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The Pope and ICBMs


The Air Force planned a test of its Minuteman missile on the 21st and is planning one again for the 26th. These are the same missiles that are equipped with nuclear warheads and sit in silos across the country on hair-trigger alert. This is a condition that has kept me in a state of nervousness since I first became aware of it about 40 years ago.

Part of what makes me nervous is that the Air Force is an institution guided by a culture of Christian fundamentalism. I am sure there are many people in the Air Force who are not right-wing Christians, but apparently they are not the people who control the movements of nuclear missiles. People who work in the military have a right to believe in anything they like, but somehow Christian fundamentalism and nuclear missiles seem a bad mix.

My understanding is that the message of Christ is a message of love. A culture that condones the presence of nuclear missiles lives in a state of paralysed conscience. Maybe it is time to awaken the Christian conscience. Is a nuclear missile an expression of love or is it an expression of fear? To paraphrase Pope Francis: When God looks at an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, does he endorse the existence of this weapon?

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