With heavy hearts

As United Church of Christ leaders committed to God's reign of justice and peace in the world and to the just conduct of our nation, we firmly oppose this advance to war.

The case for a preemptive attack on Iraq has not been made. While Iraq's weapons potential is uncertain, the death that would be inflicted on all sides in a war is certain. Striking against Iraq now will not serve to prevent terrorism or defend our nation's interests. We fear that war would only provoke greater regional instability and lead to the mass destruction it is intended to prevent.

The human cost of war would be enormous, both to the United States and to Iraq. The most severe impact of a military assault on Iraq would be on its already suffering civilian population. Over a decade of containment and isolation, of crippling comprehensive sanctions, and of routine U.S. and British bombing have created miserable conditions inside Iraq. The sanctions have induced poverty, malnutrition, and starvation on the most vulnerable of the Iraqi people, including millions of children. These civilians, innocent of the atrocities Saddam Hussein has committed, should not bear the burden of deprivation and death such a war would surely exact on them.

While we condemn Saddam Hussein's repressive policies, we are alarmed that our nation's leaders would consider taking unilateral military action to remove him. To do so without any support from our Arab friends, without allied consensus, and without United Nations authorization puts U.S. leadership and credibility under international law at stake. A preemptive war against Iraq also risks the solidarity and good will the global community has shown the United States this past year, already strained in recent months by our nation's sharpened turn toward unilateralism. U.S. military action and our uncertain plans for Iraq afterward, including the potential for a long-term U.S. presence in Iraq, jeopardize most of all our tenuous relations with Arab and Muslim states in the region, in turn severely damaging U.S. prospects of successfully brokering new Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

The General Synod of the United Church of Christ has joined churches around the world in committing to the World Council of Churches' Decade to Overcome Violence. In that spirit, we call on our leaders to step back from the brink of war. Rather than lining nations up against an "axis of evil," our nation should engage in honest and open consultation with parties around the world and especially in the Middle East to seek a non-military solution to the threat that Iraq may pose. That solution should begin with ending economic sanctions, which have only strengthened Iraq's leader while weakening its people. A comprehensive approach for U.S. policy in the region should be built on consistent principles of human rights and constraints on militarization and weapons development for all parties. We should more fully explore opportunities for building bridges across ethnic and regional lines in the Middle East. We join with the World Council of Churches in its recent call for the Government of Iraq "to respect the resolutions of the UN Security Council... to cooperate fully with UN inspectors deployed to oversee compliance, and to guarantee full respect of the civil and political, economic, social and cultural human rights for all of its citizens." We call upon President Bush and members of Congress to seek truly global coalitions and solutions to the forces of division and violence in our midst.

The United Church of Christ Collegium of Officers includes: John H. Thomas, General Minister and President; Edith A. Guffey, Associate General Minister; Dale Bishop, Executive Minister for Wider Church Ministries; Bernice Powell Jackson, Executive Minister for Justice and Witness Ministries; Jose Malayang, Executive Minister for Local Church Ministries

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Older Comments:
To Michael: I agree. 9/11 a sad day for humanity.
A disease. How do you cure a disease? Good medicine. In this case USA foreign policy can be that medicine. Dropping bombs on one nation against whom no case has been proven and World is opposed. Yet dropping aid on another that is usurping land and life! As human beings lets work on a solution. Peace be with you.

For Map, a friend in humanity. On behalf of many I thank you!
Re: Yazid. I wonder how our US friends(not the govt) feel about this 'help' to Israel. Maybe taxfree to some but many are paying heavy taxes to keep them afloat! Not fair.

Pity, party...have you not read the story, the ending is that we all are reedeemed by the Jesus Christ, even you muslims who are slaves to the LAW! Because every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Yeshua Hamashia is Lord!
His perfect sacrifice redeems all those who by the works of the LAW are dead spiritually!! Come to Jesus know and stop the warfare in your hearts.

To: Eshan

You may be willing to accept 9/11 as a protest, I look at it as cold blooded murder, and look at what we're doing now as preventing another 9/11,or worse. It's not pretty but it's necessary.

September 11th was a protest against the United States unilateral interventionist policies. Since that time, we have intervened in the affairs of one nation per year. Afghanistan in 2002 and Iraq in 2003. What a record. We have learned nothing.

As a Christian and a US citizen I want the muslim community to know that there are many christian organizations that extend help to all people including muslim. In fact I just attended a fundraiser for christian missions that will send relief kits to help the Iraqi families. The Bible says that we (humankind)are made in the image of God our Creator. When we reach out to help others we are honoring God too.


Salaam Alaikum-

Nice "feel good" article.

With the elimination of the Iraqi rulers Isreal is not only top dog in the mid-east, there are no close contenders.

The executive branch just OK'd 10 billion US tax dollars for Isreal, 1 billion of that in defense aid...which implies they get 1 billion US tax dollars to spend in the US on US wepons.

Isreal has WDM's....maybe even better ones than the US and everybody in the Mid-east knows they'll use them if they don't get their way...ie..if someone objects to their foreign policy.

Wonder what the United Church of Christ feels about that?


Courage is a sign of faith and will. It is Always admirable.

Thank you all.

My very sincere and honest appreciation for your participation in humanitarian stance and your motto of brotherhood.

May GOD bless you all and help you every step of the way. Amen