The Peace with Justice work area of the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society has issued a call to action to oppose a U.S. military attack on Syria. United Methodists are asked to contact their members of Congress immediately to register their displeasure at President Obama’s request for Congress to authorize a military strike. Instead, Mark Harrison head of the work area encourages urging Congress to support vigorous peace negotiations.
Harrison said the U.S. Congress is expected to vote early next week on authorization of military force against Syria, whose use of chemical weapons against its own citizens in its months long civil war is abhorrent.
A U.S. military strike on Syria, however, is a false choice between bombing and impunity, according to Harrison. “Only a political solution to the conflict in Syria will end the suffering of its people,” he said.
The United Methodist Social Principles declare:
We believe war is incompatible with the teachings and example of Christ. We therefore reject war as an instrument of national foreign policy (¶165C).
“As Christians we are called to be disciples of peace,” Harrison said. He emphasized that people should contact Congress now!
Harrison suggested telling members of Congress to:
- Vote against an authorization of military force against Syria. “U.S. military action would mean the U.S. government is taking sides in a civil war, would cause further destruction, and would push the Syrian people further into relentless civil war,” Harrison said.
- Support an alternative response to the conflict through vigorous peace negotiations among the Syrian government, rebel groups and civil society; provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Syria fleeing the conflict; and work through the United Nations and the International Criminal Court to bring those responsible for use of chemical weapons to justice.
On July 13, Christian leaders sent a letter to President Obama urging him not to pursue military force against Syria, Harrison pointed out. The letter stated:
Military involvement will only further escalate an already brutal war and will, in fact, undermine the prospect of negotiations to ensure a just and sustainable future for all Syrians. Rather, the U.S. should call for all parties to cease all military activities in Syria and work urgently to de-escalate the crisis, together with other actors in the region and beyond.
Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, Ecumenical Officer of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, was among 24 Christian faith leaders who signed the letter. You can read a copy of the letter on the GBCS website.
Harrison asked that this action alert be shared with other United Methodists.
If you have any questions, contact Mark Harrison, firstname.lastname@example.org or at (202) 488-5645.
General Board of Church & Society
The United Methodist Church
(202) 488-5630 / email@example.com