Friends General Conference

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a Quaker meeting in Knoxville, Tennessee

Considering a Minute in Support of UN Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

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United Nations passed a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in 2017

West Knoxville Friends will take up a minute proposed by our Meeting's Peace & Social Concerns Committee in support of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons during second hour following silent worship and fellowship/refreshments time on Sunday, September 23, 2018.

PSC distributed a study paper on the matter during at our July business meeting. (See attached.) It reviews the historic Quaker peace testimony, the work of Friends Committee on National Legislation on nuclear disarmament, and actions taken by individual Quaker Meetings and other religious bodies and individuals for nuclear peace.

The study paper reads in part:

"So we come to the query for West Knoxville Friends, 'Where do we stand on nuclear disarmament?' 

Our Meeting has the distinction of being in closer proximity to the Y-12 National Security Complex ('Y-12 bomb plant') than any other Quaker Meeting.  Y-12 is managed and operated by a consortium of private corporate defense contractors including Bechtel.  It is massive and has a number of missions, but its primary focus is manufacturing secondaries and cases for nuclear weapons.  (Secondaries make the weapons into exponentially more powerful thermonuclear bombs.  Y-12 in Oak Ridge is the only facility in the US with the capacity to manufacture secondaries. --OREPA) [OREPA = Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance]

Presently, a new facility at Y-12—the Uranium Processing Facility, or UPF—costing at least $6.5 billion, is in the start-up phase.  Funding for the UPF is determined in large measure through decisions by a Senate appropriations subcommittee chaired by Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander. OREPA is leading efforts to make the funding processes transparent and the environmental impact studies legitimate, and ultimately to stop the new facility from being completed and becoming operational. 

What do we as individual Friends and as a Meeting feel led to do in regards to nuclear weapons in general and the Y-12 plant in particular?  Meeting identified 'militarism' and 'nuclear disarmament' among two of our seven priorities we recommended to FCNL for their national priorities.  Meeting includes OREPA in our annual list of non-Quaker benevolences and makes the Meeting House available for occasional OREPA meetings.  Some individual Friends from Meeting are members of OREPA, give individual donations, and participate in its events and campaigns.  Are these worthwhile ways of engaging sufficient, or should we be doing more?

The Peace & Social Concerns Committee along with the FCNL Letter Writing Group would like Meeting to consider writing a minute in support of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons."

PSC encourages Friends to prepare for our second hour both spiritually and by reviewing the study paper.