Religious Leaders Condemn $82 Billion to Prolong War


5-20-05, 12:07 pm

Last week, in a sad and outrageous sign of this country's appalling priorities, President Bush signed into law the $82 billion supplemental war appropriations bill, providing ongoing funding for the U.S. military occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The measure also includes the viciously anti-immigrant Real ID Act, which will strip immigrants of many basic protections.

To highlight the immorality of the $82 billion appropriation, Clergy and Laity Concerned About Iraq (CALC-I) is circulating the following open letter, signed by more than 70 prominent leaders from different denominations and religions.

This is the first time since before the Iraq war began that so many religious leaders have issued a public statement opposing the Bush administration’s Iraq policies.

CALC-I is a national coordinating body for over 150 religious institutions and faith based groups working to end the war and occupation in Iraq. Housed within United for Peace and Justice, CALC-I encourages your participation. For more information about CALC-I, visit .

Religious leaders who would like to join the list of signers to the open letter should contact Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou, the National Coordinator of Clergy and Laity Concerned about Iraq, at


We, the undersigned, write this letter to express our deep disappointment and moral outrage at the passage of the $82 Billion supplemental budget for the continued war against and occupation of Iraq. We as people of faith stand firmly against this war. The best support for our troops would be to bring them back to their families. It is highly disingenuous on the part of the administration to attach the war appropriation bill to the funds for the Tsunami relief efforts and other humanitarian aid. We see this as a political ploy to secure votes and make Tsunami victims no more than political pawns. We write this letter in the light of the above to remind ourselves and others including our national leadership of the following:

First, our nation entered into the war on false pretense and fear and violated international law. Religious leaders from every faith tradition opposed the preemptive war on the people of Iraq because of half-truths, our administration's haste to make war, and the reckless abandonment of democratic processes. The facts remain clear and evidential. After over two years, there has been no discovery of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and there was no Iraqi connection to the terrorist attacks of September 11th. Second, the continued presence of American troops in Iraq only heightens the risk to the newly formed and fragile government of Iraq. The rising insurgency in post-election Iraq is a symptom of the occupation. The over 1500 U.S. casualties and over 15,000 injured American soldiers combined with the innumerable Iraqi lives lost and destroyed continue to bring dishonor to the precious name of democracy.

Third, against this backdrop of violence and manipulation, the current federal budget, with its cuts in social programs and attempt to privatize Social Security while increasing tax breaks that reward the wealthiest citizens, represents a domestic war on the poor and middle class. This budget supports the dual violence of war, which is the use of resources to kill abroad while depleting social programs at home. We raise this concern for justice for the poor of the world as one great unifying theme in the religions of the world which call for those in power to care for the most vulnerable among us.

Therefore, out of our diverse faith traditions, in humble prayer, we issue these demands: 1. We call for the immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq by the ceasing of all U.S. military action and the deployment of U.S. troops to the borders of Iraq.

2. We demand that no U.S. military bases are left behind to insure that no vestiges of occupation remain.

3. We call upon the U.S. and its interests to relinquish all control over reconstruction funds, including Iraqi ministries, new police, and security forces. This relinquishment in support of Iraqi sovereignty and reparations means termination of contracts with U.S. companies and the turning over of projects to Iraqis, while providing transparent accounting for all contracts, including all oil contracts.

4. We call for full funding for Veteran Affairs to provide psychological counseling, health care, and benefits to returning Iraq war veterans and their families as an expression of care for those who have gone to war.

5. We call upon our government to honor the rights of those in the armed forces who seek conscientious objector status until such a time that the war has ended.

It is with our faith in a higher power and our traditions of religious dissent that we strongly urge our government to honor the voice of the faithful and bring our troops home now. Out of our faith commitments, we will continue to speak out about the immorality of the war and occupation of Iraq.


Bishop Michael Banks, Mennonite Church of New York Rev. Edie Beaujon, New York Theological Seminary Colonel Diana Beardsley, USAF (ret), M.A., L.P.C. Rabbi Leonard I. Beerman, Leo Baeck Temple Dr. Virginia Burrus, Professor, Drew Theological School Dr. Rita Nakashima Brock, Co-Director, Faith Voices for the Common Good Rev. Michael Caine, New York Conference, United Church of Christ Rev. Dr. Diane Christopherson, Minister, United Church of Christ Ms. Pat Clark, Executive Director, Fellowship of Reconciliation Rev. John Collins, Methodist Federation for Social Action Mrs. Eloise M. Cranke, Secretary, Des Moines Area Ecumenical Committee for Peace Rev. Chuck Currie, Seminarian, United Church of Christ Dr. Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz, Drew University Ms. Gabriele Kubo Dannemiller, Executive Director, Soulwork Ministries Ms. Neena M. Das, NYC Campaign for a Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Rev. Maureen Dickmann, Rock Bridge Christian Church Rev. Renee DuBose, Pastor, Our Hope Metropolitan Community Church Dr. James M. Dunn, Professor of Christianity and Public Policy, Wake Forest University Divinity School Rev. Janet Ellinger, River Falls United Methodist Church Rev. S. Emmanuel Epps, St. Stephen Church of God Outreach, Inc. The Rev. Dr. Thom White Wolf Fassett, Emeritus General Secretary, General Board of Church and Society, The United Methodist Church Mr. Ethan Vesely-Flad, Editor, 'The Witness' Magazine Rev. Dr. Robert Michael Franklin, Presidential Distinguished Professor of Social Ethics, Emory University The Rev. Paul Fraser, Program Coordinator, Peace and Security Project of Iowa Rev. Dr. David Frenchak, President, Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education Rev. James Gertmenian, Senior Minister, Plymouth Congregational Church Rev. Kaye Glennon, Franksville United Methodist Church The Right Reverend Maximus Gregorios, Community of Inner Light Dr. Susannah Heschel, Chair, Jewish Studies, Dartmouth University Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge, Founder and Editor, Whosoever Magazine Rev. Jim Hopkins, Pastor, Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church Dr. Joseph C. Hough, President, Union Theological Seminary Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, President, Rainbow/Operation PUSH Rabbi Steven Jacobs, Rabbi, Kol Tikvah Temple Dr. Anne Joh, Assistant Professor, Phillips Theological Seminary Rev. Dr. Earl Kooperkamp, Pastor, St. Mary's Episcopal Church Rabbi Douglas E. Krantz, Congregation B’nai Yisrael Mr. Nazir Khaja M.D, Chairman, Islamic Information Service, Los Angeles Dr. Michael Kinnamon, Miller Professor of Mission and Peace, Eden Theological Seminary Rev. Peter Laarman, Executive Director, Progressive Christians United Ms. Margaret Leach, Unity Church of Savannah Rev. Ken Brooker Langston, Director, Disciples Justice Action Network (Disciples of Christ) Rabbi Michael Lerner, Editor, Tikkun Magazine Dr. Walter Lowe, Professor, Candler School of Theology, Emory University The Rev. Mark J. Lukens, Pastor, Bethany Congregational UCC Rev. John Magisano Rev. Heidi L. Mann, Pastor, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Dr. Otto Maduro, Professor, Drew Theological School Mr. Bill Marx, Volunteer Coordinator, Pax Christi Western NY Region Dr. John S. McClure, Chair, Graduate Department of Religion, Vanderbilt University Divinity School Mr. Eric McFadden, President, Catholics for Faithful Citizenship Rev. Sharon L. Moe, Minister, United Methodist Church Dr. Laura Hobgood-Oster, Southwestern University Dr. Andrew S. Park, Professor, United Theological Seminary Rev. Dr. Albert M. Pennybacker, Chair/CEO, Clergy and Laity Network Rev. Dr. Janet L. Parker, Center for the Study of Religion, Princeton University Rev. Russell Pregeant, Chaplain, emeritus, Curry College El Hajj Talib Abdul-Rashid, Imam, Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood Rev. Dr. Lynn Rhodes, Professor, Pacific School of Religion Mr. David Robinson, Executive Director, Pax Christi USA: National Catholic Peace Movement Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou, National Coordinator, Clergy and Laity Concerned about Iraq Mrs. Cindy Sheehan, Co-founder, Gold Star Families for Peace Dr. William J. Sneck, S.J., Associate Director, Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth Rev. Dr. Dave Steffenson, Upstream Institute for Ecological Ethics Dr. Connie R. Stowe, Director of Ministries, Mary Star of the Sea Parish Rev. Eric Straatsma, Peace Think Tank Rev. Fredrick Streets, Chaplin, Yale University Mr. David Wildman, Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Church Rev. Nathan D. Wilson, Minister, Clintonville Christian Church Dr. Cornel West, Professor of Religion, Princeton University Rev. Terrance Yearwood, Hip Hop Caucus