An Open Message of Concern, Solidarity, and Peace from Our President

April 15, 2017 ~ ABSW

To All ABSW Korean Students, Staff, Faculty, Trustees, and Alums:

While tensions on the Korean peninsula are decades old, recent events and statements have not only brought those difficulties into sharp relief, but alarmingly reintroduced the threat of nuclear holocaust to the escalating moment. Given the near adolescent bellicosity of the principal players in this confrontation, we all have reason to be alarmed. The growing nuclear weapons capability of North Korea and the increasingly confrontational and militaristic actions of our own government have given rise to fear and concern in every corner of the world, but perhaps nowhere greater than among those who live in Korea or who have families who do.

Today is Good Friday. It is a time when every Christian is painfully reminded of how the Prince of Peace was crucified in a time of suspicion, fear, and ignorance. We who would be Christ’s disciples are called to reflect upon and be ever-mindful of his crucifixion, seeing its message as not mere history, but as a present reality. Thus, we cannot remain silent as our Korean brothers and sisters tremble in anxiety while their nations posture and flex with such horrific weapons at the ready.

The possession of nuclear weapons, to threaten their use, or to actually do so is to play God, which is a sin. It is not only an act of unparalleled hubris, but it is to assume equivalency with the Creator of humankind. Those who are forced to live under the ominous cloud of such sinfulness suffer in untold ways. The nuclear presence and its implication of massive death and destruction only lead to psychic numbing and a disease of pessimism about the future. When leaders of nations with such weapons then threaten their actual use, the anxiety it produces is cancerous to the very fabric of that nation’s culture and identity, for the reality is that whoever is so foolish to use nuclear weapons condemns their nation to a devastating counter-attack. A generation ago we called it a deterrent and named it mutually-assured destruction (MAD). It was more than a theory then and it is more than a theory now. Its fatal flaw, of course, was that MAD assumed the other side would act rationally. We understand that flaw now, better perhaps than we ever have. We are acutely aware of the presence and consequence of irrational actors.

We must give witness to our faith. Thus, we condemn the development of any nuclear weapon. We condemn our complicity and lack of moral persuasiveness as a possessor of these weapons who would rail against others having them. It is we who made them the hallmark of power. In all cases we condemn the threat to use them, for in such threats any claim to being a wise and responsible possessor is erased.

We must give witness to our faith. We offer our compassion, concern and care to all who are forced to live and breathe in the atmosphere of nuclear threats. May God hold you tenderly and grant you courage.
Today, Good Friday, we stand in the shadow of the Gethsemane and commit to work and pray for peace, knowing that resurrection is possible.

Rev. Nick Carter
President for the Interim
on behalf of the faculty
American Baptist Seminary of the West at
The Graduate Theological Union