From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Groups launch Win Without War campaign
Thu, 12 Dec 2002 14:24:57 -0600
Dec. 12, 2002 News media contact: Joretta Purdue7(202) 546-87227Washington
NOTE: Photographs of Jim Winkler and the Rev. Robert Edgar are available at
WASHINGTON (UMNS) - A new group of organizations, including a United
Methodist agency, is expressing dismay with the Bush administration's talk of
possible war with Iraq.
Win Without War is a movement of people who oppose a pre-emptive war against
Iraq, explained Jim Wallis, at a press conference Dec. 11 to introduce the
coalition. Wallis is executive director and editor of Sojourners, a magazine
and a national faith-based organization.
"The current presidential administration seems close to committing our nation
to a course of military action that many, many, many Americans believe would
be very dangerous, enormously costly in human lives and precious resources,
potentially disastrous in our effort to defeat terrorism, morally and ...
theologically unjustifiable, and frankly as - someone said to me yesterday -
'more than a little crazy,'" Wallis declared.
United Methodists on hand included Jim Winkler, top staff executive of the
denomination's Board of Church and Society, and the Rev. Robert Edgar, staff
head of the National Council of Churches. The board and the council are
members of the new coalition.
Edgar urged the United States to use its might as a superpower responsibly.
Religious leaders have clearly expressed opposition to this war, he said, and
now the rank-and-file members in the pews are beginning to ask, "Why this war
at this time?"
The White House has threatened military action as a possible response to Iraq
allegedly developing weapons of mass destruction. A United Nations team is
inspecting sites around Iraq for signs of such weapons.
No stranger to hate mail when the NCC has taken controversial stands in the
past, Edgar said his e-mail now is generally in agreement with the
organization's stand on Iraq.
He contrasted the current anti-war activities, including 130 demonstrations
held the previous day around the country, with opposition to the Vietnam War.
"We're starting earlier, faster and with more support than then."
To keep America safe, he advised, "fully fund education," hold to the
principles in the Constitution and win without war - "without casualties" and
without unintended consequences.
"The political situation has been tainted," said Edgar, who served 12 years
in the House of Representatives. He expressed disappointment with the leaders
of both parties in the House and the Senate.
"Leadership doesn't come from the top down but from the bottom or middle,"
Edgar said. The country needs more people who are prophetic and leaders, he
remarked, adding that he thought such individuals would emerge.
"The prophets of the Old Testament never took a vote to see what was right,"
he noted. "We can destroy the planet by popular opinion." Instead, he
insisted, people need "to stand up and ask what is right."
Winkler said that United Methodists pray for President Bush and Vice
President Dick Cheney and are proud that both belong to the denomination. At
the same time, the church's leadership has spoken clearly in opposition to
such a war, Winkler said, citing the denomination's Council of Bishops and
several agencies of the denomination.
"The United Methodist Church would never presume to tell the president and
vice president how to carry out their duties," he observed. However, he
expressed hope that the two leaders will bring the church's Social Principles
to bear on their policies.
MoveOn.org, an online organization working to involve people in grass-roots
politics, posted a letter to President Bush counseling against a war in Iraq,
and the letter drew 178,000 signers in about a week - 87,000 in just one day,
said Eli Pariser, the group's international campaigns director. More than
70,000 the signers were new to the organization, a 12 percent gain in
membership, he noted. He attributed the increase to the importance of the
"Instead of rushing to war, Bush should keep his promise to find (al-Qaida
leader Osama) bin Laden and let U.N. inspectors do their job," asserted
Melissa Daar of Working Assets, a telecom and credit company that financially
supports human rights and the environment.
"Women will be disproportionately affected" by the administration shifting
financial resources from education and other social programs to the military,
warned Terry O'Neill, a vice president of the National Organization for
Women. She also noted that such a course will not make the country more
Win Without War also includes the NAACP, Sierra Club, True Majority, Center
for International Policy, Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities and
Physicians for Social Responsibility.
# # #
United Methodist News Service
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