In Their Own Words
The heads of more than 60 Christian organizations issued a statement opposing a preemptive war on both moral and practical grounds. They included leaders of Bush’s and Blair’s own denominations — the United Methodist Church and the Church of England, respectively — as well as other major Protestant groups, Catholic men’s and women’s orders, humanitarian agencies and seminaries.
In religious circles, the antiwar voices are vastly outnumbering the those in favor of a war. Forty-eight Christian leaders, including the heads of the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the United Church of Christ and the National Baptist Convention, an African-American denomination, have sent a letter to the president opposing military action.
We oppose on moral grounds the United States taking further military action against Iraq now. The Iraqi people have already suffered enough through more than two decades of war and severe economic sanctions. Military action against the government of Saddam Hussein and its aftermath could result in a large number of civilians being killed or wounded, as well as increasing the suffering of multitudes of innocent people.
The government’s hopes of achieving consensus for a pre-emptive war against Iraq were dealt a blow last night when the bishops of the Church of England significantly hardened their opposition. In a submission to the Commons foreign affairs select committee, the bishops say: “To undertake a preventive war against Iraq at this juncture would be to lower the threshold for war unacceptably.”
“They’re not fanatics or anything like that – they’re just church people, farmers, business people, ministers, young people, old people, men, women just feeling grave concern and feeling somewhat powerless in the
face of all the saber-rattling that’s going on,” Reverend McCray said.
Fifty-one heads of American Protestant and Orthodox churches and organizations and of Roman Catholic religious orders today announced opposition to U.S. military action against Iraq. In a letter to President Bush, the church leaders acknowledged that “Mr. Hussein poses a threat to his neighbors and to his own people, [but] we nevertheless believe it is wrong, as well as detrimental to U.S. interests” to launch an attack on Iraq.
At the time of publication, the member denominations of the Minnesota Council of Churches who have publicly declared opposition to immediate war with Iraq include: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), the Episcopal Church (ECUSA), the United Church of Christ, and the Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ). Other state councils of churches who have taken similar stands include those in California, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.