From the Worldwide Faith News archives

'Win Without War' stages virtual march on Washington

From "NewsDesk" <NewsDesk@UMCOM.ORG>
Date Thu, 27 Feb 2003 16:06:45 -0600

Feb. 27, 2003	    News media contact: Joretta Purdue7(202)
546-87227Washington	10-21-71BPI{108}

NOTE: This report is a sidebar to UMNS story #107. A photograph is available.

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - On the day President Bush sought public support for war
with Iraq on prime-time TV, U.S. citizens staged a virtual march on the White
House and Congress, and international church leaders braved a snowstorm for a
ceremonial signing of a statement against the war.

Tens of thousands of phone calls, e-mail messages and faxes were sent to the
White House and Senate offices Feb. 26 in a "virtual march" organized by Win
Without War, a coalition formed last year to coordinate and lead efforts to
stop the Bush administration's move toward war with Iraq. 

Win Without War, which includes the National Council of Churches among its 32
participating organizations, said that more than a million calls and faxes
sent a clear message against invading and occupying Iraq. The virtual march
organizers also sent gift baskets to Senate staff, who were kept busy
handling calls and faxes. 

"The outpouring of support for tough inspections to disarm Saddam Hussein,
and against an invasion and occupation of Iraq, got through loud and clear,"
said former Congressman Tom Andrews, national director of Win Without War.
"Well over 1 million phone calls were made in just eight hours by people from
every state in the country."

Many people who don't participate in demonstrations took the opportunity to
"let their fingers do the marching," Andrews said.

Meanwhile, international ecumenical leaders held a briefing for legislative
aides and the media, outlining their opposition to the war. They then met
briefly with U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) in the United Methodist
Building across the street. Afterward, they trooped outside, where the U.S.
Capitol provided the background - though nearly obscured by blowing snow -
for signing an oversized protest statement.

"We affirm that war against Iraq would be immoral, unwise and the cause of
untold suffering," the 3-foot-by-5-foot statement reads. "As international
religious leaders, it is our spiritual obligation, grounded in God's love for
all of humanity, to speak out against war in Iraq." 

The large card, to be delivered to the White House at a later date, also
contains a quote from Isaiah 2:4: "Nation shall not lift up sword against
nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

Those who took part in a brief ceremony and signed the document included Lee;
the Rev. Jean Arnold de Clermont, president of the French Protestant
Federation; Bishop Manfred Kock, Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland
(Germany); the Rev. Alan D. McDonald, an official of the Church of Scotland
and representative of the churches of the United Kingdom; and Salpy
Eskidjian, program executive for the World Council of Churches' work on
international affairs, peace and human security.

The Rev. Robert Edgar, staff head of the U.S. National Council of Churches
and co-president of Win Without War, led the group in prayer before the
signing. The signers also included Jim Winkler, chief executive of the United
Methodist Board of Church and Society.

# # #

United Methodist News Service
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