1998 NCC News Archives

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A Statement on the U.S. Air Strikes
in Afghanistan and Sudan

By the Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, General Secretary
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA
August 21, 1998

We live in a dangerous world where violence is a constant threat. No one is immune. We at the National Council of Churches were devastated by the recent bombings of American embassies in Africa, which deeply affected our Kenyan and Tanzanian church partners. We mourn with them and for all who were killed and injured.

In such a world, there may be moments when military action is legitimate. We do have reservations about the effectiveness of relying on military strikes to counter terrorism.

Looking beyond the immediate situation, we make a fervent plea for increased attention to non-violent means to insure security. In our highly interdependent world, cycles of violence, once sparked, are nearly impossible to contain. Therefore, military strikes are not a viable long-term solution to our security problems. True peace and security will prevail only when we, along with the international community, address the political, social and economic conditions that breed extremism and terrorism.

Such an approach demands that we as a nation take seriously our leadership role in the world, committing substantial resources to creating a global environment of mutual respect and dialogue. It is not a quick or easy approach but it holds out the promise of peace. The Bible says, "Blessed are the peacemakers." We understand that we will be blessed with peace only if we actively work toward it.

As Christians who seek positive ways to relate to people of other faiths, we are deeply grateful that President Clinton made clear in his address yesterday that Muslims are not the enemy. Too often, the innocent casualties of terrorist acts include our neighbors of Arab-American descent and/or persons who profess the Muslim faith who are subjected to harassment and violence in the wake of these tragedies. In these uncertain times, we must break down the negative stereotypes that keep us apart. Now more than ever, people of faith must work together for peace and justice.

We pray for all who are suffering in these days and we pray for the healing of all nations.

-end-

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