Thursday, April 07, 2011

A Faith Response to the Global Day of Action on Military Spending

Global Day of Action on Military Spending has been set for April 12, 2011 
This date is proposed to coincide with the release of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s annual report () which will include new figures on military expenditures.

On this day, people all over the world will join together in actions to focus public, political, and media attention on the costs of military spending and the need for new priorities. 

World military expenditure is estimated to have been $1531 billion in 2009—a real-terms increase of 6 per cent over 2008 and of 49 per cent since 2000. This corresponded to 2.7 per cent of world gross domestic product (GDP) and $224 for each person in the world

The USA’s military spending accounted for 43 per cent of the world total in 2009, followed by China with 6.6 per cent, France with 4.2 per cent and the UK with 3.8 per cent. ( read more from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute)

Every gun that is 
made, every warship 
launched, every rocket 
signifies, in the final 
sense, a theft from 
those who hunger and 
are not fed,  
those who are cold and 
are not clothed.  
                  Dwight  D. Eisenhower

508. The Church's social teaching proposes the goal of "general, balanced and controlled disarmament".[1067] The enormous increase in arms represents a grave threat to stability and peace. The principle of sufficiency, by virtue of which each State may possess only the means necessary for its legitimate defence, must be applied both by States that buy arms and by those that produce and furnish them.
The arms race does not ensure peace. Far from eliminating the causes of war, it risks aggravating them".[1070] Policies of nuclear deterrence, typical of the Cold War period, must be replaced with concrete measures of disarmament based on dialogue and multilateral negotiations.
516. The promotion of peace in the world is an integral part of the Church's mission of continuing Christ's work of redemption on earth.  (Extracts from Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church: Chapter Eleven)

On the other hand, while noting with concern the signs of crisis appearing in the area of disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, the Holy See has continued to reaffirm that peace cannot be built when military expenses divert enormous human and material resources from projects for development, especially the development of the poorest peoples. (Address of Pope Benedict XVI to the members of the Diplomatic Corps January  8 2009)

“Militarism must be recognized as an idolatry.  The way in which it is looked at shows that
 it is more than a system and even an ideology.”  WCC Report of the Consultation on Militarism and Disarmament (1989) 

World Military Expenditures a compilation of data and facts related to military  spending, education and health  Coordination Office for the Decade to Overcome Violence

The World Council of Churches’ Statement on the occasion of the United Nations’ General Assembly Hearing with Civil Society on the Millennium Development Goals 14-15 June 2010 New York

Military Spending Justice Resources Centre of Concern
Institute for Peace Studies
Vidimus Dominum
International Peace Bureau   
Religions for Peace  
Read the Statement from Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Pax Christi International 

    Prayer for Global Day of Action on   Military Spending

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