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Interfaith Letter to Congress

Marking the July 16 Anniversary of the Trinity Atomic Bomb Detonation by Calling on the United States to Prioritize Negotiations for the Complete Elimination of All Nuclear Weapons

Photo by George Nakamura

The following letter was sent to the U.S. Congress by a coalition of faith-based groups, leaders and institutions, including the Soka Gakkai International-USA.

July 16, 2023

Dear Member of Congress

As people of faith committed to building a peaceful and just world, we unite our voices on this occasion of the 78th anniversary of the Trinity atomic bomb detonation. That historic event in New Mexico left many people in New Mexico to deal with the horrific health consequences of being overexposed to radiation and enabled the first use of atomic weapons in war just weeks later, destroying the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It further led to the development of yet more powerful nuclear weapons unleashing upon the world the horrific risk of a civilization-ending holocaust.

On this anniversary, we express profound concern about potential escalation of current global conflicts to the unthinkable use of a nuclear weapon. Spurred on by survivors of the damage wrought by the production, testing and use of nuclear weapons, we aim for outright elimination of these weapons as well as victim assistance and environmental remediation for affected communities.

As people of faith, we respectfully remind you, Members of Congress, of our shared humanity. Despite national interests and objectives that can contradict each other at times, we share the fundamental goal of preserving our planet, our countries, communities, and families, without which we cannot pursue our prosperity, well-being and happiness. Nuclear weapons, whether used by design or accident, will destroy the world as we know it and cause tremendous suffering, as testified by the Hibakusha, Downwinders, and others. Nuclear weapons are incompatible with our fundamental values of respect for human dignity; their continued role in so-called national security should not be tolerated.

We ask you, as a Member of Congress, to do your part by:

Co-sponsoring House Resolution 77 (H.Res.77) “Embracing the Goals and Provisions of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons” and introducing a companion resolution in the US Senate to voice your support for the following nuclear weapon risk reduction and disarmament steps:

Actively pursuing and concluding negotiations on a new, bilateral nuclear arms control and disarmament framework agreement with the Russian Federation before 2026 and pursuing negotiations with China and other nuclear-armed states on an agreement or agreements for the verifiable, enforceable, and timebound elimination of global nuclear arsenals;

Renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons first;

Ending the President’s sole authority to launch a nuclear attack; Taking the nuclear weapons of the United States off hair-trigger alert; and Canceling plans to replace the nuclear arsenal of the United States with modernized, enhanced weapons.

Extending and expanding the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (“RECA”) to add the first Downwinders along with others who were harmed and left out of the original bill; and

Canceling plans to expand plutonium pit production at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico as well as the unnecessary W87-1 nuclear warhead that is being used to justify it. We note that no future pit production is required to maintain the safety and reliability of the existing, extensively tested nuclear weapons stockpile. Instead, future pit production is for speculative new designs that can’t be tested, therefore perhaps eroding confidence in the stockpile. Alternatively, it could prompt the U.S. to resume testing, which would have serious global proliferation consequences; and

Strongly encouraging the U.S. government to lead by example, entering into serious negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament, as pledged by the then five nuclear weapons powers more than a half-century ago in the 1970 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

The Trinity atomic bomb detonation anniversary reminds us of how the story of nuclear weapons began. But more importantly it reminds us that this story must have a peaceful ending. It will either be the abolition of nuclear weapons or the end of human civilization.

Our diverse faith traditions remind us that we are not prisoners of our current reality. Each and every human being is creative, resilient, and capable of helping to create the world we desire. We trust that you will act in accordance with your moral conscience, and we pray that future generations will take inspiration from your leadership in delivering justice to affected communities and building a world free from the threat of nuclear weapons.



American Friends Service Committee
EarthKeepers 360
The Episcopal Church
Franciscan Action Network
Friends Committee on National Legislation
National Council of Churches
Pax Christi USA
Religions for Peace USA
Soka Gakkai International USA
United Church of Christ, Justice and Local Church Ministries
Voices for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons, (United Religions Initiative)


Archdiocese of Santa Fe
Reverend Talitha Arnold, Senior Minister, The United Church of Santa Fe
Reverend Harry W. Eberts, First Presbyterian Church of Santa Fe
Reverend Madeline Hart-Andersen, Westminster Presbyterian Church (Santa Fe)
Assisi Community
Atlanta Good Shepherd Community Church
Center on Conscience and War
Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Washington DC
The Evangelical Reformed United Church of Christ
Frederick Friends Meeting
Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, Morehouse College
Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore


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