1. Press Release
  2. Middle East & Iran, Nuclear Weapons

53 Christian Leaders Urge Congress to Support Iran Deal

By Kate Gould, August 25, 2015


Fifty-three Christian leaders representing dozens denominations and Christian organizations sent a letter to Congress today, urging lawmakers to vote in favor of the Vienna agreement to limit Iran's nuclear program.

See Politico’s exclusive and the New York Times’ coverage of the letter, which Asst. Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn (SC) circulated to House offices and Rep. Louise Slaughter (NY) referenced in her speech during the Sept 10th debate on the House floor.
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Kate Gould
kate@fcnl.org
202-547-6000

Washington, D.C: 53 Christian leaders representing dozens denominations and Christian organizations sent a letter to Congress today, urging lawmakers to vote in favor of the Vienna agreement to limit Iran's nuclear program.

The letter, signed by leaders from all the major streams of Christianity in the United States— Roman Catholic, evangelical, mainline Protestant, Orthodox and Pentecostal, warns lawmakers that "rejection of this deal would be a rejection of the historic progress our diplomats have made to make this world a safer place."

"Faith communities are mobilizing en masse to urge lawmakers to vote for the Iran deal, to support diplomacy as an effective foreign policy approach,” said Diane Randall, the Executive Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation. "When members of Congress cast their vote, we want them to know that Christians from diverse traditions will support a vote for peace over risking war."

The signatories include leaders from diverse Christian denominations and include the support of various Baptist, Catholic, evangelical, Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopal, Orthodox, Mennonite, Quaker and Church of the Brethren organizations.

The full text of the letter and signers are listed below.


Christian Leaders Urge Congress to Vote for Diplomatic Agreement with Iran

Dear Member of Congress:

As Christian leaders in the United States, we are writing to urge you to vote in support of the negotiated settlement over Iran's nuclear program. We live by God’s call to "seek peace and pursue it" (Psalm 34:14). After decades of hostility, the international community has crafted a nuclear accord to limit Iran’s nuclear program and prevent the United States from moving closer toward another devastating war in the Middle East.

The July 2015 diplomatic agreement with Iran will dramatically shrink and impose unprecedented constraints on Iran's nuclear program. In exchange, the international community will begin to lift sanctions on Iran. It also establishes the most robust monitoring and inspection regime ever negotiated to verify Iran’s compliance with the restrictions on its nuclear program.

As Christians, we feel called to speak out for the possibility of peace. As faith leaders from the only country that has ever used nuclear weapons in war, we have a particular responsibility to speak boldly when opportunities arise that lead to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation at home and around the world. This historic accord moves us one small step closer to a world free of nuclear weapons.

This agreement helps de-escalate tension in a region that is already suffering the effects of war and violence in ways unimaginable to most of us in the United States. It is also a testament to the effectiveness of diplomacy to take countries from the brink of war and resolve concerns peacefully.

This is a moment to remember the wisdom of Jesus who proclaimed from the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9).This agreement moves us further away from the possibility of war and another nuclear-armed nation. There is no question we are all better off with this deal than without it. Rejection of this deal would be a rejection of the historic progress our diplomats have made to make this world a safer place.

The stakes on this matter have never been higher. That is why more than forty national organizations, including more than a dozen faith-based groups, wrote a letter earlier this year urging lawmakers to vote in support of this deal. The groups noted that this "will be among the most consequential national security votes taken by Congress since the decision to authorize the invasion of Iraq.”

As people of faith, we urge you to support the international agreement with Iran and reject legislation to undermine the deal. We will be praying for you.

Blessings,

Paul Nathan Alexander, PhD 
Director, The Sider Center 
President, Evangelicals for Social Action

Rev. Donald H Ashmall 
Council Minister 
International Council of Community Churches

Archbishop Vicken Aykazian 
Legate 
Armenian Orthodox Church

Bishop Warner H. Brown 
President, The Council of Bishops 
The United Methodist Church

Rev Julia Brown Karimu 
Co-Executive 
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ

J Ron Byler 
Executive Director 
Mennonite Central Committee

Sister Patricia Chappell 
Executive Director 
Pax Christi USA

Simone Campbell, SSS 
Executive Director 
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

Patrick Carolan 
Executive Director 
Franciscan Action Network

Shane Claiborne 
Red Letter Christians/The Simple Way

Rev. Paula Clayton Dempsey 
Director of Partnership Relations 
Alliance of Baptists

Shan Cretin 
General Secretary 
American Friends Service Committee

Marie Dennis 
Co-President 
Pax Christi International

Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer 
General Minister and President 
United Church of Christ

Rev. Thomas De Vries 
General Secretary 
Reformed Church in America

Adam Estle* 
Executive Director 
Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding

Rev. Raymond Finch, MM 
Superior General 
Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers

Very Rev. Jim Greenfield OSFS 
President 
Conference of Major Superiors of Men

Sr. Antoinette Gutzler, MM 
President 
Maryknoll Sisters

John Hartley* 
Executive Director 
Pathways for Mutual Respect

Nathan Hosler
Director, Office of Public Witness
Church of the Brethren

Jon Huckins* 
Co-Founding Director 
The Global Immersion Project

Dr. Joel C. Hunter* 
Senior Pastor 
Northland A Church Distributed

Bishop Reginald Jackson
Bishop
African Methodist Episcopal Church

Rev. Linda Jaramillo 
Executive Minister 
Justice and Witness Ministries, United Church of Christ

The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori 
President Bishop and Primate 
The Episcopal Church

Francis E. Kreps 
Presiding Bishop Elect 
Ecumenical Catholic Communion

Rev. Carlos Malave* 
Executive Director 
Christian Churches Together

Ed Martin* 
Director 
Center for Interfaith Engagement 
Eastern Mennonite University

Rev. John L. McCullough 
President and CEO 
Church World Service

Sister Patricia McDermott RSM 
President Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

Rev. Dr. Roy Medley 
General Secretary 
American Baptist Churches USA

Rev. Dr James Moos 
Co-Executive 
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ

Bishop W. Darin Moore 
Bishop 
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

Very Rev. Kevin Mullen, OFM 
Provincial Superior, Holy Name Province 
Franciscans

Rev. Timothy Mulroy, SSC 
U.S. Regional Director 
Missionary Society of St. Columban

Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson 
Director 
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness

Stanley J. Noffsinger 
General Secretary 
Church of the Brethren

Rev. Grayde Parsons 
Stated Clerk 
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Alexander Patico
North American Secretary
Orthodox Christian Peace Fellowship

Diane Randall 
Executive Secretary 
Friends Committee on National Legislation

Fred Rotondaro 
Chairman 
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good

Colin Saxton * 
General Secretary 
Friends United Meeting

Stephen Schneck 
Director, Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies 
Catholic University of America

Rev. Dr. Stephen J. Sidorak 
Ecumenical Staff Officer 
The United Methodist Church

Sam Stanton 
President 
Maryknoll Lay Missioners

Joan Marie Stedman, CSC 
Executive Director 
Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Rev. Kristin Stoneking 
Executive Director 
Fellowship of Reconciliation

Bishop Mary Ann Swenson 
Ecumenical Officer of the Council of Bishops 
The United Methodist Church

Bishop Geevarghese Mar Theodosius 
Diocesan Bishop 
Mar Thoma Church

Jim Wallis 
President and Founder 
Sojourners

Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins 
General Minister and President 
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Jim Winkler 
President and General Secretary 
National Council of Churches

* Affiliation listed for identification purposes only

Kate Gould

  • Legislative Director, Middle East Policy

Kate Gould is FCNL's Legislative Director for Middle East Policy. Kate is one of only a handful of registered lobbyists in Washington, D.C. working to advance human rights objectives and support diplomatic solutions to resolve disputes between the U.S. and Iran and the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Israel/Palestine.