Urgent Call to Action: Embracing the Goals and Provision of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Unitarian Universalist Association calls on the United States to lead a global effort to prevent nuclear war by adopting a number of provisions in current US Congressional proposals. This stands on the UU 6th Principle: The Goal of World Community with Peace, Liberty, and Justice for All.

Proposed by: Bob Warner, partnering with over 400 health, environmental, academic, peace, faith, and justice organizations support this movement, as well as resolutions approved by over 50 municipalities, including the cities of Los Angeles, Baltimore, Salt Lake City, and Washington DC, and the states of California and Oregon.

This proposed Action of Immediate Witness (AIW) is consistent with the theology and expression of UU and virtually all its principles, particularly the 6th principle: The Goal of World Community with Peace, Liberty, and Justice for All.

In 1969, a Business Resolution passed the Statement of Consensus on the United Nations. It stated, in part, “We hail the initial steps on the long road to general and complete disarmament: the establishment of a hot-line, nuclear-free zones in Antarctica, Latin America, and outer space, the partial test-ban treaty, and the non-proliferation treaty.”

In 2010, the UU Peace Ministry Statement of Conscience stated, in part, “We support international efforts to curtail the vast world trade in armaments and call for nuclear disarmament and abolition of other weapons of mass destruction.”

In 2021, the UU Peace and Nuclear Disarmament Network summarized that, “There have been 13 past Statements of Conscience and Actions of Immediate Witness, along with countless letters and sign-ons by the UUA opposing nuclear weapons over a span of many years. The grounding in our seven principles for this resistance to nuclear weapons is clear.”

January 2023: There is now an opportunity to support a Resolution within the United States Congress to actualize the goals and concerns expressed previously by UU actions. Specifically, House Resolution #77: Embracing the goals and provisions of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which currently has the support of 26 members of Congress.

As the threat of nuclear annihilation is currently the greatest threat to our planet and all life forms, and there is a movement within our Congress to prevent nuclear holocaust as put forward in House Resolution #77: “Embracing the Goals and Provision of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, it is incumbent upon UU to unite with this Resolution and update our Statement of Consensus.

Now more than ever, the United States needs to change our nuclear weapons policies. In January 2023, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists set the Doomsday clock to 90 seconds to midnight – the closest it has ever been. But instead of fulfilling obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to move in good faith toward eliminating our nuclear arsenal, the U.S. and other nuclear nations are building new, enhanced nuclear weapons.

This following resolution is in large part crafted by the “Back from the Brink” movement (www.preventnuclearwar.org) and provides an opportunity to partner with this movement and other organizations supporting world peace and denuclearization. The Unitarian Universalist Association is listed as a current endorser; however, this AIW is brought forward to make individual UU congregations aware of the current urgency of the nuclear threat situation, the existence of House Resolution #77 and the need for individual, as well as congregational, support.

Whereas, nine nations collectively have approximately 13,100 nuclear weapons in their arsenals, most of which are far more destructive than those that killed hundreds of thousands of people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945; and,

Whereas, the detonation of even a small number of these weapons could have catastrophic human and environmental consequences that could affect everyone on the planet; and,

Whereas, the United States maintains several hundred nuclear missiles in underground silos on hair-trigger alert, capable of being launched within minutes after a presidential order, which greatly increases the risk of an accidental, mistaken or unauthorized launch; and,

Whereas, the United States continues to reserve the right to use nuclear weapons first, which reduces the threshold for nuclear use and makes a nuclear war more likely; and,

Whereas, the U.S. president has the sole and unchecked authority to order the use of nuclear weapons; and,

Whereas, the world-wide climate emergency, the COVID-19 pandemic, and recent racial justice uprisings have highlighted the need for greater investment in our healthcare system and our communities; and,

Whereas, over the next 30 years, the United States plans to spend an estimated $1.7 trillion to replace its entire nuclear arsenal and the bombers, missiles and submarines that deliver them with more capable, more usable versions; and,

Whereas, U.S. taxpayers spend over $2 million every hour of every day to maintain the U.S. nuclear arsenal; and

Whereas, a grassroots movement called “Back from the Brink: Bringing Communities Together to Abolish Nuclear Weapons” has been endorsed by over 400 health, environmental, academic, peace, faith, and justice organizations and has resulted in resolutions approved by over 50 municipalities, including the cities of Los Angeles, Baltimore, Salt Lake City, and Washington DC, as well as the states of California and Oregon; and,

Whereas, the United States, as well as Britain, China, France and Russia, are obligated under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to take concrete steps toward eliminating their nuclear arsenals; and

Whereas, in July 2017, 122 nations approved the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which entered into force on January 22, 2021 making it illegal under international law to develop, test, produce, manufacture, or otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices;

Therefore, the Unitarian Universalist Association calls on the United States to lead a global effort to prevent nuclear war by:

  • actively pursuing a verifiable agreement among nuclear-armed states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals;
  • renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons first;
  • ending the sole, unchecked authority of any U.S. president to launch a nuclear attack;
  • taking U.S. nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert; and
  • cancelling the plan to replace the entire U.S. arsenal with enhanced weapons.

And, be it further resolved that Unitarian Universalists congregations join over 456 other peace groups and call on the United States to embrace the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and encourage congregants to write to their Congressional Representatives, send Letters to the Editors, use social media to bring awareness to this threat to life, and employ all other peaceful means to bring bipartisan support for passage of House Resolution #77.

:page_facing_up: Download as a PDF

1 Like

Peace and Blessings, All.

I HOPE YOU WILL CONSIDER VOTING FOR THIS AIW PROPOSAL. Our view is that the nuclear threat situation is more dire than at ANY time in world history.

This Action proposal targets the specific moment available with a Congressional Resolution ALREADY introduced, but desperately needing bi-partisan legitimacy and additional co-sponsors. Any bill or resolution with co-sponsors from only one party is doomed to inaction. Nuclear inhalation is not a “political issue” - it is a morale and human survival decision. Frankly, all the other AIW proposals - all of which are excellent and I support - will not matter if the doomsday clock goes from its current 90 seconds to zero.

A second high-value benefit of this action is the resultant financial resources that would be available for the many humanitarian and social needs of our Nation - all of which are embodied in the UUA Principles.

Thank you for your consideration.

1 Like

The word “theology” has its roots in the Greek word “theos”, which means “god”. While I agree in principle with the values underlying this AIW, the word “theology” doesn’t belong here. In fact UUism doesn’t subscribe to a theology.

1 Like

Hello Vicky! Thank you for taking the time to read our AIW proposal and comment.

We are somewhat new (3 years) to UU, so clearly, I will need to study UUism further based on your comment about theology. We DO understand this is a "covenant-based, not “creed-based” community. One of the things that draws us to it.

Because of our newness, we were very careful to follow the guidelines for submissions. They stated:

"An AIW proposal must meet all of the following:
1- Pertain to an issue that requires immediate action.
2- Call on UUA member congregations and groups to take specific meaningful action.
3- Present an opportunity for member congregations to build partnerships and/or act in solidarity with marginalized groups beyond and within the Association.
4- Be grounded in UU theology and practice.
5- Be crafted in anti-oppressive and inclusive language that is conducive to justice.

Therefore, we did our best to follow these guideline.

Hope you will consider voting for our proposal.

All The Best ~
Bob W


Thanks. I didn’t realize that was a thing now. I knew that theology was an aspect of UUism back when it was Christian. I didn’t realize that the definition of “theology” had been expanded for our purposes. Carry on! :slight_smile:

That language has actually been used for some time; I agree, I don’t see myself as having a theology, more a philosophy if anything, but I appreciate that the more religious among us are comfortable with the word.

I agree that we are at a scary time in terms of the potential for nuclear war. We were fortunate to have Veterans for Peace’ Golden Rule visit Jersey City on their way up the East Coast; stopping nuclear weapons is extremely important.

As a long time UU I was humbled by the question about whether UUism has something we call “theology.” I googled it and found a lovely UUWorld editorial by Forrest Church written in November 2001: “Universalism: A theology for the 21st Century.” I tend to forget the Universalism aspect of our heritage.

The link is: Universalism: A theology for the 21st century | UU World Magazine

I ahven’t read it all, but this paragraph really stood out so far:

Given our commitment to pluralism, Unitarian Universalism should represent the
perfect laboratory for modeling amity in a world rife with passions that stem from
differences of belief. Often, however, we too muster more passion for that which
divides us than we do for all that unites us. We must ask ourselves this: If, in our
communities of faith, we find it difficult to unite under the banner of one over
arching sympathy, how can we hope to counter the fundamentalisms of the right and
left? How can we presume to contest theologies that divide, not unite, the human
family, without a uniting passion of our own, without a deep, shared commitment to
our own first principles?


How wonderful that you visited the GOLDEN RULE. We hope to visit it in August when it is on Lake Michigan. May Peace Prevail on Earth

Bob Warner, AIW proponent here. The discussion provoked by my use of the word “theology” (as prescribed in the application guidelines) has been interesting and educational for me.

I am also interested in your thoughts on the proposal calling for action on decentralization.

May Peace Prevail on Earth

Yeah, it was a very rainy day, so we huddled under umbrellas with a pop-up tent for speakers/singers, but it was so great to be with like-minded folks and to see the intrepid little boat


I agree with you, Bob. Unless we get nuclear war and the environment right, NOTHING else matters. There are 2 AIWs that address these issues.

However, I’m torn. What is happening in Atlanta City right now needs immediate attention so I feel I must vote for that. But the issue with Dreamers is also very “right now” with people being deported or threatened with deportation.

All of the AIWs are such good places to put our energy. How does one decide?

It’s not easy—and there is nothing to say that the drafts that are not passed cannot be used at home anyway. Even if an issue appeals to your community but does not make the final 3, the concerns are still valid and action still needed. What passage does is alert UUA staff of a preferred position should they be called on to address an AIW topic; it is good to take to influencers (legislators, NGO leaders, etc.) as an official statement of the UUA GA (even years later), etc. Implementation is decentralized.

Thx for sharing, Sally.

Hi Hank. THX for your comment. All points well taken…and, all AIWs are worthy of consideration by the delgates at GA.

DACA and Cop City DO feel “immediate.” Nuclear holocaust - like the climate “situation” - always “feel” like some thing to be dealt with “down the road.” Both total destruction of human’s journey on the planet. One with a simple trigger-finger act and one slow moving. Procrastination on both are the way politicians deal with them.

Vote YOUR conscious - any vote is the right one for YOU!


Bob and Co-sponsors:
Please reflect upon the fact that the UUA Article II Revised text deletes entirely the 6th Principle (“The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all.”) Moreover, nowhere in the new text do the words “peace” or “liberty” appear.
The many veterans of the UU Service Committee would be dismayed.