UMC Bishops Call for "Peaceful Settlement of all Disputes” in Iraq

( [email protected] ) May 12, 2004 03:57 PM EDT

In a May 11 resolution, the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church called for an end to the cycle of violence between the U.S. and Iraq, and urged United Methodists around the world to pray for peace.

Similar to the resolution released by the National Council of Churches on the same day, the bishop’s statement asked the U.S. government to “request that the United Nations become involved in the transition process to a new Iraqi government" and that a multinational development plan be started for rebuilding Iraq and other Middle Eastern nations.

Last week, the delegates to the UMC General Conference approved a resolution supporting calls for a full investigation into the abuse of Iraqi prisoners and urged for the prisoners to be treated in accordance with the international Geneva Convention.

The following is the full text of the resolution, as released by the United Methodist News Service:

Council of Bishops

The United Methodist Church

Resolution on the War in Iraq

Whereas, the prophet Micah reminds us that God "shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate strong nations far away," and calls nations to "beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks," that nations will no longer "lift up sword against nation, and neither shall they learn war any more" (Micah 4:3); and

Whereas, The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church states that "we deplore war" and "urge peaceful settlement of all disputes" (Para. 164G, The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church 2000); and,

Whereas, the continuing loss of Iraqi civilian lives, especially children, and the increasing death toll among United States, coalition military and civilian personnel in Iraq grieves the heart of God; and,

Whereas, the premises advanced by the United States government for engaging in this war, namely, the presumption of weapons of mass destruction and alleged connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq have not been verified; and,

Whereas, the cycle of violence in which the United States is engaged has created a context for the denigration of human dignity and gross violations of human rights of Iraqi prisoners of war;

Therefore, The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church:

1. Laments the continued warfare by the United States and coalition forces.

2. Prays for military personnel and their families who have sacrificed as a result of this war and for a swift end to the destruction and violence raging in Iraq.

3. Asks the United States government to request that the United Nations become involved in the transition process to a new Iraqi government.

4. Requests the United Nations to establish a legitimate transitional government of Iraq to maintain the peace and safeguard sustainable development efforts.

5. Calls for the rebuilding of Iraq and other nations in the Middle East through a multinational development plan that honors the participation of the peoples of the region and gives them hope for the future.

6. Invites United Methodists throughout the world to pray for a new era of peace and to advocate for public policies that promote justice, life, and reconciliation among adversaries.