Petition 81150

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In Support of "A Call to Repentance and Peace with Justice" (81150-C1-R9999)

Add to the Book of Resolutions:
Whereas, The United Methodist Church declares war to be "incompatible with the teachings and example of Christ" and insists "that the first moral duty of all nations is to resolve by peaceful means every dispute that arises between or among them" (Discipline 2004, ΒΆ 165 C); and
Whereas,  United Methodists in both the executive and legislative branches of the federal government were instrumental in leading the United States to invade Iraq in 2003; and
Whereas, in November, 2005, some ninety-six bishops of The United Methodist Church signed the following statement:

A Call to Repentance and Peace with Justice
As followers of Jesus Christ, who named peacemakers as blessed children of God, we call upon The United Methodist Church to join us in repentance and renewed commitment to Christ's reign of compassion, justice, reconciliation, and peace.

As elected and consecrated bishops of the church, we repent of our complicity in what we believe to be the unjust and immoral invasion and occupation of Iraq. In the face of the United States Administration's rush toward military action based on misleading information, too many of us were silent. We confess our preoccupation with institutional enhancement and limited agendas while American men and women are sent to Iraq to kill and be killed, while thousands of Iraqi people needlessly suffer and die, while poverty increases and preventable diseases go untreated. Although we value the sacrifices of the men and women who serve in the military, we confess our betrayal of the scriptural and prophetic authority to warn the nations that true security lies not in weapons of war, but in enabling the poor, the vulnerable, the marginalized to flourish as beloved daughters and sons of God. We confess our failure to make disciples of Jesus Christ and to be a people who welcome and love all those for whom Christ died.

Aware that we are to bring forth fruit worthy of repentance, we personally and as bishops commit ourselves to:
  Pray daily for the end of war in general and the Iraq war specifically; for those who suffer as the result of war, including the soldiers and their families; the Iraqi people in their struggle to find a workable form of government; and for the leaders of the United States that they will turn to truth, humility, and policies of peace through justice.
  • Reclaim the prophetic authority that calls nations, individuals, and communities to live faithfully in the light of God's new creation where all people know their identity as beloved children of God; where justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream; and where barriers are removed and all creation is healed, reconciled, and renewed.
  • Commit ourselves to peacemaking as an integral component of our own Christian discipleship, which means advocating and actively working for the things that make for peace: personal, institutional, and governmental priorities that protect the poor and most vulnerable; modeling an end to prejudice toward people of other faiths and cultures; confronting differences and conflicts with grace, humility, dialogue, and respect without being so cautious in confronting evil that we lose our moral authority.  
        We call upon all United Methodists to join in the pursuit of peace through justice as revealed in Holy Scripture and incarnate in Jesus Christ.
  • Let us move beyond caution rooted in self protection and recover moral authority anchored in commitment to Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.  
  • Let us object with boldness when governing powers offer solutions of war that conflict with the gospel message of self-emptying love.  
  • Let us with compassion share the pain of God's children who suffer from the devastation of war and those who live in poverty resulting from misplaced priorities and misguided public policies.  
  • Let us work toward unity in a world of diversity, that all peoples will come to know that we belong to one another, and that "in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself ... and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us"(2 Corinthians 5:19).  
    Therefore, be it resolved, that the members of the General Conference of 2008
  • Endorse the bishops' statement "A Call to Repentance and Peace with Justice."
  • Confess our failure as a denomination and as individuals adequately to teach and witness about issues related to war and peace.
    • Pledge ourselves and invite all United Methodists, as individuals and as conferences, congregations, institutions, and agencies of the Church, to work tirelessly for the day when "nation shall not lift up sword against nation," and "neither shall they learn war any more" (Isaiah 2:4c, NRSV).