NCC responds to Russian attack on Georgia
Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, General Secretary of the National Council of
Churches USA, has issued a statement calling the recent Russian invasion
of Georgia “a disheartening reminder that the 21st century remains a
primitive age of fanatical nationalism and military bullying.”
New York, August 13, 2008 -- Russia's attack on Georgia is a
disheartening reminder that the 21st century remains a primitive age of
fanatical nationalism and military bullying.
more distressing is the fact that both Russia and Georgia are Christian
nations with ancient church roots. Church leaders and laity in both
nations have courageously borne witness to the Gospel of Christ in the
halls of political power, but their words have gone unheeded.
Political leaders in Russia and Georgia -- indeed in many other nations
including our own -- seek to justify military interventions on the
grounds of national interest or public security. In general the churches
of Christ reject such puerile political rationalizations.
Orthodox Peace Fellowship has been particularly clear in condemning the
conflict in Georgia as "a sin and a scandal."
Orthodox Christians and all of the 35 diverse traditions that compose
the National Council of Churches testify that our Creator is a God of
love who came to us in human form to save us from destruction, calling
on us to love god and one another. The military intervention in Georgia,
like all actions born of hatred or callous self-interest, is an act of
madness, a senseless rejection of God's love and salvation.
commitment to peace with justice is a basic tenet of the churches'
movement toward visible unity. The delegates to the World Council of
Churches' founding assembly in Amsterdam in 1948 put it succinctly: "War
is contrary to the will of God." War may at times be a necessary evil,
but it is inherently evil . Christians must never identify violence
against others with the will of God or countenance such rhetoric when
used by their governments. God's purpose is shalom. We do not go to war
in the name of God.
welcome signs that the conflict in Georgia is ebbing, but we note that
the underlying causes of nationalism and ethnocentrism -- corruptions of
the Gospel of Christ -- remain in place. It is deeply disturbing to note
that the brutality in Georgia is part of a world-wide trend. Every day
we hear reports of military intervention and violence in the
Philippines, in Sri Lanka, in Sudan and Darfur, in Zimbabwe and
elsewhere. There is also considerable suffering in Afghanistan and Iraq,
although our media's preoccupation with those conflicts distracts us
from suffering in other nations. ...
out of a knowledge that the suffering in war can never be understood by
those who have not experienced it -- the nauseating, incapacitating
fear, the horror of seeing loved ones dismembered and dying, the
suffocating stench in the aftermath of battle. We pray for all who
suffer in times of armed conflict, especially the young, the old, the
innocent bystanders. We pray for those who put on their country's
uniform and trust that the jobs they are sent to do are necessary and
pray for the discernment and courage of church and religious leaders and
persons of faith in nations that struggling with these issues. We pray
for political leaders throughout the world, that they may hear God's
still but persistent voice when they face difficult decisions for the
welfare of their nation. We pray for a time when military intervention
is no longer considered a reasonable solution to political problems, and
when those who decide to go to war are regarded as criminally
for a peace that is more than an absence of war. We pray for a peace
that is founded on God's love and built on our love for one another. We
pray for a peace that stills the turbulence in our souls. We pray for
the peace that passes all understanding.
National Council of Churches
PC(USA) and RCA send letter to churches in Georgia and Russia
conflict in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia continues, the Rev.
Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian
Church (U.S.A.), has joined with the Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson,
general secretary of the Reformed Church in America (RCA), in sending a
letter of concern and solidarity to church partners in Georgia and
The text of the
letter, and a list of church partners to whom it has been sent >>