Evangelicals Send Atomic Fireballs to Congress
For Immediate Release
April 12, 2010
Evangelical college presidents, denominational executives, pastors, veterans, professors, and missionaries are encouraging the Obama administration and Congress to engage in diplomacy with Iran and North Korea and to reduce US nuclear arsenals. Citing scripture, Jesus, and foreign policy experts such as George Shultz, they claim “overcoming the nuclear threat requires international cooperation” and “nuclear weapons are a moral threat” that must eventually be eliminated. For emphasis they provided Atomic Fireballs with their statement, saying “Atomic Fireballs are great candy, but terrible foreign policy.”
Their historic Matthew 5 Project statement, which “calls on our nation to be willing to talk with and listen to antagonists,” offers strong support for the “new START” treaty. The statement was sent to President Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Clinton, Secretary of Defense Gates, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and all 535 members of Congress. Arguing that “Jesus is the realist,” the evangelical statement recognizes that even though “[t]he United States has crucial disagreements with Iran, Jesus does not say talks should be refused until we approve of the conduct of the adversary.”
The statement also refers to the policy recommendations of George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn, and other conservative national security experts who are now recommending the elimination of nuclear weapons. “Nuclear weapons are a physical threat to the survival of human life on earth. Prominent national security experts have recently called for reducing and abolishing reliance on nuclear weapons, by verifiable international agreement, in order to enhance national security. This cannot be accomplished unilaterally; it requires international cooperation and verification.” The statement and broad scope of endorsements reveal the growing sentiment among American Evangelicals that the reduction and eventual elimination of nuclear weapons is both theologically necessary and politically possible.
After laying out their biblical, theological, and political cases, the statement culminates in a call to action that encourages American churches to engage in interfaith and international dialogue and to “urge international cooperation in continued step-by-step reductions, working toward ways to verify abolition of nuclear weapons worldwide.”
ABOUT THE MATTHEW 5 PROJECT
The Matthew 5 Project is an Evangelical effort to promote international cooperation and reduce nuclear weapons through careful analysis of political realities and sound biblical and theological arguments (http://www.matthew5project.org/).
Glen Stassen, Ph.D.
Professor of Christian Ethics
Fuller Theological Seminary
135 N. Oakland Avenue
Pasadena, California 91182
Rev. Paul Alexander, Ph.D.
Professor of Theology and Ethics
Co-founder, Pentecostals & Charismatics for Peace & Justice
Azusa Pacific University
701 E. Foothill Blvd.
Azusa, California 91702