Thursday, August 5, 2010

Calling for Nuclear Disarmament

It was sixty-five years ago today, just a few minutes past 6 p.m. (CDT), that the first atomic bomb was dropped. Most of the city of Hiroshima was destroyed by “Little Boy,” the nickname for the bomb dropped by the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay. By the end of 1945 approximately 140,000 had died because of that one atomic explosion.
Three days later, “Fat Man,” another atomic bomb but with a completely different design was dropped on the city of Nagasaki, and the number of resulting deaths by the end of 1945 was just about half of those who perished in Hiroshima. The number of casualties from the two bombs certainly did not end in 1945.
I still remember the eerie feeling upon arriving in Hiroshima for the first time in 1967 and the terrible sadness in seeing the displays in the peace museum there. (Later, and on several occasions, I visited the peace museum in Nagasaki also.) The picture below is a 180° view of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. The “Atomic Dome,” seen in the center left of the image, is the only remaining structure showing the effects of the A-bomb explosion. The original target for the bomb was the "T"-shaped Aioi Bridge seen in the left of the image.
At the ceremony this evening (U.S. time) commemorating the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has said he will appeal for a world without nuclear weapons. Actually, he already addressed the Hiroshima Conference for the Total Abolition of Nuclear Weapons by 2020, a meeting held on July 27-29.
Earlier this year, Catholic Bishop Atsumi Misu of Hiroshima and Mitsuaki Takami, the Catholic archbishop of Nagasaki, publically called on world leaders to reverse the “madness” of the nuclear age by abolishing nuclear weapons. The co-president of Pax Christi International, the Catholic peace group, commented, “The urgent message from the Catholic bishops of two cities devastated by these horrific weapons is a cry that must be heard and heeded.”
At the 2010 Convocation of the Alliance of Baptists, a meeting that ended August 1, there was a call for the U.S. Senate to ratify the new Strategic Arms Treaty and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. The latter was adopted by the U.S. General Assembly in 1996, but it must be ratified by 44 nations. The U.S. is one of nine nations that has not yet ratified that treaty which would ban all nuclear explosions in all environments, for military or civilian purposes.
On this 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, this might be a time for many of us to renew our commitment to the work of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America or some similar group working for peace and for nuclear disarmament. By whatever means we choose, I pray that we all can be more actively involved in working for shalom in our world. No More Hiroshima & Nagasaki! (For an eight-minute video with this name, click on this link.)


  1. Very true. I'm also for limiting conventional weaponry, which can be just as deadly when used in large numbers. I'm thinking about the incendiary bombing of Tokyo in March 1945, in which up to 100,000 civilians were burned to death in one night.

  2. Comments received by e-mail from Dr. E. Glenn Hinson:

    "Thanks for your thoughtful reflection, Leroy. August 6 should be included in America's and perhaps the world's calendar as a day of repentance. Our sin can never be erased. Is it also beyond forgiveness?"

    Note: It was just after 8 a.m. on August 6 in Japan when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

  3. Comments about your previous blog on Nagasaki are worth revisiting.

    Unfortunately rogue regimes who do not honor treaties are, and have always been with us. "Dialogue" with rogues is only possible a big stick which one must be willing to use if necessary.

    There are at least two such now - one bent on genocide. At least two other nations have gone to the brink of using nuclear weapons (Cuba and Egypt), but were called back by Premiers Khrushchev and Brezhnev when Presidents Kennedy and Nixon offered complete and immediate nuclear retaliation.

    The technology for bomb production is with us and easily available, and the source of materiel is global from peaceful sources if a rogue were to come into power. Unfortunately the world truly needs this source of economical energy.

    And this particular WMD is only one in the global arsenal. The others, chemical, biological, and large population are just as lethal if one is eliminated. Like the gun controversy, it is not possession which is the problem, but who has possession. The real issue are the rogues.

  4. A women recently (and happily) added to my Thinking Friends mailing list sent this comment by e-mail:

    "Thanks for bringing this anniversary to my attention. I can't imagine the devastation both to the land and most importantly to the hearts, minds, and bodies of the people who lived there. Frankly, I hate to think of it and tend to file that event way, way back in my mind."

  5. And these significant comments came from a missionary to Japan who had returned to the States before we arrived there in 1966:

    "Leroy, I support the ban on neuclear weapons, but the ethics of the original bombing is a very complex issue for which I do not have an answer. The best military estimates for casualties had the Allies invaded Japan is much higher than the total number of deaths in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Of course the estimates are just that, while the deaths in Hiro and Naga were actual.

    "I think an even more important issue, that is never discussed, is a ban on war as a means of settling international disputes. Will mankind ever reach the point where this can be considered?"

  6. Here is the address of a website if you would like to sign a petition to demand a world without nuclear weapons:

  7. Greg Hadley's comments about war generally are well taken, and must be considered by Christians, especially those who hold to the traditional/historic/orthodox view. St. Clement of Alexandria circa 200AD addressed his catechumens focusing on the costs of war. This is well worth the read for the modern American evangelical Christian who believes in "just war" (including me).

  8. Nuclear weapons are truly terrifying, but we cannot run from the probability that they have saved far more lives than they have cost in the decades they have existed. What would the Cold War have looked like without them? The real issue is not banning nuclear weapons, even though that is a worthwhile objective. The real issue is learning peace, and ending war. Otherwise, we will just replace nuclear weapons with something equally awful.

    Learning peace is not easy. As the prophets explained, there will be peace when every man sits under his own fig tree. We have to learn an entire culture of peace. We have to tame the dogs of war. We have to out think the mongers of war. We have learn to tame the roots of war. We have to find the paths to peace. Total peace demands as much as total war. Everything, from economics to psychology to population control to politics is involved. One slip, and the four horsemen roam again. Which is why there is so much war.

    Cheap grace does not work any better in world peace than it works in personal peace. If ending nuclear weapons is seen as one small step on a long journey, it can be a good step. Considering the stakes in a nuclear mistake, a vital step. Yet, it is just a step. For thousands of years our ancestors sought the key to peace. We continue their ancient journey.

  9. Leroy, what about Dec. 7, 1941? You do not believe IF they would of had an atomic bomb they
    would NOT have used it on AMERICA? Do you really?
    You were only 3 and did not have an opinion or know anything about dirty war tactics of the RADICAL Japanese. What about the Bataan Death March ? Have you studied the ATTROCITES of the the Radical Japanese to our men drawn into that war because of the Radical Emperor's command on Pearl Harbor and the Bataan Death march.
    If I was you I surely would NOT add that, in your Blog. Do you think the RADICAL,(I said RADICAL, Muslims), muslims did not do the very same thing on 9-11-01 ONLY on a much smaller scale than Dec. 7,1941 and the Bataan Death March of- ( I do not remember the date). Have you been to Pearl and visited the ARIZONA Mem.?
    All them GI's entombed in that Batleship Hull?
    In light of all your Liberal Theology, and Liberal Politics, have you thought on this subject? What is your honest feelings about RADICAL Japanese Terrorists and RADICAL muslim Terrorists? Pleasing to our LORD JESUS CHRIST ?
    Rod Fockler