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Nuclear Disarmament
Pax Christi: New START needs you!

November 9, 2010

Pax Christi USA Action Alert

For more information, visit

The fate of new START hangs in the balance. The ratification of new START by the Senate is dependent on its being brought up for a vote on the floor during the Senate lame duck session which starts Nov. 15. START has been deemed a top priority by both the administration and the Senate majority leader Harry Reid. Major efforts are being made to bring it to the floor but this will not be done unless it is clear that new START has the 67 votes necessary for ratification. The Senate has already held 18 hearings and four briefings on the treaty, not to mention submitted 900 questions for the record. All democratic and independent Senators are slated to vote for ratification giving us 58 of the necessary 67 votes. Most other Senators' votes are largely unknown. Given the recent mid-term elections, new START needs to be ratified this year. This is where you come in.

As Catholics we have an obligation to do all we can to make sure that any step that can be taken to ensure a world free of nuclear weapons, in our lifetime, is taken. Both our own conscience as Catholics and Catholic Social Teaching compel us to act!

Pope Benedict XVI, in his 2006 World Day of Peace Message, said:

“What can be said, too, about those governments which count on nuclear arms as a means of ensuring the security of their countries? Along with countless persons of good will, one can state that this point of view is not only baneful but also completely fallacious. In a nuclear war there would be no victors, only victims. The truth of peace requires that all—whether those governments which openly or secretly possess nuclear arms, or those planning to acquire them—agree to change their course by clear and firm decisions, and strive for a progressive and concerted nuclear disarmament. The resources which would be saved could then be employed in projects of development capable of benefiting all their people, especially the poor.”

Also, the USCCB has written a letter to the Senators who are supporting START.

It is painfully clear that nuclear weapons are considered to be completely immoral in the eyes of the church and should be so in our eyes as well. START is a step, not an end, in addressing this immorality. It is not perfect but it is necessary. Three important things about new START are:

  • It is a treaty that will continue to reduce our stockpile of nuclear weapons and increase trust-building to provide a platform for further nuclear arms reduction treaties with Russia.
  • It closes the nuclear weapons verification gap with Russia that has existed since December 2009
  • It is evidence of President Obama's, and our, moral commitment to a nuclear free world connected with our obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Call your Republican Senators on Nov. 16 at the DC Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Just tell them the name of your senator and they will automatically connect you to their office!

Important Senators to call are: Lugar, Corker, Isakson, and Bennett (Utah), Alexander, Brown (MA), Chambliss, Cochran, Collins, Gregg, Lieberman, Voinovich, Crapo, Enzi, Graham, Grassley, Kirk (IL), Kyl, LeMieux, McCain, McConnell, Murkowski, and Snowe

Let your Senators know exactly where you stand, as a Catholic and as a member of Pax Christi USA, on new START. Help us to create the 67 votes needed and the conditions that would eliminate the existence of a weapon that creates only victims in this world.

In peace,

Manuel Padilla
Program Associate, Pax Christi USA