Kids Ask Senators Not to Join the Bad Guys Team – The Story of the Arms Trade Treaty

It’s a tried and true adage that we are known by the company we keep.  The same is true for our leaders.  Over Easter, the U.S. brought the world together to adopt the first ever international Arms Trade Treaty.  The only opposition to this historic treaty came from the dictatorships of Iran, Syria, and North Korea – definitely not the kind of company the U.S. wants to be keeping.  On Monday, June 3rd the treaty becomes open for signatures by world leaders and will go into effect once 50 countries have signed.  President Obama is set to sign the treaty later this summer, but a handful of Senators of both parties – lead by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), are vocally opposing the treaty.

That’s why the American Values Network came out with this video:

There are also versions for Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Michael Enzi (R-WY), James Inhofe (R-OK), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), and Max Baucus (D-MT).

On it’s merits alone, the Arms Trade Treaty should be a slam dunk for any U.S. Senator to support.  Prior to it’s adoption, states were left to self-regulate, creating a patch work of laws with loopholes in some cases big enough to drive a tank through – literally.  Arms smugglers were able to take advantage of these loopholes to flood black and grey markets with illicit weapons that ended up in the hands of terrorists, warlords, and drug smugglers and have been used against our soldiers and aid workers.  That’s why the treaty is backed by humanitarian groups, the Pentagon, Vatican, World Evangelical Alliance, National Council of Churches, and countless generals, admirals, missions groups and pastors.

This brings us to the second reason U.S. Senators should unanimously back the Arms Trade Treaty – politics.  When the option is to keep company with pastors, military leaders, and humanitarians or Iran, Syria, and North Korea, the choice should be a no brainer.  Hopefully with time these Senators will realize this and do the right thing.

About Rachel Johnson

Rachel Johnson serves as Director of External Communications at The Riverside Church in the City of New York. She is an ordained Baptist minister who has spent her career working at the intersection of faith and the public sphere. Rachel holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and a MAR in Theology from Yale Divinity School. Rachel has worked with churches, non-profits, denominational groups, and political organizations to develop strategic outreach campaigns on a wide range of issues, including creation care and climate change, nuclear security, human rights, international development and peace building, domestic poverty, healthcare, and the intersection of faith in the public sphere. Follow her on Twitter at @rachelnoelj