Praying and acting for wisdom and creative alternatives to war with Iran

What should be done about Iran and their nuclear capability? While some advocate bombing Iran, Presbyterians and other followers of Jesus call for restraint.

On Feb. 21, General Assembly Stated Clerk, the Rev. Gradye Parsons, wrote to President Obama expressing concern. His letter notes that:

“The Christian tradition we share urges us to seek limits to violence and, therefore, requires us to oppose any rush to initiate another war in the Middle East.”

The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, director of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Office of Public Witness, joined colleagues from seven other churches and faith-based organizations to send letters to both the House and the Senate, expressing concern about proposed legislation (S. Res. 380. and H.Res. 568.) which would push the U.S. away from dialogue, and closer toward war with Iran. The letter to the Senate reads in part:

Robust, sustained diplomacy is the best option to resolve the conflict over Iran’s nuclear program, and to prevent another costly war.

Secretary of Defense Panetta, former Israeli Mossad chiefs Meir Dagan and Ephraim Halvey, and other top U.S. and Israeli national security officials have warned that an attack on Iran would have devastating costs and consequences to the region and to U.S. national security.

We urge you to support diplomacy, not war, with Iran, and to oppose S. Res. 380. Please speak out publicly against this bill and vote NO when it comes to the floor.

In an editorial appearing in the online journal Unbound, the Rev. Dr. Chris Iosso, surveys “the war drum­beat tar­get­ing Iran.” He notes:

This sug­gests that the talk of war with Iran, though help­fully called, “loose talk,” by Pres­i­dent Obama in his Sun­day, March 4, speech to the Amer­i­can Israeli Pub­lic Affairs Com­mit­tee (AIPAC), is actu­ally quite delib­er­ate and orches­trated talk designed to cre­ate a mind­set favor­ing war. And even if this talk is a repeated strat­egy to dis­tract the U.S. pub­lic from con­tin­ued set­tle­ments or other Israeli polit­i­cal objec­tives, it con­tin­ues to mil­i­ta­rize U.S. for­eign pol­icy and affects our rela­tions not just with Iran, but with the larger com­mu­nity of nations. In prac­ti­cal terms, it keeps us from build­ing stronger alliances to deal with the crisis in Syria (for exam­ple) and revives a uni­lat­er­al­ist mind­set that dis­re­gards inter­na­tional law.

The Presbyterian News Service reports that

On Feb. 11, the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta adopted an overture to the upcoming Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly that calls on the denomination to “oppose preemptive military action by any nation against Iran.”

Instead, Greater Atlanta — one of the largest of the PC(USA)’s 173 presbyteries — called for “direct, unconditional negotiations between the United States and Iran with the goal of… implementing a peaceful resolution.”

This overture will be voted on during the 220th General Assembly (2012) this summer.

Take action

The Friends Committee on National Legislation, one of the partners in the letters to Congress, has posted an action alert to use in contacting Congress on the pending legislation related to Iran.

In prayers for wisdom and creative alternatives to repeated war.


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)