As the U.S. government prepares to expand its military action against Iraq into a preemptive war for regime change, we call on our policymakers and the world community to employ peaceful strategies to address the problems of terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and abusive regimes.
We issue this call from a place of faith, convinced that war — no matter what the proposed justification – is the ultimate rejection of God’s creation. We affirm our belief in the ways of peace as the most effective means to counter threats of violence and achieve lasting security for all the world’s people. We seek to listen, engage in dialogue, and support Members of Congress and the Administration as they face the arduous task of making decisions on behalf of the people of the U.S. on matters of the greatest import.
War is not the answer to the brutality of Saddam Hussein or to the threats posed by alleged weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. Democracy, peace, and human rights cannot be achieved through military action. Rather, the tools of diplomacy and international cooperation need to be strengthened and expanded.
We believe the Bush Administration is introducing a new and dangerous element in foreign policy by asserting the right of the U.S. to change the governments of other countries through preemptive war. We fear a new world order based on military might is being constructed by our government. The real path to security lies in a strengthened global civil society based on mutual trust and respect, the rule of international law, and removal of the roots of violence and war.
Our leaders know the U.S. is unrivaled in military, political, and economic power; but national pride is spilling over into arrogance and hubris. This American empire will brook no determined opposition. The Administration and some Members of Congress seem to have chosen for themselves a role of Biblical proportions – we are righteous and they are evil. Yet, history demonstrates that human conflicts are never so simple. We all share a common humanity and are often complicit in the problems we face.
We see enormous dangers pending in our world: the global AIDS crisis, poverty, environmental destruction, racism, genocide, weapons proliferation, and human rights abuses. Where is the attention to these crises? We share the deep yearning of our friends and neighbors, who sense that something is terribly wrong with our national value system, who want to take relevant action, but are being presented only one option: war.
We know from experience and faith that violence cannot overcome violence, and that cycles of hatred can be interrupted by acts of creative nonviolence, conflict resolution, and courageous love. Let us all follow the healer’s rule: “First, do no harm.” Let us use the preeminent power of the United States to change our direction and reject violence, building up international institutions that promote economic and political justice. In this way, the lives of our children and grandchildren – and their contemporaries the world over – can be liberated from the terror and threat our present generation is enduring.