IRAQ: A letter to the churches in Canada and the United States from the Christian Peacemaker Team in Baghdad

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CPTnet

March 15, 2003

IRAQ: A letter to the churches in Canada and the United States from the

Christian Peacemaker Team in Baghdad

Our Christian faith inspires us as we develop friendships with Iraqi

civilians and experience Jesus’ command, “Love your enemies, and pray for

those who persecute you.” Matthew 5: 44

As members of Christian Peacemaker Teams, from both Canada and U.S., we

have found a warm welcome in the homes of Iraqis. We have visited the

institutions that shape this society. Iraqi people understand that the low

intensity war of sanctions and bombings in the “no fly” zones is perpetrated

by our very own government. Yet they seem to have the moral and spiritual

resources to treat us graciously even though our bombings and sanctions have

destroyed their economy for more than a decade, killing hundreds of

thousands of people, many of them children.

Despite these facts, the U.S. government and some of its citizens, as well

as some people in other countries, view Iraq as the enemy. We urge our

governments to learn to be as gracious and loving as the Iraqi people, to

cease bombing and threatening Iraq, and instead to develop non-violent and

just economic, cultural and religious relationships. We believe that the

health and well-being of our own children and the equally beautiful

children of Iraq depend upon stopping these cycles of war and economic

violence.

Our battle is not against human forces, but against the rulers and

authorities and their dark powers that govern this world. Ephesians 6: 12

Bombing and invading a country will not stop the proliferation of weapons of

mass destruction. It will not bring about good government, nor is it moral

to take over the resources of another country. To care for God’s creation,

we desire the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction from every

country in the world. Christian leaders of all denominations are calling out

against this war.

We accompany the people of Iraq by visiting families, hospitals, churches,

mosques and orphanages, by listening to shopkeepers and people on the

street. We pray and fast; we report our experiences to our church

communities and attempt to love the individuals who plan to bomb us and the

Iraqis.

In order to live out our convictions, we will continue to be prayerfully

present in Iraq and develop friendships with Iraqi people even in the event

of an escalation of violence here. We don’t know what we might experience in

a bombing or occupation, but we plan to accompany civilians in specific

places of our choosing. In an occupation, we will be on the streets,

documenting and trying to prevent human rights abuses. At this time, the

Iraqi government is not restricting

us or determining where we go or what we do. We will continue to cry out

against the apostasy of war in this setting of God’s creation.

We invite you, sisters and brothers, to the nonviolent life of Jesus. From

prayer and fasting find the strength to stop paying for war. From joy in

discipleship, hold fast to the evangelistic boldness to invite soldiers and

corporate technocrats to abandon their posts. From the faith that teaches us

that we are all sisters and brothers, believe in the reality of barriers

broken down between all enemies. Live in Easter hope.

Then Jesus said to them, “Go out into the whole world and proclaim the Good

News to all creation.” Mark 16: 15

[CPT Iraq members are Peggy Gish (Athens, OH), Scott Kerr (Downers Grove,

IL) Cliff Kindy (North Manchester, IN) Lisa Martens (Winnipeg, MB), Betty

Scholten (Mt. Ranier, MD), and Stewart Vriesinga (Lucknow, ON)]

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