Episcopal Bishop John T. Walker of Washington told a congressional hearing on military spending last week that planning for nuclear war is "unconscionable" and warned that the United States is "building our fortress of safety on the backs of those who are the weakest among us."
Nuclear war "will not provide for the common defense, it will reduce us to rubble," the churchman said. "Taking food, clothing and shelter away from the needy will cause dislocation and unrest, it will not insure domestic tranquility," he said of cuts in federal poverty programs.
Asserting that "there is no such thing as an acceptable continuing nuclear war," Walker said that "our nation should be leading the world in efforts to find alternatives to military solutions" instead of escalating the nuclear weapons race.
"The first step in that essential direction is a nuclear arms freeze and cut in the military budget to make possible an increase in the national spending for human needs," he continued.
Walker called the effects of last year's tax cuts "the Robin Hood story in reverse." He said that "in the 32 percent of U.S. households with incomes below $11,500 there is an income loss of $8 billion; for the 6.5 percent of all households making over $47,000 there is a gain of $9.2 billion." He added that "no conceivable swell of charity on the part of the churches" and other private agencies can make up that deficit.
Inner-city churches here "are beginning to be overwhelmed by hungry desperate people," he said, adding that in one such parish, the number of requests for emergency groceries "has tripled since January 1981, and the number of hungry people coming for that parish's meals program has more than doubled."