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German bishop pledges ecumenical push for prohibition of nuclear weapons

German bishop pledges ecumenical push for prohibition of nuclear weapons

Bishop Bedford-Strohm at the Hiroshima Day rally. © Johannes Minkus/WCC

06 August 2015

Bishop Dr Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, chair of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) and a member of the church leaders’ pilgrimage to Japan on the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings, pressed the case for the Humanitarian Pledge against nuclear weapons at the Hiroshima Day rally on 6 August 2015.

The pilgrimage is sponsored by the World Council of Churches (WCC), the bishop explained, and has “sent church leaders here from seven countries that do not yet agree to fill the legal gap around nuclear weapons.” After the pilgrimage, states that profess support for nuclear disarmament but have not disavowed use of nuclear weapons will be pressed by the delegates to sign the pledge and to work for prohibition and elimination of the deadly weapons.

Speaking to religious organizations, civil society organizations, and representatives of governments, Bishop Bedford-Strohm stressed also, “We must live in ways that protect life instead of putting it at risk.  We must not use the energy of the atom in ways that threaten and destroy life.  To do so is a sinful misuse of God’s creation.  We must refuse to accept that the mass destruction of other peoples can be a legitimate form of protection for ourselves.”

Media contact WCC: Marianne Ejdersten: mej[at]wcc-coe.org, +41.79.507.6363

Media contact WCC: Jonathan Frerichs: jcf[at]wcc-coe.org, +81.90.15.12.75.29

Read full speech by Bishop Bedford-Strohm: "Something New after 70 Years: A Way Forward Together"

High resolution photos from the pilgrimage to Hiroshima are now available at photos.oikoumene.org.

Mary Ann Swenson: It is time to abandon all support for retaining nuclear weapons (WCC press release of 5 August)

Read the Humanitarian Pledge and see the 113 nations that have signed it

Prayers for Peace and Justice on Hiroshima Day