Response to the Heightened Nuclear Threat

1 August 2017

Supporters of the Nuclear Ban Treaty at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Atomic Bomb Dome Photo courtesy of Tomoko Watababe

Open Letter to the Human Family and to the Family of the United Religions Initiative from

Voices For a World Free of Nuclear Weapons Cooperation Circle*

In commemoration of the August 6, 2017, the 72nd Anniversary of the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima

*a small group of diplomats, senior governmental officials, lawyers, clergy, scientists and others (see roster below) who meet each month to address the world's nuclear threat


This summer, two events of nuclear significance happened. First, North Korea successfully launched an intercontinental ballistic missile that demonstrated greater reach and sophistication, signaling that, soon, it will have the capacity to drop nuclear weapons on the United States, Japan, South Korea, China and Russia. Second, at the United Nations, 122 nations of the world voted "never under any circumstances to develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices."

On the one hand, the expansion of the nuclear threat to the world, awakening the apocalyptic vision of Earth's demise as a livable planet! On the other hand, the majority of nations of this world, proclaiming that the solution to this world's nuclear problem is the elimination of the weapons. These two approaches are captured in the brief comments by the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley. She said, "There is nothing I want more for my family than a world free of nuclear weapons. But we have to be realistic."

When all is said and done, is planet Earth going to be a mass grave dug by "realists," or is Earth going to be a Garden of Eden tilled by parents who figure out how to destroy the final threat?

When the time comes that the next nuclear weapon is detonated on human beings, the hands of political leaders and rogue agents will reach for weapons that can respond and can annihilate most of life on earth. Even now, small terrorist groups urgently desire to start the conflagration. 

The hands of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump now rest atop most of the world's nuclear arsenal. But the hands of Kim Jong Un are also raised. Other hands in other countries, as well, are poised atop extermination buttons waiting to unleash a chain reaction of self-destruction in the name of security.

When that time comes, babies won't matter, religion won't matter, families won't matter, beauty, ingenuity and historic perspective won't matter. Nothing will be sacred. Darkness will cover the Earth just as a few finger prints will cover a few buttons.

What time is it right now? A few of us URI people who regularly watch the escalation of the nuclear threat, think that the world is at a precarious moment now. Therefore, we are reaching out to any human being who might care, and to our URI family, exhorting each URI individual and Cooperation Circle to raise your voice. "Speak now or forever hold your peace," is an often repeated phrase and it critically applies to this moment.

To fortify you with thought and soul, please go to to read our Call to Conscience statement and view our Nuclear Prayer video. Please don't wait until you are well versed on the NPT or the CTBT or First Strike or all of the other specialized issues, before raising your voice. What the world needs now is to hear from the people of faiths and tribes and humanitarian efforts about the life or death issue concerning planet Earth and its nuclear threat. Voice your concern to a friend, a relative, a politician, a religious leader, a neighbor. Move the needle before some hand pushes a button!

Good people of URI, speak! And speak to us because we can amplify your voice. Just send your email to [email protected].

Thank you for your consideration, 


Members of the Voices for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons Cooperation Circle

Mary Lou Anderson, international peace activist and business owner

Peter Carpenter, businessman and nonprofit leader

Ambassador James E. Goodby, former Ambassador to Finland; served as Vice Chairman of the U.S. Delegation to the Strategic Nuclear Arms Negotiations with the U.S.S.R. Bipartisan Security Group Expert 

Ambassador Thomas Graham, Jr, former senior-level diplomat; Executive Chairman of the Board of Lightbridge

Jonathan Granoff, President, Global Security Institute

Mussie Hailu (Ethiopia), URI Regional Director for Africa and Representative at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa; Chair of the Interfaith Peace-building Initiative CC in Addis Ababa

Professor David T. Ives, International Steering Committee member, Middle Powers Initiative; Executive Director of the Albert Schweitzer Institute, Quinnipiac University, Connecticut

Dr. Abraham Karickam (India), URI South Zone Coordinator for India

The Honorable Secretary William J. Perry, former Secretary of Defense under President Bill Clinton; Senior Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution 

Hiro Sakurai, Soka Gokkai International representative to the United Nations

The Honorable Secretary George P. Shultz, former Secretary of State and Chairman of the President's Economic Policy Advisory Board under President Ronald Reagan

Rev. Tyler Wigg Stevenson, Board of Directors, Global Security Institute; Founder and Director, Two Futures Projects

The Rt. Rev. William E. Swing, President and Founder, United Religions Initiative; retired Episcopal Bishop of California 

Dr. William F. Vendley, Secretary General of Religions for Peace

Monica Willard, URI Representative at the United Nations


About United Religions Initiative

URI is a global grassroots interfaith network that cultivates peace and justice by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities and the world. Voices for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons CC is one of 871 member groups and organizations, called Cooperation Circles, that engage in community action such as conflict resolution and reconciliation, environmental sustainability, education, women's and youth programs, and advocacy for human rights. URI's networks spans over 100 countries.

URI is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization which relies solely on individual contributions to further its global efforts. Please consider making a donation.