Sixty five years after the United States dropped a hydrogen bomb on Hiroshima, ending nearly 140,000 Japanese lives, the World Council of Churches (WCC) is reiterating its call to rid the globe of nuclear threat.
"On August 6th and August 9th we turn our hearts toward the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, asking God to bless governments and citizens with new resolve to protect the sanctity of life," the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the WCC, said in a statement issued on Thursday.
"The Bible urges us to 'choose life' so that all may live. As if in response, 65 years after Hiroshima, more and more people are working to rekindle the vision of a world without nuclear weapons," he added.
Tveit's organization, which represents over 560 million Christians around the globe, has been working for world peace since its founding in 1946 and has done specific advocacy work against the spread of nuclear weapons for nearly 30 years.
In April of this year, the WCC issued a public statement praising the signing of a new nuclear treaty between the United States and Russia, which Tveit hailed as a "sign of the leadership needed for establishing a sustainable and just peace in the world."
In his most recent statement, Tveit made note of the attendance of United Nations head Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos at memorial services in Hiroshima – a first for officials in their positions - as further evidence of development.
"Together, we are on a journey from ground zero to global zero -- a world free of weapons of mass destruction," Ban said today. "That is the only sane path to a safer world. For as long as nuclear weapons exist, we will live under a nuclear shadow."
In May, members of the United Nations adopted a non-proliferation plan that would speed up the global disarmament process.
The plan includes a focus on the Middle East, which the U.N. plans to address in a conference in 2012.