Northampton Friends Meeting (Quakers): Working toward a world free of nuclear weapons

Published: 1/21/2021 10:52:20 AM

On Jan. 22, 2021, the development, manufacture and maintenance of nuclear weapons, as well as assisting in any way with these activities, will become illegal in the first 50 countries that have ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Another 35 countries are already in the process of ratifying this treaty, and many more are committed to doing so.

Even though the U.S. and the other eight nuclear-armed nations are not among them (yet), this treaty establishes a new international norm that the U.S. military is obliged, by its own rules, to respect. More significantly, the companies that make and maintain nuclear weapons will face new legal and financial pressures from the countries that have joined the treaty.

As a small faith community, Northampton Friends Meeting (Quakers) cannot join the treaty as such. But we can take steps to align ourselves with the treaty, by reducing our complicity with the nuclear weapons industry.

In 2018, the Meeting decided to move our accounts to a bank without any investments in the nuclear weapons industry. We also wrote to several companies to inform them that we would not be buying their other products as long as they were still involved in making nuclear weapons. These may seem like small gestures, but it all adds up.

The city of New York is about to divest its pension funds from nuclear weapons. But Northampton got there first, by passing a resolution supporting the treaty and divesting city funds. A number of Northampton businesses also took steps to declare themselves aligned with the new treaty. We urge other faith communities, businesses and towns in Hampshire County and beyond to consider doing the same.

By aligning ourselves with this new treaty, and showing our solidarity with people all over the world who are working so hard to eliminate these indiscriminate weapons of mass death, we can help usher in the day when these weapons are as outdated and forgotten as the Cold War itself.

Eleanor Warnock

Presiding Clerk

This letter was written on behalf of the Northampton Friends Meeting (Quakers).



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