Religious Leaders Press Obama on Syria

August 01, 2013

Twenty-four Christian leaders representing a variety of denominations and organizations released a letter yesterday urging President Barack Obama to avoid further militarizing Syria. Sitting in a working group meeting last week, I found it fascinating to observe the process as various individuals edited the letter and planned the start of this advocacy effort. Here are a few highlights from the letter:

We pay heed to the reminder of our Christian brothers and sisters that they are part of the fabric of Syrian history and society, with a desire to live in peace with all their neighbors. The rich religious and ethnic tapestry that has characterized Syria for centuries is at risk of fraying beyond repair. ... Churches within the region and many of our own churches, congregations and organizations have responded generously to the needs of Syrians who are suffering as a result of the war. But the needs are enormous and they continue to grow. We are grateful for the humanitarian assistance provided thus far by the U.S. government and encourage an ongoing and robust response. ... We urge you to refrain from the provision of military assistance to forces involved in the conflict in Syria. Military involvement will only further escalate an already brutal war and will, in fact, undermine the prospect of negotiations to ensure a just and sustainable future for all Syrians. Rather, the U.S. should call for all parties to cease all military activities in Syria and work urgently to de-escalate the crisis, together with other actors in the region and beyond.
Hopefully this voice for peace will be heard.

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