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NCC 2002 General Assembly Calls on President Bush, Congress to "Do All Possible, Without Going to War" to Resolve the Iraq Crisis

November 16, 2002, TAMPA, Fla. -- "Do all possible, without going to war," to resolve the Iraq crisis, the National Council of Churches General Assembly today (Nov. 16) unanimously urged President Bush and the U.S. Congress.

In "After September 11, 2001: Public Policy Considerations for the United States of America," the delegates from the NCC’s 36 Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican member communions, which comprise 50 million U.S. Christians, also called for a redoubling of effort to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

They called on President Bush and the Congress to recommit the United States to international institutions like the United Nations and to the development 2002 General Assembly discussion.of common security for the world, and committed themselves to work for peace and justice worldwide in the wake of September 11, 2001.

In a tandem resolution, adopted overwhelmingly, the General Assembly noted that its member churches; many state, regional and local ecumenical bodies; the NCC’s Executive Board, and, most recently (Nov. 13), the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have issued statements expressing concern about proposed unilateral military action by the United States against Iraq.

The General Assembly expressed particular appreciation for that latter statement, in which the bishops warn against a rush to war with Iraq.  At the same time, the Assembly joined the bishops in pressing Iraq to comply fully with the Nov. 8, 2002, United Nations Security Resolution requiring Iraq to meet its disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions of the Security Council.

The General Assembly particularly cited the bishops’ declaration that “Iraqi leadership must cease its internal repression, end its threats to its 2002 General Assembly discussion.neighbors, stop any support for terrorism, abandon its efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction, and destroy all such existing weapons.”

“We recognize that not taking military action could have its own negative consequences,” the bishops resolved and the NCC General Assembly affirmed.  “We are concerned, however, that war against Iraq could have unpredictable consequences not only for Iraq, but for peace and stability elsewhere in the Middle East. The use of force might provoke the very kind of attacks that it is intended to prevent, could impose terrible new burdens on an already long-suffering civilian population, and could lead to wider conflict and instability in the region. War against Iraq could also detract from the responsibility to help build a just and stable order in Afghanistan and could undermine broader efforts to stop terrorism.”

The National Council of Churches General Assembly – which held its Nov. 14-16 annual meeting in Tampa, Fla. – expressed its intention “to work together with all peace-loving people of faith, to witness to our statements by appropriate action including dialogue with our congregations, with our public officials, visits to the people of Iraq, and consultation with Christian churches throughout the world, and to pray that the Lord will grant wisdom to our leaders as they face awesome responsibilities of life and death.”

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Index to Stories and Documentation from the 2002 General Assembly:

NCC General Assembly Meets Nov. 14-16 Under the Theme "For the Common Good"

NCC to U.S.: "Do All Possible, Without Going to War" to Resolve the Iraq Crisis
Full text: "After September 11, 2001: Public Policy Considerations for the United States of America"
Full text: "Resolution Expressing Appreciation for the U.S. Catholic Bishops' Statement on Iraq"

NCC General Assembly Concludes with Awards, RSV Celebration, Resolutions
Full text:
Resolution Recognizing the Patriarch of Jerusalem
Full text: Resolution Establishing an Exploratory Commission on Human Genetic Technologies


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