CGMB Resolution on the International Situation (November 2003)
November, 2003 meeting of the Common Global Ministries Board
The world is facing many challenges, exacerbated by the events and aftermath of September 11, 2001. What has been clear since the fall of the Soviet Union is that the United States is the lone global superpower. During the George W. Bush presidency, that role has been parlayed into unilateralism. In the last three years, such direction has been used to wage a “war against terrorism” that has removed from power the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussain’s regime in Iraq. The military campaigns, however, have lingered. The ensuing occupations have led to increased hostility to allied troops and exacerbated levels of animosity toward the United States. The growing isolation the U.S. is experiencing in the international community has been caused largely by its inconsistent policies and actions, taken both without consultation with, and in some cases in spite of, friends and allies, not only in the Arab world, but also in Europe, Asia, Africa, and throughout the Americas. Power is often measured militarily, but national and international interest can better be served through nurturing other kinds of strength including the willingness to coordinate economic directions to diminish the effects of poverty, the enthusiasm to cultivate cultural exchanges to increase mutual understanding rather than promulgating stereotypes, and the courage to develop grass root cooperation to address issues beyond the traditional realm of government policy. The United States has apparently decided to forego the pursuit of these possible avenues, essential to a more complete understanding of justice for all people.
The problems of poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, inaccessible technology, and marginalization affect most of the people in the U.S. and throughout the world. Despite the efforts of NGOs and people of faith to address these social, economic, and political maladies, their systemic roots remain firmly planted in governmental policy and private corporate interests. A “war on terrorism,” disinterest in international treaties, laws, and institutions, and minuscule financial pledges—paltry in comparison with the cost of militarized war—only further the embedded nature of the problems facing American society and the people of the world today. Foreign policy has implications, and bad foreign policy has wide-reaching impact.
As two denominations committed to peace and justice, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ continue to hear the concerns of Common Global Ministries’ partners throughout the world. Our partners consistently express the desire that the American churches continue the work of challenging governmental policy directions, offering voice to those rendered voiceless or whose voice is misunderstood. Our partners want to ensure that the worldwide community of faithful cooperate to keep lines of communication and access open, especially in this time of increased border-building. Our partners seek ways to engage in action that can have an impact. Our partners expect that we will continue to be mindful of the hopes they have and the challenges they face for a better future.
RECALLING all previous Common Global Ministries, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ statements and resolutions affirming our consistent cry for peace and justice; and
RECALLING that both the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ have endorsed the World Council of Churches’ Decade to Overcome Violence,
WHEREAS the current international situation is marked by a climate of war and hostility, particularly in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Israel-Palestine, Columbia, Liberia, and the Philippines, but not limited to those places; and
WHEREAS the people of the world, and especially partners of Common Global Ministries, are critical of American unilateralism and call for a more responsible use of American power; and
WHEREAS Common Global Ministries is called as a North American denominational mission board to bring attention to the systemic roots of global poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, conflict and other economic, political, and social maladies in an attempt to effect change in the causes and to address the symptoms; and
WHEREAS the United States current unilateral approach to international problems relies upon military intervention and coercive policies—approaches that never have and never will reduce the levels of suffering in the world,
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that Common Global Ministries participate with ecumenical partners in North America and throughout the world in efforts to understand the realities of the world’s peoples and their needs, analyze the root causes of and the obstacles to addressing these realities, and communicate such conclusions to appropriate officials; and
RESOLVED that Common Global Ministries offer critical presence in its many forms to partners throughout the world to help to build bridges and address the conditions that pose threats to human community and human dignity; and
RESOLVED that the Common Global Ministries Board expresses its clear affirmation of peaceful resolution to conflict and its criticism of forceful preemptive American intervention in the world; and
RESOLVED that Common Global Ministries continue to work to educate its constituencies so that the dangers of putting faith in the powers and principalities are made clear; and
RESOLVED, that this resolution be referred to the Global Education and Advocacy Team of Common Global Ministries for implementation and follow-up, subject to the availability of funds.