We at the Eclectic Church found this item of interest. We urge our readers to consider the opinion
here expressed and visit this site for balanced thought. We also urge our readership to speak up with
legitimate questioning as to the Last resort necessity of this seemingly
imminent war with Iraq.
While we agree that the administration has made the case that Iraq is in
fact dangerous under the present leadership, we fail to see where they have
made the case that invasion is either necessary, warranted, or justifiable
under the terms of “last resort”. Sadam
appears to be boxed in and in check, for him to use any weapons of mass
destruction would be suicide for him and his people as the collect force of the
world would rain upon him. In reality,
it seems that if he has such weapons an attack by us would be provocation for
using them; as in that case, it would appear he has nothing to loose. We question such logic on the part of our
leadership that would put so many people at risk, bring death to our soldiers,
and possibly encourage attacks on America from fringe radical groups. Being right is simply not enough to launch
misery upon masses of people; moral justification amounting to more than
suspicion and rhetoric seems to be required.
By David Harrison
WASHINGTON -- Ever since Sept.
11, some American religious leaders have been outspoken in calling for a
peaceful response and respect for civil liberties. Their perspectives contrast
sharply with President Bush's bellicose invocations of religious rhetoric, as
in his Sept. 20 address to Congress when he declared that "God is not
"Christians have a 'just war' teaching that in theory can be used to
judge any war. In practice, the teaching serves to bless rather than judge
wars," said Sister Evelyn Mattern, a program associate at the North
Carolina Council of Churches. "For example, the U.S. Roman Catholic
bishops recently invoked the 'just war' teaching with regard to Afghanistan.
In their hurry to support the president, they failed even to mention one of the
main criteria for a just war: that it can be declared only after every other
effort has failed. It has yet to be revealed, I think, what the U.S.
tried and failed before it began bombing."
On the question of a "just war," David Potorti, who lost his
brother in the World Trade Center and who recently completed a peace walk from
the Pentagon to New York, said: "The phrase 'just war,’ used in reference
to the battle being waged in Afghanistan, is resonating, but not as a deep
philosophical concept... War, to the increasing exclusion of everything else,
is almost the only thing that America
collectively cares about anymore... We direct our attention and our resources
into what we do best: war."
Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, director of the Shefa Fund's Torah of Money
project, which deals with Jewish ethics on finances and socially responsible
investing, suggested that U.S.
foreign policy should address the root causes that push people in developing countries
to extremism. "We have to find a way of getting beyond the levels of
despair and misunderstanding that grip much of the world. Despair makes a
populace rife for an opportunistic leadership that easily divides the world
into good and evil, leading to bloodshed. The focus on defeating evil rather
than on improving living conditions leads to more people raised in despair. We
need to rekindle hope. That comes from working for real change."
"However vulnerable we might feel, we must caution against blind
nationalism which too often leads to irrational and violent behavior,"
commented the Rev. Lucius Walker, director of the Interreligious Foundation for
Community Organizing. "As an interfaith agency, we condemn the
vilification of Islam, a major world religion which shares its roots with
Judaism and Christianity. We are also deeply concerned about the impact of a U.S.
war on the already brutalized population of Afghanistan.
We cannot justify an attack on innocent civilians who are already living under
horrific conditions given the civil war that rages on. The tragic reality is
that people in many parts of the world have been the victims of terrorism, and
that much of that terrorism has been fomented by our government. This in no way
excuses the terrorist acts committed against the people of the U.S.
-- but it must inform our response to those terrorist acts."
From a Buddhist perspective, Sue Moon, the editor of Turning Wheel,
the quarterly magazine of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, said: "I don't
support the war and I don't support the continuation of bombing in Afghanistan
and I definitely don't support the extension of the war to Iraq.
As Buddhists, one of our first precepts is not to kill and to search for ways
of being nonviolent and to work for social justice. I would be in favor of
continuing international talks and agreements and negotiations. Aid to Afghanistan
is essential. We should cut back on arms sales and reevaluate our energy
policy, which is dependent on Middle Eastern oil, by supporting alternative
energy policies." Moon is the author of Being Bodies: Buddhist Women on
the Paradox of Embodiment.
On the issue of civil liberties, Dr. Laila al-Marayati, the founder of the
Muslim Women's League, said: "America
pays lip service to things like human rights, that makes it a source of hope,
but when we don't walk the walk, that leads to resentment.... We should not
sacrifice our freedoms in the name of this war. The crackdown on various
religious charities feels like an attempt to limit the American Muslim
community's activism on behalf of legitimate causes like the suffering of
"Now we have the proposal to reinstate covert surveillance of religious
and political organizations in the United States,"
said the Rev. Jim Wallis, editor of Sojourners magazine. "For those
of us who have lived through those activities in the past, it brings back all
the memories of government harassment of dissent. Finding and punishing those
who committed the attacks of Sept. 11 and preventing future attacks is something
we all should support. Sacrificing our constitutional civil liberties to do so
David Harrison is a writer with IPA Media, a project of the Institute for
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