BACKGROUND: First proposed by President Ronald Reagan, the United States and Soviet Union signed the original START Treaty in 1991. This treaty limited the number of nuclear warheads and delivery vehicles (missiles and bombers) that each country could deploy. Today the United States and Russia still hold about 90% of all nuclear weapons, large arsenals left over from the Cold War.
President Obama and President Medvedev of Russia signed a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) on April 8, 2010. The New START Treaty: reduces deployed strategic warheads to 1550, 30 percent below the existing ceiling; limits both nations to no more than 700 delivery vehicles; and includes new verification requirements.
Nuclear weapons are a grave threat to human life and dignity. Consistent with Catholic teaching, the bishops have long supported securing nuclear materials from terrorists and reducing the number of nuclear armaments. For decades they have promoted the policy goals of preventing proliferation of these horrific weapons and ultimately eliminating them.
Nuclear war is rejected in Church teaching because the use of nuclear weapons cannot ensure noncombatant immunity and their destructive potential and lingering radiation cannot be meaningfully proportionate. Pope Benedict XVI said in a January 2006 statement, “In a nuclear war there would be no victors, only victims.”
ACTION: Urge your U.S. Senators to vote for the New START Treaty because it makes our nation and world safer by reducing nuclear weapons in a verifiable way. Click the link below to send an email message directly to your two U.S. Senators.
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