Statement on Hiroshima Anniversary

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This August marks the 75th anniversary of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima, on August 6, and Nagasaki, on August 9, 1945. As the world community remembers and addresses the ongoing threat of nuclear aggression, the Vestry of Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral Parish in Seattle has released a resolution “calling upon U.S. policymakers to determine a timely process for the dismantling of existing U.S. nuclear weapons while urging other countries to do likewise, and urging the President and Congress to explore a moratorium on production of new nuclear arms.”

In solidarity with so many churches and faith-based organizations, Saint Mark’s Cathedral has taken a stand against unjust wars and nuclear weapons going back decades. Dean & Rector The Very Rev. John Leffler repeatedly denounced the Vietnam War from the pulpit in the 1960s, and his successor, The Very Rev. Cabell Tennis, notoriously spoke out against the bombing of Cambodia in a televised sermon on Christmas Eve, 1972. In the subsequent decades, the cathedral has continued to use its voice on these issues, partnering with groups such as the Washington Against Nuclear Weapons Coalition (WANW).

Nuclear disarmament is a particularly significant concern in the Pacific Northwest, since the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S. is just 20 miles away at Naval Base Kitsap. Washington State’s Hanford Site, which produced the plutonium for the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, continues to store millions of gallons of high-level nuclear waste in unsafe conditions, leaking contaminated material into the environment to this day—an enduring consequence of the country's nuclear weapons program.

Betsy Bell of Saint Mark’s Cathedral, who leads the Nuclear Disarmament Ministry, said, “To the majority of people alive in 2020, both WWII and the Cold War seem like history far in the past, and so it is a shock to realize that the United State continues to build and stockpile nuclear weapons at such a vast scale, and even more shocking in light of how invisible the subject has become in our national discourse. The mere existence of these weapons today is an atrocity!”


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