Beliefnet News

Adelle Banks
An interfaith coalition of religious leaders is congratulating
the Bush administration for reaching an agreement with North Korea to
shutdown its nuclear weapons facilities.
“The agreement with North Korea demonstrates the value of diplomacy
in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons,” the leaders said in a
statement released Tuesday. The statement was signed by Catholic and
Episcopal bishops as well as Presbyterian, evangelical and Muslim
“It validates the preferential use of words, rather than war, as a
response to conflict. Our religious traditions teach that efforts should
be made to explore every alternative in resolving a conflict before
going to war,” the faith leaders said.
The State Department announced Saturday that it had been informed
that North Korea had shut down its Yongbyon nuclear complex. The
International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed Wednesday that five
facilities, four at Yongbyon and one at Taechon, have been shut down.
The interfaith statement, developed by Faithful Security: The
National Religious Partnership on the Nuclear Weapons Danger, was signed
by a dozen leaders of Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths.
The signatories included Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine
Jefferts Schori; Sayyid M. Syeed, national director of the Islamic
Society of North America; the Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, stated clerk of
the Presbyterian Church (USA); Rabbi Gerald Serotta of Temple Shalom in
Chevy Chase, Md.; Bishop Thomas G. Wenski, chairman of the U.S.
Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Policy; and
Ronald J. Sider, president of Evangelicals for Social Action.
They asked the administration to consider a similar strategy with
“The United States should engage Iran in direct negotiations without
preconditions to achieve the goal of preventing the spread of nuclear
weapons and enhancing regional security,” they wrote.
Faithful Security, based in Goshen, Ind., developed after the late
Rev. William Sloane Coffin, a Protestant social activist, convened a
meeting of religious leaders in 2005 to discuss how faith leaders could
address the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Copyright 2007 Religion News Service

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