Bishop Stephen Lane of Maine decries the use of chemical weapons in Syria, yet emphasizes that waging retaliatory war is not God’s path. He writes:
Many people of good conscience are deeply concerned about how the civilized world might respond. It seems impossible that such suffering should be allowed to continue. Yet, with the wisdom born of more than ten years of war, many Americans are skeptical that a military intervention will do anything but deepen the misery. War is the original land of unintended consequences, and few trust that there is any military intervention that is “clean,” “limited,” and “surgical. …
I hope you will contact the President and our legislators commending them for taking the time to engage in this conversation. I hope you will also feel free to express your convictions as a member of Christ’s body. While nations have often argued about “just war” theory, Christ talked about love and reconciliation. Nations may choose to go to war, but the separation, alienation and destruction of human beings is contrary to the will of God.”
President Obama’s advocacy of war is anachronistic and runs the risk of responding to killings with more killings. By referring the issue to Congress, he has given himself space to act, as we would expect of a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and to exhaust all peaceful means of bringing an end to the suffering in Syria before considering a resort to war.
I lament in my prayers for the suffering of the people of Syria. I pray passionately that they will be given what we all desire for ourselves, namely security and peace. And I pray that President Obama will not go down in history as a leader who had the opportunity to broker peace but instead opted for war.
Retired Bishop George Packard writes of the “disconnect which haunts U.S. foreign policy: it is perpetually, implicitly imperialist.” He writes at his blog:
What we do and say is most important. The world could tolerate this if it remained just preachy but a 60 day sustained air campaign (with a 30 extension if needed, mind you) makes grand statements about Syrian excesses into a cynical charade. If you thought the Syrian people were miserable with Assad’s gas just wait until Obama’s missiles arrive, 1400 casualties could be just the starting number. For every intended combatant, ten more civilians will be harmed.
Bishop Michael Curry on Peace: