U.S. Church Leaders Issue Statement on Iraq
- March 20 - On behalf of Churches for Middle East Peace, the
following statement was issued by Fr. Stan DeBoe, chair, and Corinne
Whitlatch, director. The full text follows:
Middle East Peace deeply regrets the decision by the United States
and other nations to begin military action against Iraq. We are
concerned about the injury and loss of life of U.S. personnel
who have been deployed to the region and of the Iraqi people who
once again suffer the devastating effects of war.
In the midst
of these horrific events, our prayers are with our brothers and
sisters in the Middle East. Mindful of God's will for peace and
justice on earth, we pledge our efforts to work actively for peace
and to urge the U.S. government to:
-- bring hostilities
to a swift end, -- take measures to protect civilians and non-combatants,
-- abide by the Geneva Conventions and international law in the
conduct of war and in its aftermath, -- support efforts to alleviate
the humanitarian crisis that will result from the war, -- support
multilateral measures under the leadership of the United Nations
to rebuild Iraq and protect the Iraqi people, -- bolster regional
arms control measures following the war, and -- provide concrete
and immediate leadership to the process of establishing a viable
Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel.
We pray that
the leaders of our nation and the nations of the world will have
compassion and wisdom. We join the members of our churches in
praying for the safety of United States servicemen and women and
for the safety of the people of Iraq. We call upon members of
our churches to act in a manner consistent with their faith and
conscience to foster peace in the Middle East.
As a people
of faith, we believe that God calls us to paths of peace rooted
in mercy and justice. In the midst of conflict, violence, and
death, we will not stray from that path. Instead, we recommit
ourselves to God's vision of peace and will strive to build a
world of greater understanding, compassion and care, until we
can live without the threat of war and all people can live in
Formed in 1984,
Churches for Middle East Peace is a Washington-based program of
the American Friends Service Committee, Catholic Conference of
Major Superiors of Men's Institutes, Christian Church (Disciples
of Christ), Church of the Brethren, Church World Service, Episcopal
Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Franciscan Mission
Service, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Maryknoll
Missioners, Mennonite Central Committee, National Council of Churches,
Presbyterian Church (USA), Reformed Church in America, Unitarian
Universalist Association, United Church of Christ, and the United
Methodist Church. For further information, see http://www.cmep.org.
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