At 8:16 AM, over Hiroshima on August 6 and at 10:58 AM on August 9 over Nagasaki, in 1945, the course of human history changed forever with the dropping of 2 nuclear bombs during World War II. This violent ushering in of the nuclear age stunned humanity with is overwhelming destructive power. In a single horrible blast, whole cities could be wiped off the face of the earth, and subsequent radiation exposure continued to claim victims even 20-30 years later. Since then, nuclear armed countries have developed even more powerful and deadly nuclear weapons, which they all recognize could end life on Earth as we know it. We deceive ourselves into believing that the restraint of “mutually assured destruction” (MAD) can keep us safe, while at the same time we know that a single moment’s decision could unleash “hell on earth” in response to an actual or falsely perceived threat. On July 7, 2017, at the UN General Assembly, 122 states voted to adopt the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). Advocates of the ban argue that the nuclear-weapon states parties to the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) have been too slow in complying with their NPT Article VI commitment “to pursue good faith negotiations toward nuclear disarmament.” Although no nuclear-possessor state joined the TPNW negotiations, this treaty, which outlaws even the possession of such weapons, is an important step to delegitimizing these weapons. Hopefully, over time, nuclear weapons-armed states will agree to getting rid of all such weapons. True and lasting peace must be built on a foundation of respect for human rights, international cooperation for the sake of the common good, and cross-cultural relationship building.
Holy One, rid us of our fear of differences which too often leads to hatred and violence. Turn our hearts from trusting in weapons of war, especially nuclear weapons, rather than in the power of your love. Open our hearts to hear the dreams, desires and hopes of people from all cultures, nations, religions and races and to realize that our common humanity is what unites us.