Thursday, September 05, 2013

Various Thoughts & Prayers Re: Possible Strikes on Syria

"Jesus’ call to be peacemakers takes us in a different direction than missile strikes. I believe the just cause being laid out against Assad is indeed a moral case, and I trust both President Barack Obama and Secretary John Kerry’s intentions around that cause. But I believe that the military strikes now being proposed are not the best moral response to this moral crisis — and they could ultimately undermine both our moral case and the moral intentions." Jim Wallis

Even some of the most conservative religious voices oppose military intervention at this point: "Geoff Tunnicliffe, CEO of the World Evangelical Alliance, pointed out the negative effect military strikes would have on Christians in the Middle East. New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan said in a letter to Obama that strikes would be 'counterproductive' and 'exacerbate an already deadly situation.' And the Southern Baptist Convention’s Russell Moore echoed the concerns, saying, there are just-cause principles missing 'both to justify action morally and to justify it prudentially.'"

“War brings on war! Violence brings on violence."
Pope Francis, who supports a negotiated settlement of the Syrian civil war, calling upon people of faith around the world to pray and fast for peace this Saturday, Sept. 7.

Prayer for Peace in the world:
"Great us from ourselves, save us from the vengeance in our hearts and the acid in our souls.  Save us from our desire to hurt as we have been hurt, to punish as we have been punished, to terrorize as we have been terrorized.  Give us the strength it takes rather than to fear, to try again and again to make peace even when peace eludes us.
We ask,...
O God, for the grace to be our best selves. We ask for the vision to be builders of the human community rather than its destroyers. We ask for the humility as a people to understand the fears and hopes of other peoples. We ask for the love it takes to bequeath to the children of the world to come more than the failures of our own making. We ask for the heart it takes to care for all the peoples of Afghanistan and Iraq, of Palestine and Israel [and of Syria] as well as for ourselves...
[M]ay we be merciful and patient and gracious and trusting with these others whom you also love.
This we ask through Jesus, the one without vengeance in his heart. This we ask forever and ever. Amen" - Sister Joan Chittister, OSB
"Let nothing disturb thee, nothing affright thee; all things are passing, God never changeth! Patient endurance attaineth to all things; who God possesseth in nothing is wanting; alone God sufficeth." Northumbria Community blessing
Prayer for Peace (adapted): 
"Eternal Hope, in whose perfect kin-dom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Light, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of...Peace, as members of one global family. Amen."
Under the heading of there is nothing new under the sun:
"[In 1914] Paul Jones was ... made Bishop of the Missionary District of Utah. He was an outspoken pacifist, and when World War I began in 1914, he spoke against it. As the war progressed, and when the United States entered the war in 1917, many Americans were vehement in holding that pursuing the war was a moral duty, and opposition to the war was immoral.In the spring of 1918... Bishop Jones resigned as Bishop of Utah. He continued to speak out within the Church as an advocate of peace and the Christian renunciation of war, until his death on 4 September 1941." James Kiefer
"If all our options are bad, why pick the one that involves missiles?" Rachel Maddow
Q&A with Dr Durrell Watkins
Question: As Christians, should we support attacking Syria?
Answer: The answer to questions of military intervention are always complex and defy simple answers. I can tell you that early Christians were pacifists and I can remind you of the angelic prayer from the Nativity story, “Peace on earth, goodwill toward all people.”
There is also an ancient Jewish tale of God reprimanding the people of Israel when they were celebrating the drowning of Egyptian forces. God, according to the tale, reminded them that the Egyptians were children of God also and God was very sad that they had perished.
And, of course, we know that peaceful revolutionaries such as Gandhi and Dr King changed the world with non-violent resistance.
From political or national security perspectives, there are probably arguments for and against military action. Ethicists might weigh in with their own understandings. From a theological viewpoint, or at least from my theological viewpoint, I always prefer peaceful solutions, or at least attempts at peaceful solutions to major conflicts. I always hope military action will be a last resort.
If a dictator has committed genocide against his own people, then it would be obscene to remain silent in the face of such atrocity. However, there may be ways of showing disapproval of such action and of standing in solidarity with the oppressed short of drone strikes that will also cost human lives. I also wonder why we find one act of atrocity to be worthy of military action and another to not require such action. We seem oddly selective about our moral outrage in these situations.
My opinion, or yours for that matter, will unlikely change the course of events. But I hope as a faith community we never are comfortable with rushing to violence. And, come what may, we should continue praying as we do every Sunday, “May peace prevail on earth.”
(from Sept. 8th, 2013 edition of The Sun Burst, Sunshine Cathedral's weekly newsletter)
"As humanitarians confronting the horror of the Syrian civil war, we must consider how we can best protect civilians, end the violence, and uphold the international prohibition on using chemical weapons. But we shouldn't make matters worse on the ground just to answer war crimes with a limited and largely symbolic show of force." Credo Action
11 Reasons Why We Shoud Not Attack Syria

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