The nation's religious denominations explain their positions on war with Iraq.

Evangelical Lutheran Church of America
The ELCA opposes unilateral military action against Iraq and is a member of the Win Without War coalition. In a February 13 letter to ELCA leaders from Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson, the Bishop urged a peaceful solution, in accordance with the ELCA's social statement, "For Peace in God's World."

Read more:
  • Read the Bishop's letter
  • Complete Iraq resources from the Lutheran Office of Governmental Affairs
  • "For Peace in God's World" Statement

    Eastern Orthodox Churches
    A joint statement from leaders of several Orthodox churches urged peace: "In the uniquely significant days ahead, may our good and loving God enable us all, the people of this blessed country, to know and to do what is just and right in order to secure a lasting peace on our planet Earth."

    Read more:

  • Read the statement

  • Episcopal Church
    A June resolution by the church's Executive Council stated the council "opposes unilateral military action against Iraq for the sole purpose of overthrowing the regime of Saddam Hussein, and supports efforts to implement UN resolutions on weapons inspections and military sanctions rather than the use of force to address the problem." The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church USA issued a statement against the war in September 2002. Since then, several other bishops have made statements and sent letters to President Bush.

    Read more:
  • Presiding Bishop's statement, September 2002
  • Complete Episcopal Iraq resources

    Mormons - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
    The LDS church has not made an official statement about the war. At the General Conference in October, Elder Russell M. Nelson, a leader in the church, urged peace. He said, "Now, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, what does the Lord expect of us? As a Church, we must 'renounce war and proclaim peace.'" More recently, LDS President Gordon Hinckley urged prayers for U.S. troops.

    Read more:
  • News story about General Conference
  • News story about other peace statements
  • Elder Nelson's talk on peace

    Presbyterian Church (USA)
    The PCUSA's General Assembly outlined a policy about Iraq in 2002, in which the church body "urges the United States government to exercise restraint in its contemplated military action against Iraq." The denomination also supports ending all economic sanctions, but urges "comprehensive efforts by the United Nations, the United States, and the governments of the Middle East to remove all weapons of mass destruction from that region, as part of the worldwide effort to eliminate such weapons and end their development."

    Read more:
  • General Assembly policy
  • Iraq resources for Presbyterians

    Quakers - American Friends Service Committee
    The AFSC has been actively antiwar and is a member of Win Without War. Its website includes "10 Reasons to Oppose the War with Iraq" and promotes an Iraq peace pledge. A joint statement from leaders of five major Quaker organizations said: "We find many compelling reasons for all people of faith and reason to oppose this war and this dangerous new military policy. Among them are:

  • A war with Iraq is likely to cause tremendous loss of human lives, vast destruction, and terrible human suffering.
  • The aftermath of a war with Iraq is likely to include years of chaos and suffering in Iraq, instability and violence in the Middle East and South Asia, hatred of the United States for generations to come, and an increase in acts of terrorism against countries deemed responsible for the war.
  • Such a war, and the policy that underlies it, would legitimize preemptive military strikes by nations that feel threatened by others. Such a terrible precedent would undermine international law and the U.N. Charter and could lead to a tremendous increase in wars and violence in the future."

    Read more:
  • Joint Quaker statement
  • AFSC Iraq resource guide
  • Quaker letters and statements

    Southern Baptist Convention
    The Southern Baptist Convention has not taken an official denominational position on war with Iraq. However it has named Richard Land, head of its Religious Ethics & Liberty Commission, as the group's official spokesperson on the issue. Land, who has come out supporting the war and has strong ties to the Bush administration, told Beliefnet that a substantial majority of Southern Baptists support Bush's stance on Iraq.

    Read more:
  • Richard Land's position - Beliefnet article
  • Baptist Press article on Land's position

    United Methodist Church
    The United Methodist Church has been very involved in antiwar activity. One of its most prominent bishops, Bishop Melvin Talbert, appeared in a television advertising campaign against the war. The UMC is a member of the Win Without War coalition. The President of the United Methodis Council of Bishops, Sharon Brown Christopher, sent a letter to President Bush urging him to use "every possible means to prevent war."

  • Letter to President Bush
  • Council of Bishops Resolution on Iraq
  • Complete denominational statements

    United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
    The Pope has come out strongly against war with Iraq and even met with Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz. A November statement by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops urged peaceful action instead of war and said war with Iraq did not meet the conditions of "just war."

    "We pray for President Bush and other world leaders that they will find the will and the ways to step back from the brink of war with Iraq and work for a peace that is just and enduring."

    Read more:
  • The Bishops' Statement
  • Vatican's Iraq policy
  • The Way to Peace - Resources from the USCCB
  • Quotes from the Pope and other Church leaders

    United Church of Christ
    "We firmly oppose this advance to war," the leaders of the United Church of Christ said in a statement.

    Read more:
  • Statement on Iraq
  • United Church of Christ resources on Iraq

    Union of American Hebrew Congregations
    In a January 29, 2003 statement, the president of the U.S.'s major Reform Judaism body, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, wrote that his group would support unilateral U.S. action if these four conditions were met and the threat of Iraq using nuclear weapons was still unresolved:
    "1. International cooperation is far, far better than unilateral action, and the U.S. must explore all reasonable means of attaining such support.
    2. Non-military action is always preferable to military action, and the U.S. must fully explore all options to resolve the situation through such means.
    3. If the effort to obtain international cooperation and support through the United Nations fails, the U.S. must work with other nations to obtain cooperation in any military action.
    4. The President should not act without Congressional approval of the use of force including any unilateral military action taken by the U.S.

    Read more:
  • Read Rabbi Yoffie's statement
  • Iraq resources from the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

  • Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations
    "While it is preferable for this threat to be neutralized through diplomacy, should these efforts fail, the United States has every right and obligation under the United Nations Charter and International Law to take firm and appropriate action."

    Read more:
  • Read the Orthodox Union statement

    United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
    The major Conservative Judaism body issued a short statement in November supporting President Bush's policies on Iraq: "The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism supports the shared objective of the President and Congress to insure that appropriate action is taken to eliminate the danger posed by Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction. Toward this end, we strongly encourage continued diplomatic efforts directly and through the United Nations. The United Synagogue continues to express its appreciation and gratitude to all US forces fighting against global terrorism."
  • Read more:

  • Read the USCJ statement

    Council on American-Islamic Relations
    CAIR is against war in Iraq and has participated in several antiwar events and rallies. A December letter from CAIR New York members to Colin Powell protests a war with Iraq that would be "for oil [or] for the sake of supporting Israel's military hegemony over the strategic Middle East."

    Read more:
  • CAIR New York's letter to Colin Powell

    Unitarian Universalist Association
    Unitarian congregations have been active in antiwar protests and the UUA is a member of the Win Without War coalition. The Unitarian Universalist United Nations office issued a statement that said: "We, the Board of Directors of the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office, oppose a unilateral, pre-emptive attack on the people and country of Iraq."

    Read more:
  • Complete UUA coverage of Iraq
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