UCC & Disciples among 8 Groups to Congress: Oppose Push for War with Iran
Letter to Congress to support negotiations
The United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Washington, DC staff are among eight churches and faith-based organizations that have urged Congress to oppose pending legislation which would push the U.S. away from dialogue, and closer toward war with Iran.
The following letter was sent to the Senate asking Senators to oppose S. Res. 380; an identical letter was also sent to the House, asking Representatives to oppose the House companion bill H.Res. 568.
[You can add your voice to support negotiations by clicking here.]
March 5, 2012
As Christian churches and faith based organizations concerned about the escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran, we write to express our strong opposition S.Res. 380, which rules out containment of a “nuclear weapons capable” Iran. We urge you to oppose this dangerous resolution, which would undermine diplomatic efforts to resolve the outstanding conflicts between the U.S. and Iran, increasing the risk of war.
- S. Res. 380 sets a dangerously low threshold for war. By specifically ruling out containment as an option for “an Iran with nuclear weapons capability”, the resolution establishes a new “red line” that some would argue has already been crossed. The resolution could be interpreted as endorsement of military force against Iran now.
As Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, has noted:
“This resolution reads like the same sheet of music that got us into the Iraq war, and could be the precursor for a war with Iran….it’s effectively a thinly-disguised effort to bless war.”
- All diplomatic options need to be on the table. S. Res. 380 undermines diplomacy when it is needed most. As tensions between the U.S. and Iran escalate, Congress should be supporting the vigorous pursuit of all diplomatic options available to resolve the crisis and avert a war. Instead, S. Res. 380 puts U.S. negotiators under intense political pressure, undercutting their ability to reach a diplomatic solution, which heightens the potential war.
As Colin Kahl, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East, noted:
“I think that all of us in this town need to be very careful of taking positions, whether its up on the Hill or out there, that box in our negotiators from being able to find a diplomatic solution….That’s what concerns me about the resolution.”
- Direct, sustained diplomacy remains the single most effective way to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran and avert war. According to U.S. and Israeli intelligence, Iran has not yet decided to develop nuclear weapons. A diplomatic resolution of the crisis that would prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and avert another costly war is still possible – if it is pursued vigorously. Former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, called for the United States to utilize “any channel that’s open” for engagement with Iran, noting, “Even in the darkest days of the Cold War, we had links to the Soviet Union.”
As Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA), Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, stated with regard to S. Res. 380:
“I really believe that these negotiations should proceed without any resolutions from us right now….This is a very sensitive time. Candidly, I think diplomacy should have an opportunity to work without getting involved in political discussions about a resolution.”
Robust, sustained diplomacy is the best option to resolve the conflict over Iran’s nuclear program, and to prevent another costly war.
Secretary of Defense Panetta, former Israeli Mossad chiefs Meir Dagan and Ephraim Halvey, and other top U.S. and Israeli national security officials have warned that an attack on Iran would have devastating costs and consequences to the region and to U.S. national security.
We urge you to support diplomacy, not war, with Iran, and to oppose S. Res. 380. Please speak out publicly against this bill and vote NO when it comes to the floor.
Diane Randall, Executive Secretary
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Robin Aura Kanegis, Director, Office of Public Policy and Advocacy
American Friends Service Committee
Rev. Dr. Ken Brooker Langston, Executive Director Disciples Center for Public Witness
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada
Russell Testa, Director
Holy Name Province Franciscan (OFM) JPIC Office
Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach, Director
Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, Director, Office of Public Witness
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Sandra Sorensen, Director of Washington Office
United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries
James E. Winkler, General Secretary
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society