Council of Bishops calls for immediate Iraq withdrawal
By Linda Green*
Nov. 9, 2007 –
Declaring war “incompatible with the teachings and example of Christ,” the bishops of The United Methodist Church called on leaders of all nations to begin an immediate withdrawal of troops from
The bishops also urged against deploying additional troops to
“This resolution is long overdue,” said retired Bishop Clifton Ives before the Council of Bishops voted its approval on Nov. 9.
The action came during the council’s semi-annual meeting at a United Methodist retreat center in western
In addition to calling for the immediate safe and full withdrawal of troops, the bishops called on the
The bishops said their position is based on Jesus Christ’s call for “His followers to be peacemakers.”
“Every day that the war continues, more soldiers and innocent civilians are killed with no end in sight to the violence, bloodshed and carnage,” the Council of Bishops resolution states.
The resolution is the council’s latest action questioning the
Casualties of war
Before the latest vote, the council wrestled with turning the resolution from having a U.S.-centric focus into one with global emphasis to care for all people impacted by the war.
The bishops cited the deaths of more than 3,843
“Every day that the war continues, more soldiers and innocent civilians are killed with no end in sight to the violence, bloodshed and carnage,” the resolution says.
The bishops called on United Methodists throughout the world to pray for peace; hold regular prayer vigils for congregations and communities; and care for all impacted by the war, including honoring the dead, healing the wounded and calling for an end to the war.
The council discussed the resolution over the course of two days before approving a final version on Nov. 9.
Retired Bishop Jack Meadors, of
Calling the resolution “a faith-based statement,” Meadors said Christians must be “peacemakers that we might be known as children of God.”
Bishop James Swanson of the
“We as bishops are concerned about the loss of lives and any resulting effect once the war ends and the troops are removed,” Swanson said. He added that, once the troops leave, “the church needs to be about helping the Iraqi people rebuild their lives.”
*Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in