RUSI, the military think tank, have a history of organising arms-sponsored conferences in Church House, a conference centre which raises money for the Church of England and under the care of the Archbish. The CofE’s investment policy rules out arms manufacturers, so we’re baffled as to why they’re happy to host a conference sponsored by weapons makers let alone profit from it.
Two years ago, there was a conference about “The Future of Air Power”, to which many people objected:
However, despite many letters, newspaper articles and general nonviolent fist-waving, they’re hosting TWO MORE. The first is tomorrow, on the wonderful theme of “Land Warfare”. More info on their website.
Join FoR, Pax Christi, Christianity Uncut, Ekklesia and CAAT Christian Network on Tuesday 24th June at 8am for a silent prayer vigil to welcome the delegates to the two-day conference.
We’ve written to various people in charge of bookings at Church House, so let’s hope they decide to cancel the Air Power conference on 9th-10th July. Its sponsors include (you couldn’t make this stuff up) BAE, Lockheed Martin, Finmeccanica and General Atomics. Looks like it’ll be about drones, then.
The arms trade supports conferences like this in order to push for more military intervention and “security” rather than funding nonviolent methods of conflict transformation. While we recognise the humanity of each and every arms dealer, their profession has no place in a house of prayer.
Symon Hill, Christian activist and author of Digital Revolutions: Activism in the Internet Age commented:
“Two years ago, thousands of people, including many Anglicans, voiced their dismay at the willingness of Church House to host an arms dealers’ conference. I met with a senior member of Church House staff and shared my concerns. Now, it’s happening again. The Christian Church cannot be neutral in the face of sins such as militarism and the arms trade. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, resisted injustice with active nonviolence. Let’s seek to give our loyalty to the Kingdom of God and the Gospel of Love, not the idols of money and militarism.”
COME AND JOIN THE VIGIL!