Christians from all denominations from Catholics to Brethren and from Quakers to Anglicans have been among those lobbying against nuclear weapons for many years, based on the horrific destruction they can cause as well as the huge resources devoted to them in a world where many are starving.
Bans on chemical and biological weapons were agreed and successfully implemented some years ago, but until now the only international agreements on nuclear weapons have covered reduction and non-proliferation rather than elimination. The United Nations finally agreed to support a ban back in 2017, but to come into force it required the parliaments of a minimum of 50 member states to ratify it. The 50th ratification was in October 2020, and as a result the treaty became effective on Friday 22nd January. At noon that day, the bells of Coventry Cathedral were rung in celebration a celebration led by the Dean of Coventry. All states that have ratified are committed to abide by it, and mechanisms are included to enable states that have not yet ratified to agree a process and timetable for divesting from their nuclear arsenals in a controlled way.
In October 2020 the Church of England archbishops and many of our bishops joined Pope Francis and Christians leaders from other denominations in welcoming the United Nations Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, as have ordinary Christians across the world. Despite all the turbulence we see around the world just now, we still pray:
Give peace in our time O Lord
The Pope's 2021 Peace Sunday message, on Peace, Justice and Care for Creation, underlines the clear fact that the resources devoted by major powers to their nuclear arsenals could achieve a huge amount in overcoming poverty and hunger and improving the natural environment around the world. A summary of his key points can be downloaded below, and includes a link to the full message.