Scientists and Faith Leaders Urge President Obama to Announce Steps in Hiroshima to Reduce Nuclear Risks

Published May 4, 2016

WASHINGTON (May 4, 2016)—It’s widely expected that the White House will soon announce that President Obama will visit Hiroshima while in Japan later this month for the G7 summit, and will give a speech while there. The heads of four leading science and faith organizations call on the president to announce specific steps the United States will take to reduce the real and urgent risks posed by nuclear weapons and prevent a new global nuclear arms race.

A statement released today by Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists; Bishop Oscar Cantú, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; and Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, calls on President Obama to:

  • Scale back the U.S. plan to build a new generation of nuclear weapons, including canceling the new destabilizing and unneeded nuclear-armed cruise missile;
  • Reduce the U.S. deployed strategic arsenal by a third, a level the Pentagon agrees is adequate to maintain security; and
  • Remove U.S. land-based nuclear missiles from hair-trigger alert, which would reduce the risk of an accidental, mistaken or unauthorized launch.

The groups met with U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice in November to express concern that the risk of nuclear weapons use may be on the rise and to urge the administration to take concrete steps to reduce that risk.

“On this issue, science and faith leaders are speaking with one voice,” said Kimmell. “President Obama should take meaningful steps right now to reduce the dangers posed by nuclear weapons. This can be a lasting legacy of his presidency.”

Bishop Cantú concurred. “Faith and reason, religion and science, agree,” he said. “Nuclear weapons pose a moral challenge and represent an existential threat that requires action now.”