06 August 2017

‘If the fingers that Tweet
become the fingers that
press the nuclear button’

Patrick Comerford

Today marks the 72nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. This message was read out at the annual commemoration organised by the Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (Irish CND) in Merrion Square, Dublin, this afternoon [6 August 2017]:

I regret that I cannot be at today’s commemoration in Dublin marking the 72nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945.

However, my enthusiasm for the Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and all the work we do in Irish CND is never going to falter or weaken so long as there are nuclear weapons anywhere in the world.

I have no doubt this afternoon that many of us are distressed with the pace of political change in the United States. The frightening pace of change, dictated by late night and early morning Tweets in the White House, not only means that the political climate in Washington is deeply disturbing, but it means that the future of the world and the future of everyone is perilous.

The fingers on the phone that sends out those Tweets late at night and early in the morning are the same fingers that could press the nuclear button at any time of day or night.

The White House has never been so unstable, and the stability of the world has never been faced with such uncertainty or instability.

There is so much that I want to see changed in the world today: the way refugees, asylum seekers and migrants are herded, housed and hounded down; the way the international laws of war are changed, ignored and violated as the super-powers wage their proxy wars throughout the world; the way the resources of the earth are exploited for profit without respect for humanity, the environment and our climate; social and economic justice; challenging the rise of political extremism and the new fascism.

If the fingers that Tweet become the fingers that press the nuclear button, it will no longer be possible to seek this change.

We must not only continue to support the work of Irish CND, we must foster friendships, continue to collaborate and build alliances with those who share our values and our aims.

Thank you for being here today.

(Revd Canon Professor) Patrick Comerford,
Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (Irish CND),
Hiroshima Day, 6 August 2017.

This message was read out at the Sunday service in Cork Unitarian Church this morning [6 August 2017]:

I was pleased to hear from the Revd Michael O’Sullivan that during your service this morning, on the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, you are lighting a candle for peace, remembering those who died and those who survived, and the families devastated and still living with the consequences of this atrocity.

The atomic bombing of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, killed perhaps 200,00 people. About 100,000 people were killed by the bombing of Nagasaki three days later, on 9 August 1945.

Since then, we have all been living under the shadow of the nuclear cloud. There are more than enough nuclear weapons to kill each of us many times over.

As you light this candle in Cork this morning, I am preaching in the Church of Ireland parish churches in Askeaton, Co Limerick, and Tarbert, Co Kerry, on today’s Gospel reading about the Transfiguration.

The white light that Peter, James and John see surrounding Jesus on Mount Tabor at the Transfiguration is a sharp contrast with the light above Hiroshima.

One is calling us into a new relationship with God and all that is good in God’s creation.

The other is warning us about a new dependency on a terrible evil that threatens to destroy all that is good in creation.

All our prayers and campaigns for justice, peace and the common good are threatened by these modern weapons of mass destruction.

We are faced with a choice: we can choose good or evil, we can choose life or death, we can seek a new and renewed relationship with God and God’s creation, or we can acquiesce in our passivity and in our silence in the arms race that Trump, Putin, May and the other superpowers perpetuate with malice and without conscience.

The choice is not just theirs, it is also ours. In your prayers this morning, please pray too that we all come to know that we can make a change and that we actually become that change ourselves.

(Revd Canon Professor) Patrick Comerford,
The Irish Campaign for Nuclear Testament (CND).

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