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Who Will Love the City After a Nuclear Attack?

Who Will Love the City After a Nuclear Attack?

If history and our own resurrection hope bear out, it will be the Christians.

God's mandate through the prophet Jeremiah has become something of a mantra for evangelicals serving their cities: "seek the shalom of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper" (Jer. 29:7). If you read between the lines of the command, however, you find the implicit traces of an adversary who seeks the city's ruin. This spiritual enemy takes concrete forms: poverty, substance addiction, codified injustice, racism and segregation, educational inequality, food deserts, and all their diabolic colleagues. Those of us who love cities fight such devils because they pursue our cities' devastation.

In the legion of urban adversaries, however, there is nothing quite like the nuclear bomb. This is certainly not to say that nuclear weapons are the most pressing threat to every city. But nuclear weapons are, in their way, the damnable apotheosis of all that hates the city. Their destructive power, orders of magnitude greater than most conventional explosives, is useless in tactical military situations that require targeting and discrimination. What they are singularly capable of, especially in an era of global terrorism, is killing hundreds of thousands of people living in concentrated proximity to each other—i.e., a city.

Four years ago, I founded the Two Futures Project to help prevent this kind of catastrophe by galvanizing American evangelicals' support for the global and verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons. Our rationale is based in the conviction, widely held by top security experts across the partisan spectrum, that the continued existence of nuclear weapons will guarantee their eventual use—and that their abolition is the only alternative.

In the course of working for prevention, however, the need for preparedness has also become apparent, because history is not in our hands. Toward this end, we recently debuted KnowShelter.com—a simple and compelling resource that will, in less than five minutes, teach anyone most of what they need to do after a nuclear terrorist attack.


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Displaying 1–5 of 6 comments

E Harris

December 18, 2011  6:42pm

It is also important to know what to do in the event of a nuclear strike, here or elsewhere. Because that may be the world that we are entering into. But rather than aim our efforts at disabling all nukes (ain't gonna happen)... we should take that effort and WARN about nukes, and let people know the solution: Jesus Christ. The solution is to proclaim the united peace that can only happen through respect toward individuals... and Jesus Christ (an individual Who came as the image of the Father, and then allowed himself to be sacrificed for his enemies) is the only way to lead men toward brotherly love. It is the message of Jesus Christ (Who He Is) that is the solution to war.

E Harris

December 18, 2011  6:37pm

Tyler, I also fear nuclear weapons as you do. But it is impossible to wind back the clock. The technology is out there...and as long as you have large corporations or large state governments... you will have people developing nuclear weapons. They CAN'T be rolled back, because the interests perpetuating them are too large. But there WILL come a day when our swords are beat into plowshares, and people will learn war no more. WHY? Because the kings of the earth will be brought into submission to Christ, as more and more of their populations are FREELY CONVERTED into Christ's body. Look at it this way: what if Hitler or the USSR had nuclear weapons, and the US never did? Do you think that HITLER or the USSR would have shown as much restraint as the US has????? No. Because the ideology that is in the HEART of PEOPLE matters most. It's the finger that holds the trigger that we must find a way to witness to. Not the trigger. There is practically no way to avoid nuclear disaster, aside from the checks & balances between nations, at this point. The only other alternative (that will ultimately win) is missionary activity aimed at people's hearts.

Christian Lawyer

December 18, 2011  10:28am

What we DON'T need is a single-issue group out there confusing people. We don't need people "standing in the gap." We need people to work within the emergency preparedness system that the government already coordinates. We take our emergency preparedness very seriously in my state of Florida and this is the sort of civil defense that is precisely what we should encourage the government to do properly. Contrary to the claim that "nothing is being done" to prepare the public for a nuclear attack, the KnowShelter website itself links to a 135-page document put out in 2010 by the National Security Staff Interagency Policy Coordination Subcommittee for Preparedness & Response to Radiological and Nuclear Threats, which states, just as the KnowShelter group advocates, that "Without pre-incident knowledge, people will be more likely to follow the natural instinct to run from danger, potentially exposing themselves to fatal doses of radiation that could have been avoided by sheltering. Planners must foster a public that is informed and empowered to make effective decisions for the safety of themselves and those around them." That's precisely why federal, state, and local emergency preparedness officials have, in the almost 20 years since Hurricane Andrew, been teaching about which threats/disasterws require evacuation and which threats/disasters require "sheltering in place." If you think the coordinated system could be improved, then get involved in that system. It encourages public-private partnerships. But, to falsely claim that "nothing is being done" is just irresponsible.


December 16, 2011  4:21pm

Raymond and E Harris, thanks for your engagement, and I do hope you'll share Know Shelter with your communities. Unfortunately, nuclear weapons are no defense against nuclear terrorists, who cannot be deterred. This is why such a wide variety of national security experts -- like George Shultz, President Reagan's Secretary of State -- are at the vanguard of the campaign to abolish all nuclear weapons. You can see the op-eds he authored with Henry Kissinger, William Perry, and Sam Nunn here: http://twofuturesproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/WSJ-opeds.pd f Theologically speaking, either the Christian faith has something to say about the conduct of war and security, or it doesn't. I think the former. A brief summary of the theological rationale for elimination is here: http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/guestvoices/2010/04/why_conser vative_christians_should_support_a_21st_century_nuclear_security_agenda.htm l

E Harris

December 15, 2011  3:19pm

I agree with you, Raymond. Aside from preparedness...the best thing that we can do is ideologically oppose Islam and find ways to reach in with evangelistic faith in the God of the Scriptures. Bombs are bombs, guns are guns... what matters is the ideology and self-restraint of the hand that holds them!


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