War in Iraq &
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PPF responds to the death of Osama bin Laden
What if we had responded to terrorism with courage and love,
instead of fear?
Presbyterian Peace Fellowship Email
Newsletter, May 3, 2011
On this day, reflecting on the death of Osama
bin Laden during a U.S. military operation in Pakistan, we turn
to Paul’s Letter to the Church in Rome . . .
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room
for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I
will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemies are hungry,
feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink;
for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads."
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans
On this day, we mourn the loss of life
experienced by so many on September 11, 2001, and we stand in
compassion with our sisters and brothers for whom that loss of
life remains a daily reality. We are deeply moved by the service
of so many who risked their own lives on that day and in the
days that followed.
On this day, aware that the wars in
Afghanistan and Iraq have now gone on for almost a decade, we
are keenly aware of the continued sacrifice borne by U.S.
families as tens of thousands of our soldiers have been wounded
On this day, we know of the suffering of
countless—truly countless—numbers of families in both of those
countries who also have lost loved ones because of the wars, or
who have been displaced by the violence, and whose lives will
never be the same again. We say, again, it is time to bring the
wars in Afghanistan and Iraq swiftly to an end, bring all U.S.
soldiers and military contractors home to their families, and
commit to the hard work of partnering to rebuild those
communities devastated by the wars.
On this day, with many other sisters and
brothers across our country and around the world, we dare to ask
. . .
|What might the world look like today
had we responded to our own fear with the courage to love those
of whom we are most afraid?|
|What if the billions upon billions of
dollars spent to wage war had been spent instead on food and
potable water and schools and development projects—the things
that make for peace?|
|What if we prepared our young people
to wage peace rather than to wage war?|
We follow the Prince of Peace. We are a people
of hope. We will seek common ground with sisters and brothers
who share our commitment to peace in all religious traditions.
Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, May 2, 2011
Two thoughtful reflections on the death of Osama bin Laden
Neiman, policy director at Just Foreign Policy, writes on
The War Is Over. Start Packing!
"We got our man. Wave the flag, kiss a nurse
(or a sailor) and start packing the equipment. It's time to plan
to bring all our boys and girls home from Afghanistan. When the
tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks rolls around, let the
world see that we are on a clear path to bringing home our
troops from Afghanistan and handing back sovereignty to the
After Bin Laden, People of Faith Must Transcend
a Baptist minister, and director of the religious studies
program at the University of Oklahoma, writes on
God’s Politics, a blog by “Jim Wallis and friends”
development highlights many critically important factors
that converge at the intersection of religion and politics
today. Two connected issues stand out for all of us who seek
a more healthy and hopeful future. First, we must recognize
that the conditions that helped create and sustain Osama bin
Laden’s extremism continue to exist: unrepresentative,
autocratic rulers in many predominantly Islamic lands,
perceived heavy-handed and predatory U.S. political,
military, and economic involvement in many of these same
countries, and the deep frustrations with the plight of
Palestinians after more than 40 years of military
occupation. While the vast majority of Arabs and Muslims
have rejected Bin Laden’s violent extremism, the “Arab
spring” upheavals throughout the Middle East and the urgent
need for real progress in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
underscore the sources of frustration that must be addressed
Obama correctly emphasized a crucial, related issue: Bin
Laden was not a Muslim leader and the ongoing conflict is
not with Islam. Osama bin Laden used religion to recruit,
incite, and justify murder. His lethal corruption of
religion must be named and rejected without indicting Islam
and the 1.5 billion Muslims.
than ever, it is essential that people of faith and goodwill
transcend the temptations of triumphalism and redouble
efforts at education, dialogue, and cooperation across
|A quick response has come from
Shirley Nelson, of Amherst, Massachusetts:
Hi, Doug: Glad to see the Wallis
reference. Let's hope churches come through with
sane and wise responses, and further outreach to
peace-seeking Muslim people.
Drone Warfare on
reports on the recent trial of the “Creech Air Force Base 14,”
which included Father John Dear, Kathy Kelly, Father Steve
Kelly, Sister Megan Rice, Brian Terrell, Father Louis Vitale and
Father Jerry Zawada.
A year and a
half ago, they were part of a 10-day vigil outside the base
in Indian Springs, Nev. (about 35 miles from Las Vegas),
protesting the Predator and Reaper drone flights over
Afghanistan and Pakistan that are remotely piloted from the
base. At the end of the vigil, these 14 activists entered
the base illegally, carrying a letter, according to Kathy
Kelly of the Chicago-based Voices for Creative Nonviolence,
“we wanted to circulate among the base personnel, describing
our opposition to a massive targeted assassination program.”
They were arrested and charged with trespassing.
at their trial in Las Vegas two weeks ago may turn the
incident into more than simply a symbolic protest. What was
supposed to be a cut-and-dried trespassing trial — a crime’s
a crime, the law’s the law — ended up being something far
larger than that.
One of the
signs that protestors outside the courthouse were carrying
as the trial began bore the words: “Put Drone Warfare on
Trial.” And that may be what happened.
Thanks to Elizabeth Sarfaty
Fellowship of Reconciliation invites people to speak out in
support of genuine peace in Iraq
This e-mail letter came to us
on August 31, from
Mark C. Johnson, Executive Director of the
Fellowship of Reconciliation:
Yesterday, the President spoke of our successes
in Iraq and the milestones achieved in meeting the August 31
deadline for the withdrawal of US combat troops from Iraq.
help but note that there are still several problems created by
us by the war. These problems will continue to challenge us,
make it hard for Iraq and its future and present grave obstacles
for the community of nations around the world.
nutshell, this is where we are:
presence in Iraq is still overbearing even with the troop
165,000 to 50,000. As one news correspondent reported, a service
person indicated there really is no difference between an
advisor and a combatant.
military's overthrow of the brutal dictatorship of Saddam
Hussein did not lead to a better life for Iraqis -- just the
expectancy for Iraqis fell from 71 years in 1996 to 67 years in
2007 due to the war and destruction of the healthcare system.
majority of the refugees and internally displaced persons
created by the US intervention have been abandoned.
still does not have a functioning government.
War has left a terrible toll on the U.S. troops with
more than one million American service members deployed, over
4,400 have been killed and tens of thousands severely injured.
More than one in four U.S. troops have come home from the Iraq
war with health problems that require medical or mental health
treatment. PTSD rates in the military have skyrocketed. In 2009,
a record number of 245 soldiers committed suicide.
has drained our treasury with
over spent $750 billion on the Iraq War effort. This
misappropriation of funds has contributed to the economic crises
and left us without the funds needed for our schools,
healthcare, infrastructure and a jobs program that are clean,
officials who got us into this disastrous war on the basis of
lies have not been held accountable.
Department of Defense has been unable to account for $8.7
billion of Iraqi oil and gas money meant for humanitarian needs
has not made us more secure -- just the opposite.
please join me in calling on the President Obama and his
Administration and on the Congress to take the following
of all U.S. troops and military contractors from Iraq and
the closing of
all U.S. bases;|
help the Iraqis repair their basic infrastructure and
increased funds for the millions of internally and
externally displaced Iraqis;|
support for the U.S. troops who suffer
from the internal and external wounds of war;|
those officials responsible for dragging our country into
the funds used for war into resources to rebuild America,
with a focus on green jobs.|
of this disastrous intervention should also act as an
impetus for Congress
and the administration to end the war in Afghanistan.
It's time to focus on defending ourselves here at home and
Please join me in this important effort. The work
for peace and the end of war cannot be postponed. It will not
White House and your members of Congress. Ask
them to support these six items. Ask them to bring our troops
home and give us budget priorities that will address human here
at home and abroad. As we see what war and natural disasters
have done, we know there is not a dollar to be wasted -- and
certainly no need for those dollars to be spent on more
peace. Promote peace. Act on behalf of peace.
The War in Iraq: At What Cost?
Wallis, pastor and “Christian leader for social change,”
reflects on the same concern for Huffington Post. He confesses
to hearing Obama’s Oval Office speech with great sadness at the
high costs that have been paid by so many. And looking toward
the near future he adds:
I watched the arguments on the talk shows about
the continuing political instability in Iraq, the lack of a
functioning government six months after an election, the deep
worries about continuing ethnic division and conflict. The
president said it was up to the Iraqis now. The truth is that it
always was up to the people – both in Iraq and Afghanistan – and
the mistake of "empire" is the belief than endless war and
occupation can change those political realities. Leading by
example would have been better, offering a whole array of
non-military help to Iraq and now Afghanistan would have been
more effective – and so much less costly.
For Wallis’ full essay >>
Stop the Funding for the Afghan War --
Call your Congressperson today!
The Network of Spiritual Progressives and
others are calling for people to contact their congressional
representatives. Here's the reason:
U.S. intervention in Afghanistan is facing
increasing challenge, and this week's dramatic Wikileaks
revelations -- the biggest U.S. war expose since Dan Ellsberg's
Pentagon papers -- make it all the more difficult for Congress
to keep funding this horrific war. It is an important moment for
all of us who want immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces from
Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan to raise our voices.
It looks like there will be an up-and-down
House vote this week on the Afghan war supplemental funding. The
Senate has stripped the bill of all unrelated issues such as
funding for teachers, so the meaning of the vote will be clear:
there will be no excuses for voting "Yes" or abstaining (not
that such excuses were ever legitimate.)
This is a crucial time to insist that your member of Congress
vote NO on war funding! You can reach your representative
through the Congressional switchboard 1-888-493-5443 toll-free.
If you use this number, it will add to the Friends Committee on
National Legislation's count of how many people called Congress
against the war supplemental, so your call will be tallied in
two places. (If by chance you don't know who your member of
Congress is, you can find out at the FCNL website:
The Network of Spiritual Progressives is joining with the
Campaign for Peace and Democracy, United for Peace and Justice,
Peace Action, CODEPINK, Friends Committee on National
Legislation, Peace and Justice Resource Center, Historians
Against the War, Just Foreign Policy and Progressive Democrats
of America in this effort to rally support for a "NO" vote. If
you can, please send us a brief email at
email@example.com to let us know that you've
made your call.
Our message is simple: Vote no on funding this escalation of
war, regardless of whether it's a procedural vote, and
regardless of any good measures attached to it. Our phone calls
this week won't turn the situation around overnight. It will
take massive and sustained street demonstrations, civil
disobedience, teach-ins around the country, and other
mobilizations to accomplish that. But a strong "NO" vote now
will strengthen anti-war sentiment in and out of Congress, and
will help build the mass anti-war demonstrations that are
planned for October.
Truthout has posted a good article on the current legislative
Remember what all those angels kept saying at Christmas?
“Fear not!” [1-4-10]
But the responses to the attempted explosion
on a Northwest airliner on Christmas day show what Glenn
writing in Salon, calls “the degrading effects of
terrorism fears.” His comment is headlined: “The
expectation that government provide absolute safety is both
dangerous and irrational.”
I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but
David Brooks actually had an excellent column in yesterday's
New York Times that makes several insightful and important
points. Brooks documents how "childish, contemptuous and
hysterical" the national reaction has been to this latest
terrorist episode, egged on – as usual – by the
always-hysterical American media. The citizenry has been trained
to expect that our Powerful Daddies and Mommies in government
will – in that most cringe-inducing, child-like formulation –
Keep Us Safe. ...
A citizenry drowning in fear and fixated on
Safety to the exclusion of other competing values can only be
degraded and depraved. John Adams, in his 1776 Thoughts on
Government, put it this way:
Fear is the
foundation of most governments; but it is so sordid and brutal a
passion, and renders men in whose breasts it predominates so
stupid and miserable, that Americans will not be likely to
approve of any political institution which is founded on it. ...
What makes all of this most ironic is that the
American Founding was predicated on exactly the opposite
mindset. The Constitution is grounded in the premise that there
are other values and priorities more important than mere Safety.
Even though they knew that doing so would help murderers and
other dangerous and vile criminals evade capture, the Framers
banned the Government from searching homes without probable
cause, prohibited compelled self-incrimination, double jeopardy
and convictions based on hearsay, and outlawed cruel and unusual
punishment. That's because certain values – privacy, due
process, limiting the potential for abuse of government power –
were more important than mere survival and safety. ...
These are the calculations that are now
virtually impossible to find in our political discourse. It is
fear, and only fear, that predominates. No other competing
values are recognized. We have Chris Matthews running around
shrieking that he's scared of kung-fu-wielding Terrorists.
Michael Chertoff is demanding that we stop listening to "privacy
ideologues" – i.e., that there should be no limits on
Government's power to invade and monitor and scrutinize.
Republican leaders have spent the decade preaching that only
Government-provided Safety, not the Constitution, matters. All
in response to this week's single failed terrorist attack, there
are – as always – hysterical calls that we start more wars,
initiate racial profiling, imprison innocent people
indefinitely, and torture even more indiscriminately. These are
the by-products of the weakness and panic and paralyzing fear
that Americans have been fed in the name of Terrorism,
continuously for a full decade now.
The whole essay >>
Peace and War in Oslo -- a
critique of Obama's use of "just war" theory
writing in the
January 4, 2010 edition of The Nation, offers a sharp
critique of President Obama’s use of the idea of a “just war” to
defend further U.S. escalation of military action in
displayed his usual rhetorical brilliance in Oslo and
acknowledged important principles of peace and nonviolence. But
his speech gave a distorted view of America's role in the world
and reflected a shallow understanding of the concept of just
A few excerpts:
invoked the concept of just war and identified a few of its
ethical criteria--just cause, last resort, proportionality--but
he failed to mention the most important principle, the
presumption against the use of force. The principles of justice
begin with the assumption that war is almost always unjust and
can be warranted only under the most dire circumstances, and
only if strict ethical criteria are satisfied.
missing was any mention of the ethical standard of "probability
of success." Military power should not be used in a futile cause
or in circumstances where disproportionate force may be needed
to succeed. The prospects of the United States prevailing in a
prolonged counterinsurgency war against the Taliban are highly
said that when force is used civilians should be "spared from
violence." True, but how does that square with his
administration's increasing use of remote-controlled drone
airstrikes in Pakistan? ...
asserted that the cause of preventing terrorist strikes is just.
True again, but that does not make war a legitimate or
appropriate means of combating terrorism. There are many just
causes, but few just wars. ...
counterinsurgency doctrine calls for winning hearts and minds,
which requires a campaign that is 80 percent nonmilitary. The US
effort in Afghanistan is the reverse, more than 80 percent
full article >>
Cortright is co-chair of the Win Without War coalition and
author of Peace: A History of Movements and Ideas
Truthout offers two critical responses to Obama’s
Afghanistan troop surge
Obama Invokes 9/11 to
Explain Afghanistan Troop Surge
Jason Leopold writes for Truthout: "After months
of deliberations, President Barack Obama finally outlined his
revised strategy for the Afghanistan War in a nationally
televised address Tuesday night. The commander-in-chief
repeatedly invoked 9/11, attempting to justify his plan to
escalate the eight-year-old war, which calls for the rapid
deployment of 30,000 additional US troops to the region by next
the full article >>
“This is a seriously flawed policy.”
Melvin A. Goodman
writes for Truthout: "President Barack Obama announced last
night that he will send 30,000 additional US soldiers and
marines to Afghanistan over the next seven months and that
additional resources will be used to train Afghan security
forces and bolster the Afghan government. This is a seriously
flawed policy. The troop deployment and the appropriations will
have no impact on the insignificant al-Qaeda presence in
Afghanistan; no significant success in controlling the growing
Taliban presence; and will make only a limited contribution to
nation-building in Afghanistan."
the complete article >>
To share your comments or
please send a note!
leaders mourn the Obama escalation in Afghanistan
by Rabbi Michael Lerner
Many of the world's religious leaders in
attendance at the Parliament of World Religions taking place in
Melbourne, Australia, are in partial mourning for the dream of a
new world that President Obama promised, and decisively
torpedoed in his announcement of major escalation of military
forces in Afghanistan. While the conference sessions have
officially ignored current political developments, the hallways
are filled with heated discussions of the widespread
disillusionment with Obama.
For political activists, the issue of Afghan
escalation is primarily framed in terms of Obama's failure to
learn the lessons of Vietnam : one cannot win a war against a
population that has been fighting for many decades for its own
independence. No matter what America's stated war aims, the
people of Afghanistan perceive the American military presence as
generating far more violence and destruction than they faced
before the U.S. got involved.
For feminists anxious to protect the rights of
women, the capitulation to Islamic fundamentalism in its
treatment and denial of rights to women by the current Afghani
government which America is pledged to support undermines any
picture of the US actually providing a long-term strategy that
would defend women's rights.
And for working and poor people in the US who
are told that serious health care reform would not only hurt the
interests of the health insurance corporations and the medical
profiteers (poor dears!) but also increase the deficit at a time
when it must be reduced, the willingness to put hundreds of
billions of dollars into war making with the deficit suddenly
forgotten makes many wonder about distorted priorities once
For the religious leaders of the world
assembled in Melbourne Australia for the Parliament, all these
issues are quite salient. Yet what comes most directly to mind
for many is the fundamental warp in the Obama Administration's
understanding of what could actually succeed in providing
One reason many global religious leaders
celebrated the outcome of the 2008 election was the perception
fostered by the Obama campaign that the new President really
understood that militarism and the use of force to achieve
American objectives should be relegated to the dustbin of
history, at least until every non-violent strategy has been
exhaustively tried. We believed we had heard a clear message
that Obama recognized the need to end global poverty and the
suffering it has generated as the first step that must be given
time to work before military options are embraced.
That approach was given teeth by the vice
chair of the Progressive Caucus of the House of Representatives,
Keith Ellison, who has worked with the Network of Spiritual
Progressives to develop a Domestic and Global Marshall Plan (DGMP).
The DGMP would have the US take the leadership in bringing the
advanced industrial societies of the world to commit 1-2% of
their Gross Domestic Product each year for the next twenty to
once and for all end global poverty, homelessness, hunger,
inadequate education inadequate health care, and to repair the
It seemed obvious to religious leaders that
the meltdown of the global economy and the obvious role played
by the ethos of selfishness and materialism presented the new
President with a once in a lifetime opportunity to remake the
global economy in ways that would redistribute wealth to the
poor, thereby generating the very consumer demands that could
rebuild the global marketplace by taking the monies that were
not being spent and putting it in the hands of those whose
immediate needs for food, clothing, housing and basic material
needs would generate a global economic revival and end
But the only way that could happen would be
for the Obama Administration to have put its full energy behind
a new approach to homeland security. Obama would have had to
teach Americans that lasting security could come from
generosity, whereas the strategy of domination of others had
proved futile and a guaranteed loser.
Even when Obama started pouring trillions into
the hands of Wall Street banks and investment firms there was
still a hope in the religious world that he would remain
faithful to the peace-oriented insights he had articulated
during his campaign.
No wonder then that the global religious
leaders convening in Melbourne are expressing dismay to each
other. They have long known what Obama seems not yet to have
absorbed in a serious way: that the path to peace must be a path
of peace, and that you cannot bomb and kill your way to
security. This simple insight is the one thing shared by most of
the world's religious traditions, and it is to testify to the
path of peace that thousands of religious leaders are assembled
here to affirm a truth that Obama and the world must take
Lerner is editor of
Tikkun Magazine, chair
Network of Spiritual Progressives,
and rabbi of Beyt Tikkun Synagogue in San Francisco,
California. He is the author of 11 books, most recently
The Left Hand of God (Harper San Francisco, 2006) a
national best seller in the U.S.
U.S. war in Afghanistan
Jim Wallis urges ...
Tell President Obama: More war will not bring peace.
It has been eight years since the United
States military began operations in Afghanistan in response to
the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I know you join me in lamenting the
suffering, violence, and death on both sides of the conflict.
Our scriptures and history teach us that war is not the answer
to building the peace and security we are striving for in this
I’ve joined with other faith leaders in
sending an open letter to President Obama, urging him to build a
new strategy in Afghanistan that leads with bold humanitarian
aid and development instead of more military escalation. Will
you join me?
President Obama: We need a whole new approach in Afghanistan.
the options being debated are far too narrow and are unlikely to
bring the peace and stability we so desperately need to end this
strategies contending for prime time - counterinsurgency,
requiring a substantial escalation of troops, and
counterterrorism, relying on precision targeting technology to
apply military pressure on the most dangerous operatives, often
at the expense of civilian lives - don't address the deep moral
and practical issues we face in Afghanistan.
There are many
moral concerns at stake in President Obama’s decision:
legitimately protecting Americans from further terrorism,
protecting the lives of our men and women in uniform, protecting
the Afghan people from the collateral damage of war, defending
women from the Taliban, and genuinely supporting democracy - to
name a few.
effective humanitarian assistance and development can no longer
be an afterthought. They must be central to any strategy the
U.S. government puts forward. The president must choose
nonmilitary strategies to lead the way, rather than the other
way around, which often just makes aid and development work
another weapon of war.
We know what can
rebuild a broken nation, inspire confidence, trust, and hope
among its people, and most effectively undermine terrorism:
massive humanitarian assistance and sustainable economic
And it costs less
- far less - than continued war. The Congressional Research
Service has said it currently costs about $1 million per U.S.
soldier, per year in Afghanistan.
We all share in
responsibility for a war that has been waged in our names and
with our tax dollars. Join me and many faith leaders across our
country in praying for the president as he considers a new
strategy in Afghanistan.
After you pray,
sign our letter to President Obama urging his serious
consideration of a humanitarian and diplomatic surge, instead of
more military options. We'll make sure it gets to the White
For the full
text of the letter and a place to sign on >>:
The problem of
corruption in Afghanistan – Is it really our problem?
writes for Truthout:
Is it just me, or
is the pontification of Western leaders about corruption in
Afghanistan growing rather tiresome? There is something very
Captain Renault about it. We're shocked, shocked that the
Afghans have sullied our morally immaculate occupation of their
country with their dirty corruption. How ungrateful can they be?
But perhaps we should consider the possibility that our
occupation of the country is not so morally immaculate - indeed,
that the most corrupt racket going in Afghanistan today is the
Read the article >>
Pitt writes, also on Truthout:
looming largest over president Obama at present does not concern
health care reform or the economy. He has a call to make soon
regarding our present and future role in Afghanistan. What to do
about an eight-year war that has accomplished little? This is
the largest, and worst, Hobson's Choice Obama has faced, for
there are no bloodless and peril-free decisions in this one, no
matter how many generals and advisers and pundits pitch in with
their opinions. ...
Finally, there is
little actual evidence to suggest an increase in troop presence
will make any appreciable difference. We have been there for
eight years, and matters have remained the same only in the
areas where they have not gotten appreciably worse. Afghanistan
is, and has always been, the eater of armies. No amount of
technology or troop superiority can overcome the natural
advantages held by those who know the ground, and who already
know how to defeat a superpower, something many of those
fighting us there have already done in their lifetime. We could
stay there for another eight years and find ourselves in exactly
the same position, or even worse off than before.
the article >>
Christian Peace Witness for Iraq is Wednesday, April 29, in
For the latest information on the event, and
links to more, click
The latest email
update from CPWI says, among other things:
We have prepared
for April 29 for many months. Our advocacy team is amazed at the
timing of our visits to work for funds for Iraqi refugees and
reconstruction. The President will be in the White House and his
8:00 p.m. press conference coincides with our witness outside
the White House at Lafayette Park. ...
Our timing could
not have been better. President Obama's supplemental spending
bill for Iraq and Afghanistan will be the focus of our advocacy.
The supplemental shows no strategic shift towards "smart power"
and the non-military spending for refugees and reconstruction is
in danger of being stripped out. In addition to our conversation
on the supplemental spending, Advocacy training will include
talking points on the Commission of Inquiry, diplomacy with
Iran, and codifying the Status of Forces Agreement.
Join Christian Peace Witness for Iraq in
12:30-1:30 p.m Opening
Diana Butler Bass
- Episcopalian, author, and Senior Fellow at the Cathedral
College of Washington National Cathedral
Noah Baker Merrill - Quaker, Cofounder of Direct
Aid Iraq, a humanitarian and peacebuilding effort working
with Iraqi refugees
2:00 p.m Nonviolence
2:00 p.m Advocacy training
4:30 Legal Briefing for Nonviolent Direct Action
7:00 p.m. Worship
Featured Preachers & Speakers include:
— Author, pastor, social activist, sociologist, and
passionate follower of Jesus
Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr.
— Minister, community activist, president of the Hip Hop
Caucus, and U.S. Air Force Reserve Veteran
Sr. Dianna Ortiz
— U.S. born survivor of torture in Guatemala, Founder of
Torture Abolition and Survivors' Support Coalition
— Peace activist and co-founder of Jonah House
— Catholic priest, poet, peace activist
Worship continues with candlelight
procession to White House
Rev. Raphael Warnock – Senior Pastor of
Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, the spiritual
home of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Thursday, April 30, 9:00
Witness and Nonviolent
Action at the Capitol
– Catholic, Kelly has been to Iraq 24 times and lived in
Baghdad throughout the “shock and awe” bombardment of March
information, and to register >>!
An important note from the
Presbyterian Peace Fellowship
Join us for the
Christian Peace Witness for Iraq in Washington D.C. on April 28 and
Events will begin
with the Opening Convocation at National City Church on the
afternoon of the 28th, followed by the worship service and
candlelight procession that evening at the Convention Center.
Speakers will include
Tony Campolo, Sr. Dianna Ortiz, Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., Elizabeth
McAlister and Daniel Berrigan.
morning, Thursday the 29th, there will be a nonviolent action to
lift up our continuing commitment to see the war in Iraq brought to
Registration is now
open for the event at
Also, please contact
if you are interested in sharing floorspace with us at a church near
a metro stop.
|Christians have a
role to play in rebuilding Iraq, church leaders say
World Council of
Churches News Release – Feb. 17, 2009
[posted here 2-24-09]
Representatives of churches in Iraq
confirmed their commitment to work together with all Iraqi citizens
for reconciliation and rebuilding peace in the country.
"The solution to current conditions
lies not in emptying Iraq of its human resources," said the
participants at a 10-11 February meeting in Dar Sayedat Al Jabal,
Fatka, Lebanon. The meeting was organized by the World Council of
Some 12 representatives of Iraqi
churches attended the gathering, which addressed the challenges
facing Christians in Iraq today, particularly issues of safety and
security as well as forced migration. They affirmed the status of
Iraqi Christians as "authentic children of [the] land," emphasizing
the values of equal citizenship and constructive co-existence.
"Christians have belonged to Iraq
since the nation's birth," and as "an essential part of Iraqi
society … deeply rooted in its history and civilization," they "have
the right to live freely" in the country, enjoying "equal rights and
responsibilities along with all other citizens," they said.
Participants in the meeting, some
of whom went through the experience of being kidnapped in Iraq,
called upon Iraqi Christians "to stay in their homeland and
participate actively in its rebuilding and development". Iraqi
Christians have a role "in building educational and social
institutions that contribute to national reconciliation, peace
building and stability," they said.
The gathering also called on
Western churches "not to encourage migration and resettlement
programs for refugees outside Iraq," but rather to "focus their
efforts on bringing back security and stability inside Iraq for all
Iraqis," with the aim of enabling Iraqis to "work together, healing
wounds and building a better future".
Participants at the meeting
emphasized the importance of continued dialogue "among Christians
and their Muslim brothers and sisters." They pledged to establish an
"ecumenical forum" in order to allow "all Iraqi church leaders … to
speak in a common voice to religious and political authorities
inside and outside Iraq".
Full text of the statement of Iraqi
church representatives >>
Middle East Council of Churches
WCC programme on accompanying churches
in conflict situations >>
WCC programme on Churches
in the Middle East: solidarity and witness for peace >>
For earlier stories:
Presbyterian Peacemaking Program maintains a good page of
Some blogs worth visiting
Mitch Trigger, PVJ's
Secretary/Communicator, has created a Facebook page where
Witherspoon members and others can gather to exchange news and
views. Mitch and a few others have posted bits of news, both
personal and organizational. But there’s room for more!
You can post your own news and views,
or initiate a conversation about a topic of interest to you.
for Life" website
Long-time and stimulating blogger John Shuck,
a Presbyterian minister currently
serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton,
Tenn., writes about spirituality, culture, religion (both organized
and disorganized), life, evolution, literature, Jesus, and
Click here for his blog posts.
Click here for podcasts of his radio program, which "explores
the intersection of religion, social justice and public life."
John Harris’ Summit to
Theological and philosophical
reflections on everything between summit to shore, including
kayaking, climbing, religion, spirituality, philosophy, theology,
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), New York City and the Queens
neighborhood of Ridgewood -- by a progressive New York City
Presbyterian Pastor. John is a former member of the Witherspoon
board, and is designated pastor of North Presbyterian Church in
Voices of Sophia blog
Heather Reichgott, who has created
this new blog for Voices of Sophia, introduces it:
After fifteen years of scholarship
and activism, Voices of Sophia presents a blog. Here, we present the
voices of feminist theologians of all stripes: scholars, clergy,
students, exiles, missionaries, workers, thinkers, artists, lovers
and devotees, from many parts of the world, all children of the God
in whose image women are made. .... This blog seeks to glorify God
through prayer, work, art, and intellectual reflection. Through
articles and ensuing discussion we hope to become an active and
Got more blogs to recommend?
send a note, and we'll see what we can do!