Mar 162013
 

Contact: Jim Wetekam, Media Director Churches for Middle East Peace 202-543-4150, jim@cmep.org

Prior to Secretary Powell’s UN Address,

U.S. Church Leaders Urge No U.S. War Against Iraq

 (WASHINGTON, February 4, 2003) American church leaders again urged President Bush today to work through the United Nations to avert a U.S.-led war with Iraq.  Speaking through a coalition of Catholic, Protestant, and Unitarian church organizations in Washington, DC, the church spokespeople stated in a letter to the President, “The threat posed by Iraq is best contained by the inspections, preventing any significant advance in the development, proliferation, and/or deployment of weapons of mass destruction.”

 Corinne Whitlatch, executive director of the coalition Churches for Middle East Peace, called today’s appeal to the President “one more attempt by U.S. Christians to lend a moral and faith-based voice to the policy debate and to try to prevent this unnecessary war.  U.S. military action now would represent a perilous turn in U.S. foreign policy – and may have the opposite effect from its intent.  It could dangerously destabilize the region and heighten the overall threat to U.S. citizens.”

Whitlatch said that coalition members had met in January with a senior official at the National Security Council but had received no indication that the U.S. would exhaust all diplomatic means in its pursuit of Iraqi disarmament nor a reassurance that the U.S. would abide by the wishes of the U.N. Security Council.  “That is why,” she continued, “we feel compelled to write this letter on the day before Secretary Powell’s address at the U.N.”

The letter to President Bush follows an appeal to him organized last September by the coalition on behalf of 52 church leaders.  This has been followed by countless prayer vigils, ads, press conferences, and other efforts by members of these same churches throughout the country in an effort to reverse the rush to war.  Today’s letter clearly states the church leaders’ belief that “the Iraqi leader has greatly abused his power and his people.  The Iraqi people deserve better.  …Rather than liberating Iraq from tyranny, however, we believe that military action against the government of Saddam Hussein and the aftermath of war would bring increased suffering for multitudes of innocent people in Iraq and beyond.”

The church leaders also appealed to the President in terms of the potential threat to U.S. national security that may result from an invasion of Iraq.  “We are convinced,” they say, “that a U.S.-led war with Iraq, particularly if undertaken without U.N. Security Council approval, would intensify anti-American sentiment in many parts of the world and heighten the threat to Americans and American interests at home and abroad.”  

Fr. Stan DeBoe, chair of Churches for Middle East Peace, concluded, “We are a diverse coalition of churches, but we all agree that the moral course is to use the inspections and peaceful diplomacy in order to contain Iraq’s development and use of weaponry.  There is no compelling reason now to risk U.S. lives nor to destroy the lives and families of so many Iraqis.”

The full text of the letter to the President and its signers can be found at www.cmep.org/letters/2003Feb4.htm.

 

The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip in 2003

 

 

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