25,000 for Peace — 100,000 for Peace

Rev. Bill Sinkford, the president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), and Rev. John H. Thomas, the president of the United Church of Christ (UCC), will be headed to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on October 10. They’ll be visiting the offices of elected representatives to deliver the message that religious liberals want to end the war in Iraq.

Sinkford and the UUA have an online petition for Unitarian Universalists to sign here. Sinkford is looking for 25,000 signatures by October 10. You can sign the online petition yourself, and there’s a paper petition you can download and bring to your congregation on Sunday to get even more signatures.

Thomas and the UCC have an online petition for members of the United Church of Christ to sign here. They’re looking for 100,000 signatures by October 10 (since the UCC is ten times the size of the UUA, they want more signatures).

I’ve already signed the petition online. I’ll be bringing the petition to my church. If you’re like me, you interpret the war in Iraq as disruptive to world peace, and so in direct conflict with the sixth principle of the UUA, “The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.” I think we Unitarian Universalists can come up with at least 50,000 signatures by October 10. Unitarian Universalists, let’s go viral with this. Spread the word to all your online communities. And if you sign the online petition, and/or if you bring a petition to your congregation, get some peer pressure going — leave a comment here annd/or post something about it on your own blog.

4 thoughts on “25,000 for Peace — 100,000 for Peace

  1. Bill Baar

    You really think leaving Iraq including Kurdistan ends war? A huge reason I favored going back to Iraq was the last time we left a lot of people got murdered. It thought that pretty shameful on our part.

  2. dwight

    Bill — We never “went back” into Iraq. The Gulf War was not a war on Iraq, per se, but was fought to “liberate” Kuwait. We were part of a multi-national coalition more than three times the size of 2003 invasion, and even had the support of Arab countries.

    The current near-unilateral war is an entirely different can of worms. We went on on false pretenses of WMD, with only minimal support of other nations other than the UK. We disbanded their national security forces, overthrew their government and replaced it with a dysfunctional hodgepodge of representatives from sects/tribes that have been warring for centuries, expecting through some adolescent fantasy that Iraqi’s would drop everything to help us shape their country into New Iowa, while tossing bouquets at our troops in gratitude. Woops, that didn’t work out, did it? Those are bombs they’re tossing.

    And since it’s the the humanitarian side that concerns you most, you should realize our invasion and occupation has created a refugee crisis FOUR MILLION strong (half have fled their homes within Iraq, the other half have left the country entirely). Scores of bodies, many showing signs of torture, crop up weekly in Baghdad alone. Conservative estimates are that 70,000 civilian Iraqis have been killed since the invasion. Other estimates paint a much darker picture, .5- 1 million. All over the country, electricity and water supplies remain much lower than pre-invasion. And the best part – we have been actively arming BOTH sides in the continuing Shia/Sunni conflict that we had no hand in starting and have no powers to end, but have no apparent problem stoking.

    Given that our 4+ years in Iraq have produced dismal failures on all levels – military, political, diplomatic, economic – can you please explain to me how keeping our military there for another ten years –or even ten minutes- will make matters better?

  3. Dan

    Bill — Nope, I don’t think so. But at the moment I think we’re making lots of things worse by staying.

    I was powerfully influenced by Bill Schulz’s talk at General Assembly this summer titled “Theology of Peacemaking.” Schulz, former president of the UUA, and former president of Amnesty International, said in his talk that the use of force is theologically justifiable, and as a specific example he suggests that enforcing a no-fly zone over Darfur would have greatly reduced the human rights abuses there. But, according to the report of this event on the UUA Web site, Schulze continues, “the United States’s involvement in Iraq has over-extended the U.S. military capability and weakened the country’s moral authority, thus preventing effective involvement in Darfur.” You can read the report of this event here — http://www.uua.org/events/generalassembly/2007/presentations/31313.shtml — and watch a video of the event.

    Thus, while I may not agree with the exact reasoning behind Sinkford’s call to withdraw from Iraq, I feel that the course of action Sinkford advocates is the correct one. Iraq has not been my highest foreign-policy priority, for in spite of the horrible thigns that happened there, there are worse human rights abuses happening elsewhere — so it doesn’t make sense to me to commit a huge proportion of our resources there. Thus, looking at the situation from a human rights perspective, and from a policy-making perspective, being in Iraq is only damaging our ability to do real good elsewhere.

    And Bill, we know you’re a neo-conservative, so I’m sure you will disagree heartily with me, and I’m sure you will post a thoughtful response to what I’ve just written. But the real point of this post is social networking for people who want to end the war in Iraq — I really don’t want this comment thread to get into some endless back-and-forth about whether or not to end the war. So I’ll say it again

    If you sign the online petition, and/or if you bring a petition to your congregation, please leave a comment here and/or post something about it on your own blog.

  4. Bill Baar

    Dan, the Iraqi people had no say on our coming. I think we should give them a say on our leaving. Right now an elected Government seems to want us to stay.

    Dwight, in fact we never left Iraq after Gulf 1. We stayed in Kurdistan and stayed in the Air Space throughout the country the entire time.

    The moral part of Sinkford’s petition though is this statement,

    I invite you to sign the petition below calling for an end to our reliance on violence as the first, rather than the last, resort and an end to the arrogant unilateralism of preemptive war.

    America fights a war of last resort as a war of annihilation. That’s what I really fear about waiting for a war of last resort.

    Isreal just preemtively attacked Syria and apparantly a nuclear facility brought over by North Koreans. According to Rev. Sinkford’s ethics here, should Isreal have waited instead until a war of last resort? Perhaps waited for a first strike?

    The war of last resort that would follow would almost certainly be a war of annihilation.

    That’s the future I’m afraid this petition is leading the world towards.

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