There’s a touching item at the World Council of Churches site this morning. Demonstrating yet again that the doctrine of sin is dead in conciliar circles, the WCC waxes poetic about a reduction in the threat from nuclear weapons that going to happen this year when Africa becomes a “nuclear weapon-free zone.” Yep, just like Berkeley:

Prepare for some good news in 2009. Despite the terrible start in Gaza and other endemic conflicts, governments committed to shared security are set to reach an historic milestone this year. Specifically, the number of countries protected by nuclear-weapon-free zones is set to jump to 110 countries from 56 at present.

The change will come from an African capital, like Windhoek or Bujumbura, as soon as two more governments ratify the treaty making Africa a nuclear-weapon-free zone. Churches are promoting the step, and linking Africa’s action to the need for similar progress in the Middle East.

“This will be good news on the nuclear front for Africa and the world,” notes Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat, a senior African statesman. Kiplagat is leading a World Council of Churches (WCC) initiative to help bring the Africa Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty into force, with church action nationally to support an international goal.

A recent ecumenical delegation to Namibia received a positive response from top government officials there. Ratification of the Africa treaty will mean that the whole southern hemisphere and adjoining regions are protected. Latin America and the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, the South Pacific and Central Asia have also set up zones that exclude nuclear arms and related activities.

Now, please don’t misunderstand me. No one is in favor of nuclear weapons. Even those who support their possession for deterrence reasons would rather that they not exist. Certainly no one wants to see them spread. And the “nuclear weapon-free zone” in Africa does no harm, not that anyone really thinks that Botswana or the Central African Republic were going to be developing nukes any time soon.

But what I find silly about this is the WCC acting as though it means that “the whole southern hemisphere and adjoining regions” will be “protected.” There’s obviously no threat of nuclear proliferation from nations that can barely keep their roads passable or their people fed. At the same time, this treaty can’t prevent either any of the current nuclear powers or a terrorist group that can get its hands on a weapon from using it within the region covered by the agreement. If al-Qaeda, for some bizarre reason, thought that setting off a dirty bomb in Addis Ababa (remember, Ethiopia is an “infidel” nation) would advance its agenda, does anyone really think that this treaty would stop them? Or if India or China, tired of having their ships hijacked by Somali pirates, thought that dropping a big one on Mogadishu would end piracy cost-free, that they wouldn’t do it? Or that Iran, once it gets nukes, will refrain from throwing its weight around in areas that have declared themselves “nuclear weapon-free zones,” or avoid proliferation in areas where its self-interest and diplomatic agreements clash? For that matter, does anyone at the WCC recall that North Korea was a signatory to the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty?

Specifically because human beings are sinful, selfish, often cruel and heartless creatures, paper treaties never provide more than a modicum of relief from the harsh realities of international relations. To say that more than half the globe’s surface will be “protected” from the nuclear threat because a treaty has gone into effect is to forget history and, more importantly, to forget human nature.

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