholars led by Baptist Professor Glen Stassen. Among the provisions is the reduction of offensive weapons and trade in such weapons.
This timely statement was approved on the eve of the 66th anniversary of the United States of America dropping an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Three days after the assault on Hiroshima, the USA dropped another bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. Within the first months of the bombings, an estimated 150,000 to 246,000 were dead. The record of the annihilation of human life resulting from these attacks will forever be remembered.
Following these attacks, the BWA spoke swiftly, advocating for peace. At the first Baptist World Congress to be held after the end of World War II in 1947 in Copenhagen, Denmark, delegates resolved for "Baptists in every land [to] join with their fellow-Christians in the prayer that peace, both just and abiding, may come soon to the hearts of all mankind."
In 1983, 36 years after this congress, the BWA General Council, which met in the midst of the Cold War, stated, "The presence of nuclear weapons is a direct affront to our Christian beliefs and commitment. We find no justification in Scripture for the use of such weapons which would unleash uncontrolled devastation on the human community. Our positive commitment is to Shalom. We are devoted to peace with justice."
The General Council, which met in Los Angeles, California, USA, in 1985, commemorated the 40th anniversary of the end of World War II with a resolution on peace and disarmament. BWA General Council delegates called "upon the nuclear powers to enact immediately a verifiable moratorium on the manufacture of all nuclear weapons and to seek mutually the abolition by negotiation of all nuclear arms." This statement was issued just months before the devastating Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident in April 1986.
On March 11, 2011, the world was once again reminded of the tragedy of nuclear devastation during the earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear crisis that it triggered in Japan.
The BWA renews its call for consideration to be given to the problems related to the use of nuclear energy and the possible elimination of the same.