41 Faith Leaders to Congress: Vote NO on Syria Strikes
FCNL led a coalition of 41 faith leaders of national Christian, Jewish, and Muslim organizations calling on Congress to oppose the proposed authorization for the use of military force in Syria. Along with the Jewish and Muslim faiths represented, the signers include leaders from Catholic, Evangelical, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist, Adventist, and Baptist traditions, in addition to leaders from the historic peace church traditions of the Quakers, Mennonites, and Church of the Brethren.
September 9th, 2013
Dear Member of Congress,
As leaders of faith-based organizations, we are writing to urge you to vote against any authorization for the use of military force in Syria.While we unequivocally condemn any use of chemical weapons along with indiscriminate killing of civilians and other violations of international humanitarian law, military strikes are not the answer.
Rather than bringing an end to the violence that has already cost more than 100,000 lives, U.S. military strikes threaten to widen the vicious civil war in Syria and undermine prospects to de-escalate the violence and eventually reach a just negotiated settlement, in which all actors are held accountable for crimes committed.
All of us recognize the challenge of the present moment in the midst of this ongoing tragedy. However, this is not a choice between military action and “doing nothing,” a frame which again is being used to legitimate violence. Rather than yielding to the temptation to fuel the fire with more violence, we see an opportunity for the U.S. to leverage the full weight of its diplomatic influence and resources to advance a just, negotiated settlement that includes all internal and external parties to the conflict.
Therefore, we encourage Congress and the President to support the following actions:
1) Lead international diplomatic efforts to prevent further use of chemical weapons: Governments around the world—including Iran and Russia—have condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and the U.S. should work to direct this international resolve toward decisive diplomatic action.
2) De-escalate the violence: Refrain from providing military support to the opposition and press Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey to do the same, while continuing to call on Russia and Iran to cease military support for the Syrian government. Increasing violence in order to “punish,” “send a message,” or gain military advantage, in fact makes negotiations less likely to result in a durable democracy, much less a just peace.
3) Pursue a political settlement with all stakeholders of the conflict: We must signal to the world the urgency of advancing a political settlement that seeks to end the violence and ensure accountability. Negotiations should include key civil society nonviolent actors and include determination of broader accountability mechanisms.
We urge you to oppose authorization for the use of military force in Syria and instead to consider seriously these alternatives. You are in our prayers.
See full list of signatories here: http://fcnl.org/issues/middle_east/faith_leaders_to_congress_no_war_in_syria/