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DECEMBER 17, 1998   3:33 PM
General Board of Church and Society The United Methodist Church
Shanta M. Bryant
(202) 488-5630
Cease the US-British Bombing of Iraq
WASHINGTON - December 17 -

This is a statement of Thom White Wolf Fassett, general secretary of the General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church.

The General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church must, once again, strongly condemn the United States-British bombing, beginning Dec. 16, against the people and government of Iraq. We call upon US President Bill Clinton to cease this bombing, which we consider as an act of war. The United Methodist policy on war is clear: The United Methodist Church believes war is "incompatible with the teachings and example of Christ." Therefore, the Church "reject[s] war as an instrument of national foreign policy and insist[s] that the first moral duty of all nations is to resolve by peaceful means every dispute that arises between or among them; that human values must outweigh military claims . . ." (United Methodist Social Principles, •69.C).

Our concern and prayers are with the Iraqi people. They have been oppressed by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, a despot leader intent on the genocide of his own people, as well as the United States and other nations who have contributed to the mounting death toll of Iraqi citizens. Previous bombings and punitive international sanctions have failed to force the Iraqi government to comply with  international and United Nations disarmament efforts. Further violent actions by the US and other governments will serve no purpose other than denying the possibility of peace in a season commemorating, for the Christian world, the coming of Jesus Christ, the Peace Maker.

The bombing raises serious questions about why such an attack is warranted now after so much pain has already been inflicted on the Iraqi people. Diplomatic means have been utilized by the United States and the international community to address similar concerns with North Korea and Israel, who are also suspected of developing weapons of mass destruction. Why do we continue to seek the selective enforcement of US/international will on one nation when others, with equally dangerous weapons, are treated deferentially?

US congressional leaders need to set aside their partisan conflicts and address the moral and ethical conduct of a nation in the context of war and international affairs. The bombing of Iraq is a matter of international disgrace that reaches far beyond narrow partisan interests.

During these high holy days for Muslims, Christians and Jews, we invite all people of faith to:

• Pray for an immediate end to this war against the Iraqi people. 

• Urge their governments to hear their opposition to this devastating action.

• Mobilize humanitarian relief for the Iraqi people.

• Demand for non-violent means to achieve international disarmament.


Only General Conference speaks for the entire denomination. The General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church is denomination’s the international social action agency.



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