Leaders of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the United Church of Christ, and Global Ministries were among 15 ecumenical Christian leaders signing a letter to members of Congress expressing concern about US military sales and military aid to countries in the Middle East. The Rev. Teresa Hord Owens and the Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, General Ministers and Presidents of the Disciples and UCC (respectively), and the Rev. Julia Brown Karimu and the Rev. Dr. James Moos, Co-Executives of Global Ministries, signed the letter, dated March 14, which stated, "We firmly believe that stability and long-term security in the Middle East will only come about when the United States and other countries move away from a militarized approach and the profits that come from perpetual conflict."
The letter went on to call Congress to:
- Immediately suspend U.S. arms sales to those countries not in compliance with international humanitarian law.
- Fully enforce existing human rights conditions (“Leahy law”) for U.S. military assistance to all recipient governments.
- Strengthen and expand end-use monitoring.
- Oppose the transfer of oversight of the export of small arms and ammunition from the United States Munitions List to the less-restrictive Commerce Control List.
- Ratify and fully abide by the terms of the Arms Trade Treaty.
This letter echoes a call by ecumenical leaders in May 2016, also addressed to Congress, as well as the Obama White House. In light of the expected $1 billion new arms sales agreement with Saudi Arabia, the emphasis of the letter remains particularly relevant.