December 7th, 2010
04:51 PM ET

Evangelicals, Roman Catholic bishops urge New START ratification

By the CNN Wire Staff

Two key religious organizations in the United States called on Congress Tuesday to ratify the new nuclear arms reduction treaty signed by U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in April.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted for ratification of the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) in September, but a vote from the full Senate has not materialized.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Association of Evangelicals want to see the treaty ratified.

"In the long and tragic history of human warfare, the nuclear weapon occupies a singular position due to the scope and scale of its terrible and indiscriminate power to destroy human life," said Leith Anderson, president of the evangelical organization, during a conference call with reporters. "Evangelicals strongly believe in the sanctity of life."

"Strong and timely ratification of the new treaty will communicate our nation's moral commitment to continue down a road that reduces the nuclear threat," Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, chairman of the Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on International Justice and Peace, said. "It will encourage other nations to adhere to their responsibilities under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

"The new treaty will make our nation and world safer by reducing nuclear weapons in a verifiable way. For the safety of our nation and world, we urge the Senate to take up the New START treaty without delay."

Hubbard added that both the past president of the organization, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, and the current president, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, agree.

"Nuclear war is rejected in Church teaching because nuclear weapons cannot ensure noncombatant immunity and their awesome destructive power and lingering radiation cannot be meaningfully proportionate," he said, citing Pope Benedict XVI's 2006 World Day of Peace message, in which the pope said, "In a nuclear war, there would be no victors, only victims."

The START treaty would resume mutual inspections of U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, while limiting both nations to 1,550 warheads and 700 launchers each.

The bishops and the evangelicals join a growing list urging action on the treaty. Five big guns of Republican foreign policy - former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, James Baker, Lawrence Eagleburger and Colin Powell - urged their fellow Republicans, in a Washington Post editorial, to support the treaty which they say is "is clearly in our national interest."

The treaty needs 67 Senate votes for ratification, and Democrats and a handful of Republicans have been cautiously optimistic that the votes are there. But conservative Republicans have stalled, asking for more time and information before they commit to a vote.

"New START is a deeply flawed treaty that would have far reaching consequences for America's national security," Sen. Jim Thune, R-South Dakota, said last week. "Pushing this through the Senate during a lame-duck session with the hopes of using the Christmas holiday as a backstop is irresponsible. This treaty should not be jammed through because the president wants an accomplishment before the end of the year when nothing is lost by waiting until next month when the new Congress convenes."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Foreign policy • Politics

soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Mei Tam

    The START treaty should go through Congress now. The lame-duck session will not have an effect on the vote, even though it is true that right now the Senate is very solidly in Democratic hands. Waiting for the new session to convene is an irresponsible ploy by Republicans to ensure that START does not receive the super majority of the Senate that it needs to be ratified.

    December 9, 2010 at 9:54 pm |
  2. Iqbal khan

    Why they are Reverting (converting) to Islam:


    December 8, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
    • Reality

      "John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam." – J. Somerville

      The number of global Muslims indeed is ~1.5 billion basically because of the very high birth rate in Islam.
      According to official surveys, "the disapproval of family planning is highest among Muslims", while "the practice of family planning methods in 1980 was lowest amongst Muslims (only 23% of those surveyed practised it as opposed to 36% Hindus)".[1] They further admit that between 1971 and 1981, "the Hindu population was up by 24.15%, whereas the Muslim population shot up by 30.59%".

      Once the bowers to Mecca, however, see that they have been conned by the "angelic" hallucinations of a long-dead, warmongering, womanizing (11 wives) Arab, these 1.5 billion lost souls will quickly become secularists, agnostics or atheists and a semblance a global peace will spread across the globe.

      December 9, 2010 at 12:13 am |
  3. Iqbal khan

    Read Quran .....www.Quranexplorer.com

    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

    Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most High, (1) Who has created (everything), and then proportioned it; (2) And Who has measured (preordainments for everything even to be blessed or wretched); and then guided (i.e. showed mankind the right as well as wrong paths, and guided the animals to pasture); (3) And Who brings out the pasturage, (4) And then makes it dark stubble (5) We shall make you to recite (the Qur'ân), so you (O Muhammad (SAW)) shall not forget (it), (6) Except what Allâh, may will, He knows what is apparent and what is hidden. (7) And We shall make easy for you (O Muhammad (SAW)) the easy way (i.e. the doing of righteous deeds). (8) Therefore remind (men) in case the reminder profits (them) (9) The reminder will be received by him who fears (Allâh), (10) But it will be avoided by the wretched, (11) Who will enter the great Fire (and will be made to taste its burning). (12) There he will neither die (to be in rest) nor live (a good living). (13) Indeed whosoever purifies himself (by avoiding polytheism and accepting Islâmic Monotheism) shall achieve success, (14) And remembers (glorifies) the Name of his Lord (worships none but Allâh), and prays (five compulsory prayers and Nawâfil — additional prayers). (15) Nay, you prefer the life of this world, (16) Although the Hereafter is better and more lasting. (17) Verily, this is in the former Scriptures — (18) The Scriptures of Ibrâhim (Abraham) and Mûsa (Moses). (19)

    December 8, 2010 at 1:52 pm |
  4. Bob

    Who cares what an organization who has no real insight into the matter at hand has to say? It's like Paris Hilton asking for START to be put in right away.

    December 8, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
  5. Frogist

    It seems from both Romney and Lugar's comments that the New START basically comprises the same as the old START with few changes that are in our favor without being overtly anti-Russian. Romney's fears apparently were already countered by Congressional hearings about exactly his concerns. And since it has the approval of our NATO allies, I don't see what the hold up is. The only concern seems to be a time one where the old treaty is about to expire meaning Russia will have no one from the US to oversee their arms cache. I hate to ask... but one wonders if this is another partisan wall the repubs have decided to put up. Thune's comment about the President pushing this thru just for an achievement before the end of the year certainly makes it seem that way. I've only read a few articles on it. But considering the approval START has garnered from both sides and internationally... I wonder why the hold up Repubs?
    BTW What's up with the religious leaders taking on this topic? One the one hand I'm glad they are supporting something that seems reasonable and helpful to our country. On the other hand, another effort to throw their weight around politically... I'm of two minds on this.

    December 8, 2010 at 10:37 am |
    • civilioutside

      Pretty sure the Repubs are holding it up purely for the sake of denying Obama an accomplishment. And that's the most benevolent reason I can think of.

      December 8, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
    • Sumerian Dude

      Hey girl! H.A.H. to you! (Happy Agnostic Holidays!)

      The GOP is still the party of NO. The religulous are just bribing our Congressmen. I'd be more worried about what they are buying without a press release. 😛

      December 8, 2010 at 1:41 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Sumerian Dude: HAH to you too! LOL! The whole world is ef-fed up... I think for this holiday season I'm gonna hide out with some cookies and nog and hope Santa comes to take all the BS away.

      December 9, 2010 at 11:07 am |
  6. Reality

    Keep in mind that Russia has returned to the Christian fold so why do two Christian countries need to have hydrogen bombs pointed at each other? Hmmm, maybe said bombs are actually pointed at China, Pakistan, North Korea, India and Iran?

    December 7, 2010 at 11:26 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Sharing tribal myths does not protect one country from another. Just look at Germany vs. many christian neighbors, and Iran vs. Iraq.

      December 8, 2010 at 12:20 am |
    • salmos8318

      Jesus and his followers (note: true followers) are to be no part of this world... something he and other biblical writers pointed out more than once. For too often religious leaders get involved with political affairs and even encourage their members to protests and other forms of political activism. That is one reason why many "good hearted" people shy away from religion altogether or are outright against it. What can be more worldly than the political system of which Satan the Devil "who has blinded the minds of unbelievers" is a ruler of? However this is not a surprize as it fulfills biblical prophecy... the great harlot that is fornicating with the kings of the earth.

      Those who claim to be Christian strive to follow the model he gave (one of total non-violence) and his teachings which incude love for neighbor and, more importantly, help other to put their hope – not in man's various pitiful efforts to rule themselves, all which have fallen way too short (since man was not created to rule man) – but rather in God's Kingdom... the only true panacea to ANY and ALL of today's worldwide problems.

      December 8, 2010 at 10:27 am |
    • Reality

      "The Golden Rule has a long history, and a great number of prominent religious figures and philosophers have restated its reciprocal, bilateral nature in various ways (not limited to the above forms).[2] As a concept, the Golden Rule has a history that long predates the term "Golden Rule" (or "Golden law", as it was called from the 1670s).[2][6] The ethic of reciprocity was present in certain forms in the philosophies of ancient Babylon, Egypt, Persia, India, Greece, Judea, and China.

      Examples of statements that mirror the Golden Rule appear in Ancient Egypt, for example in the story of The Eloquent Peasant which is dated to the Middle Kingdom (c. 2040–1650 BCE): "Now this is the command: Do to the doer to cause that he do."[7] Rushworth Kidder states that "the label 'golden' was applied by Confucius (551–479 B.C.), who wrote, 'Here certainly is the golden maxim: Do not do to others that which we do not want them to do to us.'" Kidder notes that this framework appears prominently in many religions, including "Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, and the rest of the world's major religions".[8]

      December 8, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
    • David Johnson


      Lots of talk. No evidence that your god even exists.

      I can talk all day about the fairies living in my left shoe. Doesn't mean they are real.


      December 8, 2010 at 9:01 pm |
    • salmos8318

      I was quoting Jesus' statements (and those of his followers)... the Son of God (not God the Creator). But with regards to the Creator... no evidence? Look around you... everywhere.... in the mirror. His invisible qualities are perceived from the things created... especially us humans. Isn't it amazing that our minds are so overdeveloped for our short-lived life on earth (as in, our brains "a mystery" can hold so much more information than it can ever gather in a 80-100 year lifespan? How do you explain human's unique qualities of love, justice, etc.?

      December 9, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  7. David Johnson

    The article said:
    "Two key religious organizations in the United States called on Congress Tuesday to ratify the new nuclear arms reduction treaty signed by U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in April."

    I want other people to look at the treaty. Obama caves at first push. No telling what part of U.S. he gave up to get the agreement. A hard negotiator this fellow is not.

    December 7, 2010 at 10:28 pm |
    • Frogist

      @DJ: Other people have looked at the treaty including former Republican officials and have supported it as equal to or better than the previous START.

      December 8, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
  8. CatholicMom

    What are these ‘flaws’ that would have far reaching consequences to our national security that Sen. Jim Thune, is referring to?

    December 7, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
    • Let Us Prey

      @ CM

      The political seesaw over New START has been going on for a while now. Here's one Republican mouthpiece:

      ... and the Heritage Foundation has a fairly detailed opinion here:

      I guess how much you believe the Republican counter-position on New START is directly related to your degree of paranoia over 'the bomb,' but I would tend to be suspi-cious about Kissenger's involvement (NWO anybody?). The bottom line is that, even if ratified, the reductions will only have a marginal impact on the number of bombs remaining – there will certainly be enough left to end the world regardless of the political 'lip service' of reduction treaties.

      December 7, 2010 at 7:37 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Let US Prey

      Yes, you are right. The U.S. and Russia are more than capable of destroying the world several times over. A nuclear war would definitely ruin our weekends.

      I think any treaty to reduce weapons is good, but to think it makes us safe is false security.

      The reason we have been "safe" so far, is due to "mutually Assured Destruction" No matter who starts it, both sides are assured of being devastated. Maybe to the point of no life left for Jesus to retrieve. Can you say Nuclear Winter?

      Any rate, you gave a good comment.


      December 7, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
    • civiloutside

      Isn't it the case, though, that the old START Treaty is set to expire? While New START may not reduce destructive capability meaningfully, it does establish that a treaty and controls are still in place, that we and the Russians can still have a bit of comfort level that a missile stockpile race isn't about to get kicked off once again.

      December 7, 2010 at 11:06 pm |
    • David Johnson


      You could well be right. I admit I've been more concerned with the tax and unemployment issues. Thank you for pointing this out.


      December 8, 2010 at 7:24 am |
    • Frogist

      @civiloutside: Yes, that in fact is true. And the point which Romney and his Repubs fail to recognize. Without ratification we don't even have the previous assurances. It's basically a free for all.
      In addition to Lugar's editorial, Slate has a rebuttal of Romney's statement:

      December 8, 2010 at 11:45 am |
    • Sumerian Dude

      I'd say a major flaw would be allowing any religious organizations to be involved. Don't they have better things to do?

      And Happy Holidays, btw. 😛

      December 8, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Sumerian Dude,

      What better thing to do than be concerned for the world?

      December 8, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.