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NCC 2002 General Assembly: Resolution Expressing Appreciation for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Statement on Iraq

Adopted Overwhelmingly November 16, 2002


Whereas many of the member communions of the National Council of Churches and many state, regional, and local ecumenical bodies earlier this year issued statements expressing concern about proposed unilateral military action by the United States against Iraq;


Whereas the Executive Board of the National Council of Churches in October urged the Bush Administration to step back from the brink of war and to pursue a path of consultation and collaboration with other nations and the NCC General Assembly today has adopted a resolution urging President Bush and the Congress of the United States to do all possible, without going to war, to ensure Iraqi compliance with the U.N. Resolution adopted November 8, 2002;


Whereas the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops this week issued a statement on Iraq that responds to developments that have taken place since the National Council’s October message to President Bush;


Therefore, we the members of the General Assembly of the National Council of Churches express our appreciation for the statement of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and we affirm its warning against a rush to war with Iraq. We would particularly highlight the following sections from the Bishops’ statement:


“Iraqi leadership must cease its internal repression, end its threats to its neighbors, stop any support for terrorism, abandon its efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction, and destroy all such existing weapons. . . .”


We join others in urging Iraq to comply fully with this latest Security Council resolution.


“We recognize that not taking military action could have its own negative consequences. We are concerned, however, that war against Iraq could have unpredictable consequences not only for Iraq, but for peace and stability elsewhere in the Middle East. The use of force might provoke the very kind of attacks that it is intended to prevent, could impose terrible new burdens on an already long-suffering civilian population, and could lead to wider conflict and instability in the region. War against Iraq could also detract from the responsibility to help build a just and stable order in Afghanistan and could undermine broader efforts to stop terrorism.”


Furthermore we express our intention to work together with all peace-loving people of faith, to witness to our statements by appropriate action including dialogue with our congregations, with our public officials, visits to the people of Iraq, and consultation with Christian churches throughout the world, and to pray that the Lord will grant wisdom to our leaders as they face awesome responsibilities of life and death.