Christian Peace Movement

May 13, 1983

Report Outline
Surge in American Activism
Church and State Conflicts
European Church Protests
Special Focus

Surge in American Activism

Churches' Nuclear Protests This Spring

Concern about the threat of nuclear annihilation has grown mightily in religious communities since the faltering of U.S.-Soviet arms control negotiations at the end of the 1970s. During the past two years just about every mainline church in the United States has debated some kind of resolution or statement on the arms race. While some people may dismiss such resolutions as just words, President Reagan and his advisers take the churches seriously and have made a concerted effort to win support from religious leaders.

Administration officials seem even more alarmed about the situation in several European countries, where church activists have become a big part of the rapidly growing peace movement. If the United States tries to deploy new medium-range missiles in Europe next fall, there are sure to be massive demonstrations, and many of the demonstrators will be Protestants, Catholics and Jews motivated by religious and moral convictions.

This spring, numerous events attest to the central position the nuclear arms race has come to assume in the Christian conscience. On May 2–3, after nearly two years of deliberation and debate, the American Catholic bishops met in Chicago and adopted a statement calling for a “halt” in the nuclear arms race. In the form of a pastoral letter to the nation's 51 million Catholics, it urges them to help rid the world of nuclear weaponry. The United Presbyterian Church, urging that Christians should, like Jesus, be peacemakers, helped the National Council of Churches send a group of Americans to Moscow to celebrate the Orthodox Easter on May 8 with Russian Christians. The group took along handmade presents donated by 80 U.S. congregations as a token of good will to Russian religious communities.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Protest Movements and Counter Culture
Aug. 28, 1998  Student Activism
Jan. 04, 1991  The Growing Influence of Boycotts
Aug. 22, 1986  Student Politics 1980s Style
May 13, 1983  Christian Peace Movement
Apr. 08, 1970  Politics and Youth
Nov. 19, 1969  Challenges for The 1970s
Aug. 21, 1968  Reorganization of the Universities
Jan. 10, 1968  Universities and the Government
Jan. 03, 1968  Peace Movements in American Politics
Oct. 12, 1966  Alienated Youth
Feb. 24, 1966  Protest Movements in Time of War
May 19, 1965  Campus Unrest
Aug. 14, 1963  Mass Demonstrations
Dec. 11, 1957  Student Movements
Aug. 17, 1939  Conscientious Objection to War
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Christianity
Religious Movements
War and Conflict