Baha'i News -- Men of God, Warriors for Peace, Enemies of War September 16, 2002

COMMENTARY

Men of God, Warriors for Peace, Enemies of War

As religious leaders, we collectively disavow the path that affirms that grief must lead to war. We refuse to accept violence as the necessary consequence of loss. Our religious traditions must not bless war. Those peace-loving expressions of one God must not support the lie of the "just war" against Iraq.

We see the costs of war as including the loss of American lives and treasure; further death and neglect of Iraqi civilians, especially children; the tarnishing of the United States' reputation and diplomatic leadership; and an intensification of hatred in the Middle East toward the U.S. and the West.

We reject the heresy that sprang from the embrace of nationalism by religion's sanction of wars. For all time, the evil and pernicious "blessing of war" as just must be repudiated.

We know what our faith traditions command of us: to be peacemakers; to do good to those who hate us; to abide by the peace of God/the Ultimate.

Our faith traditions, said Mohandas K. Gandhi, are highways leading to the same destination. Christian and Muslim, Hindu and Jew, Buddhist and Shinto, Bahai, Sikh and Jain: All celebrate the sacredness of human life and charge us to build a just, peaceful and equitable world; all celebrate the power of love to vanquish hate and the power of mercy to overcome vengeance.

We also remember all too well the wars carried out in our religions' name in Vietnam, Korea, Cambodia and many more places. Our experience in faith leads us to repudiate war as the method for problem solving.

We mourn the loss of life resulting from the attacks of Sept. 11, but we do not ask that more blood be shed. Our mourning is a peaceful mourning and is not a podium to call for a war of vengeance against Iraqis.

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Leonard I. Beerman is the founding rabbi of Leo Baeck Temple; James Lawson is pastor emeritus of Holman United Methodist Church, Los Angeles, and president of CLUE (Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice); Maher Hathout is senior advisor of the Muslim Public Affairs Council of Los Angeles; George F. Regas is rector emeritus of All Saints Church, Pasadena, and convener of Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace. They are among the founding members of the Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace, formed in the aftermath of the events of Sept. 11, 2001.


©Copyright 2002, Los Angles Times

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