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NCC joins in a call to Congress
to seek a bipartisan plan for Iraq

New York, January 17, 2008 – The general secretary of the National Council of Churches USA has signed on to an interfaith letter to Congress urging a bipartisan diplomatic and political strategy that will lead to the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

 

The letter, sent to every member of Congress on the eve of the national birthday celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, was signed by the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon and 14 other religious leaders.

 

"Congress has an opportunity to take a step toward realizing Dr. King's vision of a world at peace by mandating a diplomatic surge for Iraq and its neighbors," the letter said.

 

The signers urged members of Congress to co-sponsor H.R. 3797, the "New Diplomatic Offensive for Iraq Act." The legislation requires President Bush to develop a regional diplomatic plan for the Middle East and urges him to work with the United Nations Security Council to increase U.N. support for the stabilization of Iraq.

 

"Congress can and should take additional steps to end the U.S. war and occupation of Iraq, and bring peace and stability to the Middle East," the letter said. Such actions are "very much in keeping with Dr. King's conviction that negotiation with allies and adversaries alike is the way to peace.

 

The full text of the letter follows:
 

American Friends Service Committee ■ Church of the Brethren, Washington Office
Church Women United ■ Common Cause
Episcopal Church ■ Fellowship of Reconciliation
Friends Committee on National Legislation ■ Mennonite Central Committee
National Council of Churches USA ■ National Council of Jewish Women
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby 
Pax Christi USA ■ Unitarian Universalist Association
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society

 January 17, 2008 

Dear Representative: 

On the eve of Martin Luther King Day, Congress has an opportunity to take a step toward realizing Dr. King’s vision of a world at peace by mandating a diplomatic surge for Iraq and its neighbors. 

On behalf of the organizations listed above we urge you to cosponsor and take steps to enact H.R. 3797, the bipartisan “New Diplomatic Offensive for Iraq Act.” 

By passing this bill Congress can mandate and closely monitor the kind of comprehensive regional diplomacy that we believe is essential to ending the war in Iraq, preventing wider war, and stabilizing the region as U.S. forces withdraw from Iraq. The administration, as H.R. 3797 acknowledges, has already “undertaken critical elements of the needed diplomatic effort” but says that “significantly more robust” and sustained diplomacy is needed. 

If you are already a cosponsor, we thank you for supporting this important bipartisan legislation. We urge you to press for House floor action on this bill at the earliest possible date. If you have not yet cosponsored the New Diplomatic Offensive for Iraq Act, we ask that you do so now and also work to obtain a vote on the bill.  

The New Diplomatic Offensive for Iraq Act:  

requires the president to develop a regional diplomatic plan for the Middle East modeled on the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group,
directs the president to designate a special envoy to implement the plan,
mandates quarterly progress reports to Congress, and
urges the president to work with the UN Security Council to increase UN support for stability and reconstruction in Iraq. 

Congress can and should take additional steps to end the U.S. war and occupation in Iraq, and bring peace and stability to the Middle East. But by passing H.R. 3797 Congress can provide strong bipartisan support for the vigorous and constructive diplomatic foundation needed in this administration and the next to overcome past policy failures and set the U.S. on a new course in Iraq and the Middle East.

We strongly urge you to support H.R. 3797 and to press for a vote on this important bipartisan initiative that is very much in keeping with Dr. King’s conviction that negotiation with allies and adversaries alike is the way to peace. Thank you very much for your consideration. 

Sincerely,  

Mary Ellen McNish, General Secretary, American Friends Service Committee 

Rev. Phil Jones, Director, Church of the Brethren, Brethren Witness, Washington Office

Dr. Michael Kinnamon, General Secretary, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA 

Gail Mengel, National Board President, Church Women United 

Maureen Shea, Director of Government Relations, The Episcopal Church 

Mark C. Johnson, Ph.D., Executive Director, The Fellowship of Reconciliation 

Joe Volk, Executive Secretary Friends Committee on National Legislation 

Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach, Director, Washington Office, Mennonite Central Committee.

Bob Edgar, President and CEO, Common Cause 

Phyllis Snyder, President, National Council of Jewish Women 

Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director, NETWORK, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby 

David A. Robinson, Executive Director, Pax Christi USA: National Catholic Peace Movement  

Rev. William G. Sinkford, President, Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations  

Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo, Executive Minister, United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries 

James E. Winkler, General Secretary, General Board of Church and Society, United Methodist Church

 


NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228, NCCnews@ncccusa.org


 

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