Letter to President Bush from Christian Religious Leaders Against War in Iraq

January 30, 2003

President George W. Bush

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We greet you—our President, our nation’s highest military leader, and a member of the community of faith—in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

At a time when our nation, and you as its leader, face unprecedented challenges affecting the security of the United States and of the entire world, we wish to bring to you the insights and perspective of one of the largest segments of the Christian community of our country.

Because you are weighing the prospect of war on Iraq and all the terrible consequences that war involves, you will have faced firsthand the truth that war is not only—or even primarily—a military matter. It is a moral and ethical matter of the highest order, one that we have made a priority for many months as the possibility of war has loomed on our national horizon.

As leaders of tens of millions of Protestant and Orthodox Christians across the United States, we are in touch with our clergy, with lay leaders and with church members everywhere on this issue. We are also in communication with our counterparts in Europe and elsewhere around the globe. Several of us have traveled to Iraq in recent years, and even in recent days, to speak with Iraqi people of faith. We draw on the tenets of our Christian faith in all these encounters, seeking a way toward peace that is both prophetic and practical.

It is with the utmost urgency that we seek a meeting with you to convey face-to-face the message of the religious community that we represent on the moral choices that confront this nation and your Administration. You are no doubt well aware of our activities to slow the rush to war and our continuing uneasiness about the moral justification for war on Iraq. What we ask now, as fellow believers and as the spiritual leaders of Americans in congregations in every community of our great nation, is a pastoral opportunity to bring this message to you in person.

Be assured of our prayers always for you and the members of your Administration, that God may keep and guide you.

The following religious leaders have signed this letter.

Mr. Ray Buchanan, Stop Hunger Now, Raleigh, NC

Bishop Kenneth L. Carder, United Methodist Church, Jackson, MS

The Rt. Rev. Dr. John Chane, Episcopal Bishop of Washington, DC

The Rev. Roberto Delgado, Presbyterian Church (USA), Aquadilla, Puerto Rico

His Grace Bishop Dimitrios (Couchell) of Xanthos, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, New York, NY

Bishop R. Sheldon Duecker, United Methodist Church, Fort Wayne, IN

The Rev. Dr. Robert W. Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, New York, NY

The Rt. Rev. C. Christopher Epting, Bishop, Episcopal Church, New York, NY

Bishop William Boyd Grove, United Methodist Church, Charleston, WV

The Rev. Dr. Richard L. Hamm, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Indianapolis, IN

Bishop Mark Hanson, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Chicago, IL

The Rev. Dr. Stan Hastey, Alliance of Baptists, Washington, DC

Ms. Karen Hessel, National Council of Churches, New York, NY

Bishop Kenneth Hicks, United Methodist Church, Little Rock, AR

Ms. Elenie K. Huszagh, Esq., President of the National Council of Churches, New York, NY

Bishop William W. Hutchinson, United Methodist Church, Baton Rouge, LA

Bishop S. Clifton Ives, United Methodist Church, Charleston, WV

Bishop Reuben P. Job, United Methodist Church, Goodlettsville, TN

Bishop Charles Wesley Jordan, United Methodist Church, Upland, CA

Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt Jr., President Elect of the National Council of Churches, Shreveport, LA

His Eminence Archbishop Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim, Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch, Teaneck, NJ

Bishop Leontine T.C. Kelly, United Methodist Church, San Mateo, CA

The Rev. Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick, Presbyterian Church (USA), Louisville, KY

Bishop James Lloyd Knox, United Methodist Church, St. Petersburg, FL

The Rev. Dr. Felton Edwin May, Bishop, United Methodist Church, Washington, DC

Bishop Marshall L. Meadors, United Methodist Church, Atlanta, GA

The Rev. A. Roy Medley, American Baptist Churches in the USA, Valley Forge, PA

Dr. Audrey Miller, United Church of Christ, Cleveland, OH

Mr. Don Mosley, Jubilee Partners, Comer, GA

Bishop Fredrick Mutti, United Methodist Church, Topeka, KS

Bishop Donald Ott, United Methodist Church, Pewaukee, WI

Bishop Sharon Zimmerman Rader, United Methodist Church, Sun Prairie, WI

The Rev. Judy Mills Reimer, Church of the Brethren, Elgin, IL

The Rev. Dr. Bruce Robbins, United Methodist Church, General Secretary of General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns, New York, NY

Bishop Roy Sano, United Methodist Church, Washington, DC

The Rev. John H. Thomas, United Church of Christ, Cleveland, OH

Bishop Jack M. Tuell, United Methodist Church, Des Moines, WA

The Rev. Lydia Veliko, United Church of Christ, Cleveland, OH

Mr. Jim Wallis, Call to Renewal/Sojourners, Washington, DC

The Rev. Dr. Robert Welsh, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Indianapolis, IN

Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker, United Methodist Church, Lakeland, FL

Bishop Richard B. Wilke, United Methodist Church, Winfield, KS

The Rev. Robina Winbush, Presbyterian Church (USA), Louisville, KY

Mr. James Edward Winkler, United Methodist Church, General Secretary of the General Board on Church and Society, Washington, DC

The Rev. Bertrice Y. Wood, United Church of Christ, Sagamore Hills, OH

Bishop Joseph H. Yeakel, United Methodist Church, Smithsburg, MD

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