WASHINGTON – The heads of four leading science and faith organizations called on President Obama, who will likely visit Hiroshima, Japan, later this month for the G7 summit, to announce specific steps the United States will take to reduce the real and urgent risks posed by nuclear weapons and prevent a new global nuclear arms race.

“Since Saint Pope John XXIII issued Pacem in Terris in 1963, the Catholic Church has called for a world free of nuclear weapons. Faith and reason, religion and science, agree on this issue,” said Bishop Oscar Cantú, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace. “Nuclear weapons pose a moral challenge and represent an existential threat that requires action now.”

A statement released May 4, by Bishop Cantú; Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists; Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; and Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition calls on President Obama to:

  •  Scale back the U.S. plan to build a new generation of nuclear weapons, including canceling the new “destabilizing and unneeded” nuclear-armed cruise missile;
  •  Reduce the U.S. deployed strategic arsenal by a third, a level the Pentagon agrees is adequate to maintain security; and
  •  Remove U.S. land-based nuclear missiles from hair-trigger alert, which would reduce the risk of an accidental, mistaken or unauthorized launch.

The groups met with U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice in November 2015 to express concern that the risk of nuclear weapons use may be on the rise, and to urge the administration to take concrete steps to reduce that risk.

The full text of the joint statement is available at www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/war-and-peace/nuclear-weapons/statement-by-faith-leaders-on-reducing-nuclear-threat-2016-05-04.cfm.