Petition 81347

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Space Free of Weapons (81347-C1-R9999)

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Space has been called “the final frontier.”  For the past 50 years, nations with the technological ability have been entering and utilizing space in many ways.  Some of the uses of space, such as providing better models of earth’s weather patterns, more rapid and reliable global communications, and the general gaining of knowledge, are providing beneficial results.
Other possibilities exist which may not be as beneficial. Plans for basing weapons in space are being proposed and developed.  Among these are Vision for 2020, U. S. Space Command 1997 and The Air Force Strategic Master Plan for FY06 and Strategic Master Plan FY06 and Beyond, Air Force Space Command.
An early effort for space-based weaponry is the Missile Shield Defense System.  The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) was proposed as a vision in 1983 and launched two years later with a request for $26 billion to support the program for a five year period.  Even adjusting for inflation this amount is greater than that used in the Manhattan Project to create the atomic bomb.
This system and its later versions have not proven to be reliable but they are still being considered by the United States and possibly other nations.
Any weapons based in space, by any nation, would spur other nations to change their defense posture so that the time available to make a decision to retaliate or strike due to a perceived threat would be shortened.  This would heighten the danger that mistaken strikes could be made.
Therefore, be it resolved,  that the General Conference of the United Methodist Church calls upon the United States and all nations with the technical and economic capability for developing weapons for the “arming of space” to cease any and all such plans.  We call on these nations, under the guidance of the United Nations, to enter into serious negotiations to establish a verifiable global treaty to keep space weapons-free; and
Be it further resolved that the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church communicate this concern to the appropriate legislative committees of the U. S. Congress, to the President, to the Vice-President, to the Secretary of Defense, to the Secretary of State, and to the United States Ambassador to the United Nations.