They shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.
Peacemaking lies at the heart of the biblical story and remains a central Christian vocation. The Joint Public Issues Team want to see a world which actively works for peace, and to offer alternative approaches to violence. Our work examines the shifting challenges to peace which the world faces and responds to Jesus’s call that we might be peacemakers in our communities and our world.
Peacemaking – A Christian Vocation
Jesus calls us to be peacemakers, both in terms of preventing bloodshed, and building constructive links with God, ourselves, and other people.
In 2006 the Methodist and United Reformed Churches produced a report titled Peacemaking: A Christian Vocation. It remains our core resource exploring a Christian perspective on peace and conflict in the context of new challenges
TPNW reaches 50th ratification!
We’re really excited that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has reached its fiftieth ratification and will pass into legal force in January 2021.
Read more about the TPNW and what this means for nuclear weapons here.
Defence and Foreign Policy Integrated Review
JPIT submitted evidence to the UK Government’s integrated review of security, defence, foreign policy, and development. We advocated for peaceful international relations and that the Government would go beyond traditional militaristic views of defence, especially in the wake of the Foreign Office and Department for International Development being merged earlier this year.
The Arms Trade
The UK is one of the world’s largest exporters of arms, and the UK Government is keen for us to grow even more, competing for the accolade of being the world’s second largest arms exporter alongside Russia, China, and France.
For many Christians, this conflicts with the idea of being peacemakers and proactively preventing conflict. There has been a history of Christian resistance and protest around the issue of the arms trade.
The UK is one of just nine countries who maintain a nuclear arsenal worldwide, and there are more than 15,000 nuclear weapons stored worldwide. Needless to say, the use of these weapons would be catastrophic. Sustaining the threat of indiscriminate destruction is totally contrary to the peace to which Christ calls us.
Nuclear Ban Treaty
There is a global movement seeking to introduce a ban on the possession and use of nuclear weapons. Throughout 2017, the United Nations held negotiations to create a legal framework for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons. Our churches have long held the position that nuclear weapons are a critical moral issue of our time, so we welcomed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
The Treaty has now reached 50 ratifications and so will pass into legal force in January! Signatories cannot possess or use nuclear weapons or engage in any kind of nuclear weapons-related activities.
Trident is the UK’s nuclear weaponry programme. It covers four submarines and the nuclear warheads which are stored on them.
The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church, the URC and the Church of Scotland have all been outspoken in their opposition of Trident, especially in 2016, when MPs voted to replace and renew Trident. Given that the UK has committed to pursuing disarmament as part of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, renewal of Trident is incompatible with the UK’s desire to encourage global nuclear disarmament.
In addition to serious moral and ethical concerns, there are serious economic and security arguments against Trident.
Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles, and they’ve been a hot topic in the news for several years. These cost-efficient combat machines are used regularly in conflicts by the UK and the USA and they are changing the dynamics of international relations.
In the US the CIA, a civilian agency, has carried out lethal drone strikes which contravenes conventional interpretations of international law and sets a dangerous new precedent. We have investigated the possibility that readily available drones make recourse to military intervention more likely, as well as other ethical and legal implications of drone usage.