In 1986, after nearly two years of prayerful study, the United Methodist bishops adopted a pastoral letter, entitled In Defense of Creation: The Nuclear Crisis and a Just Peace. The bishops' statement was deeply rooted in biblical faith. They wrote:
"At the heart of the Old Testament is the testimony to shalom, that marvelous Hebrew word that means peace. But peace that is shalom is not negative or one-dimensional. It is much more than the absence of war. Shalom is positive peace: harmony, wholeness, health, and well-being in all human relationships. It is the natural state of humanity as birthed by God. It is harmony between humanity and all of God's good creation. All creation is interrelated. Every creature, every element, every force of nature participates in the whole of creation. If any person is denied shalom, all are thereby diminished. . . . New Testament faith presupposes a radical break between the follies, or much so-called conventional wisdom about power and security, on the one hand, and the transcendent wisdom of shalom, on the other. Ultimately, New Testament faith is a message of hope about God's plan and purpose for human destiny. It is a redemptive vision that refuses to wallow in doom."
Based upon this faith, the bishops in their letter stated unequivocally that "we say a clear and unconditioned No to nuclear war and to any use of nuclear weapons. We conclude that nuclear deterrence is a position that cannot receive the church's blessing."
We, The United Methodist Church, in solidarity with the Pacific Conference of Churches, affirm our commitment to a nuclear-free Pacific. As Christian people committed to stewardship, justice, and peacemaking, we oppose and condemn the use of the Pacific for development, testing, storage, and transport of nuclear weapons and weapons-delivery systems and the disposal of radioactive wastes. We further affirm the right of all indigenous people to control their health and well-being.
Resolution #329, 2004 Book of Resolutions
Resolution #310, 2000 Book of Resolutions
See Social Principles, ¶ 165B and C.
From The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church - 2008. Copyright © 2008 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.