November 14th, 2007 05:00 EST
Methodist Bishops Call for Immediate U.S. Iraq Withdrawal
Meeting in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina for their semi-annual gathering, the United Methodist Council of Bishops (COB) passed their fourth resolution opposing the U.S. military presence in Iraq and calling for an immediate beginning to the withdrawal of all Coalition military personnel from Iraq.
But the bishops ignored al Qaeda and sectarian terrorist groups in Iraq, focusing exclusively on the U.S.-led coalition as the cause of conflict. They also opposed any "permanent military bases" in Iraq while insisting on "strong support" for reconstruction in Iraq. The United Methodist Council of Bishops represents more than 11 million United Methodists in the United States, Africa, Europe, and the Philippines, 7.9 million of whom are in the United States.
UMAction Executive Director Mark Tooley commented:
"This resolution from the United Methodist Council of Bishops about the Iraq War says nothing new and adds nothing constructive to the discussions about Iraq.
"From the start, the United Methodist bishops have blamed the U.S. and Coalition militaries as the sole cause for strife in Iraq. The Council never expressed much concern about Saddam Hussein's mass murders. Nor has it addressed the atrocities of al Qaeda and sectarian groups in Iraq, atrocities that likely would expand after a premature exit by all U.S./Coalition forces.
"In contrast, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which also opposed the U.S. led overthrow of Saddam, has emphasized the importance of democracy, rule of law, suppressing sectarian violence & terrorism, and upholding religious liberty in Iraq. Why do the Catholic bishops speak constructively to the reality in Iraq, while the United Methodist bishops rely on simplistic anti-war sloganeering?
"The bishops demand help for 'reconstruction' in Iraq, but how can reconstruction occur without security? How can the Iraqi people have access to 'healthcare, education and housing,' as the bishops insist, if they are terrorized by sectarian and al Qaeda violence? The bishops did not answer that question."
The Institute on Religion and Democracy, founded in 1981, is an ecumenical alliance of U.S. Christians working to reform their churches' social witness, in accord with biblical and historic Christian teachings, thereby contributing to the renewal of democratic society at home and abroad.
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