January 9, 2020
Dear Members of Congress:
We write to you as faith leaders deeply grieved by the current rise in violence and tension between the U.S. and Iran. The events of recent weeks, including the assassination of Major General Qasem Soleimani, and the Iranian missile strike on January 7 against US and Iraqi bases in Iraq, have left us deeply disturbed. Our faith teaches us that in times of conflict, the best way forward is through diplomacy and peacemaking. Actions of violence will only exacerbate the situation, leading to increased violence, hatred, and discord between the U.S and Iran. The way of peace is not easy, yet we believe it will result in lasting security and justice for the people of Iran and the United States.
We ask Congress to do everything in its power to ensure the U.S. does not continue its escalation of U.S. military action toward Iran; and indeed to do all that is possible to deescalate the tensions, including robust support for diplomacy. Military action will likely further destabilize the region and result in the loss of precious human life. War will impact the most vulnerable, causing irreparable harm and dimming prospects for peace between our two nations. We pray for the people of Iraq who now have been caught in the crossfire between Iran and the United States.
It is Congress, not the President, that must approve the U.S. entering into a new war and Congress has the authority to stop the U.S. from funding future military activities against Iran. We urge you to not delay in asserting your war powers authority and move the U.S. away from the precipice of war. We further encourage you to pass legislation that will bring us back to the negotiating table with Iran.
During this challenging time we are grateful for your service to this country. Please know we are lifting you up in our prayers.
Joyce Ajlouny, General Secretary, American Friends Service Committee
Rev. Eddy Alemán, General Secretary, Reformed Church in America.
Rev. Traci D. Blackmon, Associate General Minister, Justice & Local Church Ministries, The United Church of Christ
J Ron Byler, Executive Director, Mennonite Central Committee U.S.
Rev. Dr. Julia Brown Karimu, President, Division of Overseas Ministries, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Co-Executive, Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ
Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, Executive Director, Churches for Middle East Peace
Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, General Minister and President, United Church of Christ
Bishop Sally Dyck, President, General Board of Church and Society, The United Methodist Church
Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray, President, Unitarian Universalist Association
Susan Gunn, Director, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Rev. Glen Guyton, Executive Director, Mennonite Church USA
Dr. Eli S. McCarthy, Director of Justice and Peace, Conference of Major Superiors of Men
Rev. Teresa Hord Owens, General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada
Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church (USA)
Diane Randall, Executive Secretary, Friends Committee on National Legislation
Very Rev. Jack Clark Robinson, ofm, Chairperson, Franciscan Friars (ofm) of the U.S.-6 Provinces
Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia Thompson, Associate General Minister, Wider Church Ministries and Operations, United Church of Christ; Co-Executive, Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ
Nikki Toyama Szeto, Executive Director, Evangelicals for Social Action
Jim Winkler, President and General Secretary, National Council of Churches