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Church of the Brethren

Ending Combat in Afghanistan
February 14, 2012

Your Member of Congress needs to hear from you today. Please take a moment to email them and ask them to stand up for an end to the war in Afghanistan!

This past July, Annual Conference passed a resolution calling for the war in Afghanistan to come to an end. The very first therefore of the resolution reads, “Therefore, be it resolved, that the Church of the Brethren calls on the President of the United States and members of Congress to begin an immediate withdrawal of all combat troops from Afghanistan, and instead to invest  resources into the development of the Afghan people and infrastructure.” This is but a powerful extension of the continuing witness of the Church of the Brethren, and our belief that war is sinful in the eyes of God, and alternatives to resolving conflicts must be sought. What we cannot allow this to be, however, is just another resolution that is posted to the Annual Conference website. It is a resolution that calls all of us to be witnesses.

On February 1st, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced for the first time that the U.S. will end combat operations in Afghanistan as early as the middle of 2013. A bipartisan group of Members of Congress is currently circulating a letter to the President expressing their strong support for this accelerated timeline for ending the war in Afghanistan.

Already some in Congress are pushing back strong calling any move towards ending the war ‘a mistake’ and pushing the Pentagon to continue the war for years to come. The President needs to know that Americans support ending combat operations in Afghanistan as quickly as possible.

Your Member of Congress needs to hear from you today. Please take a moment to email them and ask them to stand up for an end to the war in Afghanistan!

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Church of the Brethren Policy: The 2011 Annual Conference “Resolution on the War in Afghanistan”, reads:

Whereas: in 2001, the Church of the Brethren General Board called for the end of military operations in Afghanistan, saying, “We are deeply concerned that these strikes will cause further death and destruction, and will exacerbate the problems confronting those working to feed and care for millions of suffering Afghan people. We also urge the US government to refrain from similar military strikes against other nations”;

Whereas: the Church of the Brethren has issued no further statement addressing the continuing war in Afghanistan;

Whereas: this September 11 will mark 10 years since the terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania;

Whereas: in 2010 the National Council of Churches of Christ, USA, of which the Church of the Brethren is a member, called “upon the President of the United States to negotiate a withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan to be completed as soon as possible without further endangerment to the lives and welfare of US and NATO troops, Afghan troops and Afghan civilians”;

Whereas: the Church of the Brethren has consistently spoken to the sinfulness of war—of the human cost both in lives lost and lives irreparably changed, in the financial cost and the priority that military spending is given over humanitarian efforts, and in the cost to our souls as we rely on violence for our security rather than the vision of God;

Whereas: at the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation of the World Council of Churches,  to which the Church of the Brethren  sent a representative and additional delegation, held in Kingston, Jamaica, in May of 2011, the  convocation community stated, “We are unified in our aspiration that war should become illegal” and that “History, especially in the witness of the historic peace churches, reminds us of the fact that violence is contrary to the will of God and can never resolve conflicts”;

Therefore, be it resolved, that the Church of the Brethren:

  1. Calls on the President of the United States and members of Congress to begin an immediate withdrawal of all combat troops from Afghanistan, and instead to invest resources into the development of the Afghan people and infrastructure;
  2. Calls on the denomination to continue to support the ministry of Church World Service in Afghanistan, and to explore the possibility of new relationships and possibilities for Brethren Volunteer Service placements in Afghanistan through Global Mission Partnerships;
  3. Calls on the denomination, districts, congregations, and individuals to continue to support the work of groups like Christian Peacemaker Teams, seeking to provide an alternative to violence;
  4. Calls on districts, congregations, and individuals to actively minister to those affected by the war in Afghanistan: returning veterans of the military, those serving in noncombatant roles, peacemakers seeking an alternative to armed conflict, and their families ;
  5. Calls on districts, congregations, and individuals to engage openly in interfaith and intercultural dialogue to create a culture of conversation and respect;
  6. Calls on congregations and individuals to study documents and actions of the Church of the Brethren’s historic peace stance, along with resources on just peacemaking from a biblical, theological, social, and political context; and
  7. Calls on churches and individuals to pray for and  pursue  a world of just peace.

 

The 2001 General Board “Resolution on the Events and Aftermath of September 11” reads, “We call for the immediate cessation of military action against the nation of Afghanistan. We are deeply concerned that these strikes will cause further death and destruction, and will exacerbate the problems confronting those working to feed and care for millions of suffering Afghan people. We also urge the U.S. government to refrain from similar military strikes against other nations.”

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For more information about the witness ministries of the Church of the Brethren, contact Jordan Blevins, Advocacy Officer for the Church of the Brethren:

Jordan Blevins
C/O National Council of Churches
110 Maryland Ave. NE
Suite 108
Washington, DC 20002
jblevins@brethren.org
202-481-6943

 

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Church of the Brethren Action Alerts are a ministry of the denomination's Global Mission Partnerships and its witness and advocacy office in Washington, D.C., in cooperation with the National Council of Churches. Contact advocacy officer Jordan Blevins at jblevins@brethren.org. Contact Global Mission Partnerships at the Church of the Brethren General Offices, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 or mission@brethren.org.

© 2012 Church of the Brethren.