From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Can peace demonstrations push back clock?

From "NewsDesk" <NewsDesk@UMCOM.ORG>
Date Wed, 19 Feb 2003 14:37:04 -0600

Feb. 19, 2003  News media contact: Linda Bloom7(212)870-38037New York

NOTE: This report is a sidebar to UMNS story #087.

By Kathleen LaCamera*

LONDON (UMNS) - For Jim Wallis, the Feb. 15 worldwide peace protests brought
to mind the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who spoke of "certain
midnight hour" moments in history.
"Perhaps after the massive demonstrations, the clock may be pushed back from
five minutes to 10 minutes before midnight," said the Sojourners magazine
editor and leader of a U.S. National Council of Churches delegation that met
Feb. 18 with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

More than a million peace protesters marched in London alone, making it the
largest demonstration in British history. Carrying signs with slogans like,
"Make Tea Not War" and "Peace Not Slogans," British demonstrators joined with
3 million in Rome, 2 million others in Spain, 500,000 in Berlin, 150,000 in
Melbourne, Australia, and thousands of others in the United States and around
the world.
The London Times reported that in the town of Mostar, Bosnia, Muslims and
Croats came together for the first time in seven years in a cross-community
march for peace. In Tel Aviv, a crowd of more than 3,000 Israelis and
Palestinians gathered for a peace demonstration.

"We are all concerned about a war," said the Most Rev. Njongonkulu Ndugane, a
South African Anglican bishop and NCC delegate. "Any war will affect us - in
the redirection of resources away from poverty relief, the HIV epidemic and
other crises. We in South Africa can offer an example of how to disarm that
could reduce the temperature of this conflict."

United Methodist Bishop Melvin Talbert, another delegation member, was
emphatic that "war is not the answer." The bishop, who visited Iraq in early
January, recently attracted criticism as well as praise after appearing in an
anti-war television commercial with actress Janeane Garafalo.
The United Methodist Church's Social Principles state that "war is
incompatible with the teachings and example of Christ," reject war as a way
of dealing with foreign policy and insist that "the first moral duty of all
nations is to resolve by peaceful means every dispute that arises between or
among them."

Wallis and fellow delegates said the world must find a different way to solve
problems and to address the poverty and hopelessness that are the root causes
of terrorism. They hope that a growing shift in world public opinion may, for
the first time in history, stop a war from happening.

# # #

*LaCamera is a United Methodist News Service correspondent based in England.

United Methodist News Service
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