Missile silo of a SS-24 missile in Ukraine. The Ukrainians gave up their nuclear arsenal three decades ago. Michael, CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

For centuries Quakers have affirmed pacifism. Now that war is being fought in Europe for the first time in decades, Quakers in the tri-state area came together to call on our U.S. representatives and senators to eliminate the use of nuclear weapons by the president and to pursue disarmament through bilateral and multilateral agreements.

In the Nobel Laureate Dr. Ira Helfand’s recent speaking tour he delineates how the use of nuclear weapons is suicidal for all nations and must be avoided because of the effects on human health and climate in the aftermath of a nuclear war, even a regional one. Here is a link to his recent speech in Milwaukee at the Rotary Club 

A decision (known as a Minute) was approved as follows at the meeting of New York, New Jersey and Western Connecticut Quakers held last month:

Minute on Nuclear Weapons: Since our founding, the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) has believed that the Divine Spirit calls us to answer to that of God in every person. In seeking the Light within each, Friends experience the holy oneness of all humanity that defeats and disarms all justifications for warfare.

New York Yearly Meeting, the coordinating body of the Quakers in New York, western
Connecticut and northern New Jersey, re-affirms Friends’ conviction that the use of nuclear weapons in all circumstances would be inconsistent with the leading of the Divine.

We urge that Congress take action to assure that the President be prohibited from using nuclear weapons, and directed to pursue and support bilateral and multilateral talks with other nuclear-armed nations.

Diane Keefe is clerk of the Wilton Quaker Meeting Peace and Service Committee.