Daily, it seems, there is news of some kind of tragedy occurring around the world.
Some of these events are not caused by humans, but a lot of them are…and a lot result in bloodshed and death.
Daily, it seems, we are asked to donate money to help support people who are in crisis. Sometimes because of earthquakes, sometimes because of tsunamis or other natural disasters or what some might call “acts of God”.
But a lot of the time the call is for donations for money to help people who are the victims of bombings, warfare, civil war or as a result of the action of leaders/regimes that penalize and harass others in way that results in a humanitarian crisis of one kind or another.
One thing that continually seems to happen though is that we, in the UK in particular, fail to join up the dots. We do not see that we, on the one hand, sell weapons of warfare to those who are carrying out the bombing, leading the fighting or ruling in a way that brings death and destruction to others and then, on the other hand, seek to look as if we are being generous by giving, donating, a few million pounds to help in the relief efforts that then become a necessity.
It’s partly for that reason that I will be outside the Excel Centre in London on Tuesday 3rd September. I will be protesting as the deliveries to set up the Arms Fair being held there take place. I’ll be joining with many others from varying faith backgrounds, and some of no faith affiliation, to clearly state to those who are willing to listen, that I do not agree with the selling of arms to these countries/rulers/regimes.
More than that, I would like to appeal to the UK government that it is time we made a stand as a country and ceased to hold weapons of mass destruction, and ceased to produce weapons of war.
If we truly want to have peace on the earth we have to work together to try and achieve peace. We do not do so by continuing to hold a gun at another person’s head…and yet that seems to be the approach we continually take.
How can we say on the one hand that we believe in the call to love one another and then on the other hand seek to press a button that will obliterate villages, towns, cities, countries and whole people groups?
When I protest this year I will once again be humbled because many others who protest go much further than I do in their statements and their actions, and I applaud them for their work.
For me, this will be a non-violent protest, at times silent, at times full of song and dance but I will protest. Holding an Arms Fair is wrong. Selling arms is wrong. May God forgive us for our many sins/errors.
Rev Mark Meatcher
Minister of the North Enfield group of the United Reformed Church
Outline for the day
The #NoFaithInWar day, 3rd September 2019, is at present planned to be a gathering on the outskirts of the Excel Centre which will include Quaker worship, processions of witness and protest from different faith and non-faith groups, times of mourning and quietness and times of celebration of the hope of a different future.
You can read ‘Good For Us? The UK Arms Industry’, our briefing on international arms trade, here:
For more details look at the website and various groups’ facebook pages:-
The No Faith in War vigil will be taking place on 3rd September 2019.