Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Christian Peace Witness in Iraq in ’07!!

This just in from my friends at the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America:

Plans Being Made for “Christian Witness for Peace in Iraq”

BPFNA is an organizing partner in the Christian Witness for Peace in Iraq, an ecumenical group working toward a public witness event in Washington, DC in March 2007. The following is taken from a statement of the group. More information will be available on the BPFNA website as plans come together.
We invite you to join us in a “Christian Witness for Peace in Iraq.” As followers of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, our faith compels us to repent of our silence and our complicity with the invasion and occupation of Iraq and to renew our commitment to peacemaking. We ask you to join us in praying for peace, studying the scriptures, learning nonviolence, lighting candles of hope and gathering together for an ecumenical public witness on March 16, 2007.
Peace Witness
Focus1. End the U.S. Occupation. Like Isaiah, we are called to raise our prophetic voice, saying that security cannot be achieved through military domination of one people over another. We call on one another to learn to depend on God for genuine security. We call on the President Congress and to bring our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, to remove our military bases, and to stop threatening Iran and other nations.
2. Support Our Troops. Like Jesus, who healed the sick and preached good news to the poor, we are called to be a pastoral presence to our country. We call on one another to honor soldiers and their families who give so much of themselves in times of conflict. We call on the President and Congress to provide generous support for veterans and active-duty soldiers and their families as they seek to rebuild their lives.
3. Rebuild Iraq. Like Paul, we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves and to care even for our enemies. The lives of our sisters and brothers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and across the Middle East have been turned upside down by the war. We call on one another to financially support relief efforts in Iraq through our denominations. We call on the President and Congress to lead the way in funding the reconstruction of Iraq and providing humanitarian aid for shattered Iraqi families,for our experience in other conflicts has taught us that such assistance is the most effective path to real security for all people around the world.
4. Say NO to Torture. Like the disciple who learned to put away the sword, we are called to treat others as we want to be treated. We call on one another to learn and practice the discipline of active nonviolence: to resist violence and injustice and to construct the culture of peace and reconciliation that we all desire. We insist that our government treat all enemy combatants humanely and take decisive action to ensure that torture is banned by all agencies of the United States government.
We invite you to join in a Christian witness against the war in Iraq, taking one or more of these forms war in Iraq, taking at least one of these forms:
• praying daily for the end of the war and occupation
• studying the Bible and its implications for U.S. foreign policy
• learning about and practicing active nonviolence
• fasting toward grounding our security in God
• forming groups for prayer, study and action
• inviting your neighbors to join in public witness against the war
• lighting candles in the windows of your home and house of worship
• participating in a weekly peace witness in your town center
Witness in Washington, D.C.
These preparations will culminate in a public Christian witness for peace in Washington, D.C., on March 16, 2007. We will share in an evening ecumenical worship service, a candlelight procession to the White House, and an all-night peace vigil, during which some participants may engage in “divine obedience” (civil disobedience) and risk possible arrest. We invite you to come to come to Washington, D.C. or to join similar public witness events in your community. We will provide resources for this invitation on our website, which is coming soon. We invite you to register your participation on the website.We believe that until the Christian community is willing to take risks for peace, to put its words into action, to publicly witness that the war in Iraq is wrong, more people will die, more violence will shatter more lives, and we will all be less secure. Let us commit to the fullness of the Gospel vision of justice, peace, inclusive community and wholeness. Let us choose life that we and our children and the people of Iraq may live!
Scriptural references: Luke 19:41-42, Isaiah 31, Luke 7:22, Galatians 5:13-15; Romans 12:19-21, Matthew 26:51-52, Matthew 7:12, Deuteronomy 30:19

December 15, 2006 Posted by | Iraq, nonviolence, peace | Comments Off on Christian Peace Witness in Iraq in ’07!!

Muslim Leader Speaks Out Against Holocaust Denial

We often hear that Christians and Jews will speak out against OUR extremists, but that Muslims won’t. It’s not true and the following proves it. [ BTW, I know Ibrahim Ramey since he was previously the head of the Disarmament Program of the Fellowship of Reconciliation and, prior to that, lived in Louisville, KY where we both served on the steering committee of the local F.O.R. chapter. I am blessed with having some of the coolest friends.]

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, Most Merciful

True Muslims Must Never Deny the European Holocaust
By Ibrahim Ramey
History will recall the tragedy of the genocide that slaughtered some six million European Jews between the rise of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party in 1933 and the culmination of the Second World War in Europe in May, 1945. The evidence of this crime, and the horrible magnitude of this killing, is irrefutable. From sources as varied as Nazi war records, film documentation, and most importantly, the testimony of survivors and witnesses, we know that the mass murder of European Jews was, indeed, the single greatest crime of genocide in the twentieth century.
Yet the world now witnesses yet another wave of historical revisionism and Holocaust denial, this time emerging not from European Anti-Semites, but from none other than the President of Iran. Indeed, this head of state has taken the unprecedented act of hosting an international conference of anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers, and even white racists like former Klan leader David Duke, to gather in Tehran to deny the magnitude, if not the very existence, of this barbaric act. As a Muslim of African decent in the United States, whose ancestors were victimized by the enormous crime of slavery, I object. And I believe that all Muslims, like other human beings who value compassion and truth, must vigorously object to this gathering as well.
Like many in the global Muslim community, I regard the occupation of Palestinian land and the policies of the State of Israel as issues of extreme importance. I am certainly among those who believe that the occupation of Palestinian territory and the denial of full human rights to Palestinians, and even to Arab people regarded as Israeli citizens, is deplorable.But I find it to be morally unconscionable to attempt to build political arguments and political movements on a platform of racial hatred and the denial of the suffering of the human beings who were victimized by the viciousness of Hitler’s genocidal rampage through Europe. President Ahmedinejad should recognize that the issue of the Palestinian people must not, and cannot, be transmogrified into the ugly and spiritually bankrupt context of racial hatred. The cause of freedom must never drink from the well of hatred and racism. And indeed, as the Holy Qur’an compels Muslims to demand justice for the oppressed, we are also called to witness against ourselves when we are in error. And in this case, the President of Iran most certainly is.
The writer is the Director of the Human and Civil Rights Division of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation

December 15, 2006 Posted by | holocaust, human rights., Islam | Comments Off on Muslim Leader Speaks Out Against Holocaust Denial