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United Methodist Bishops Urge Immediate Withdrawal of Troops From Iraq

Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church
Bishop Roy I. Sano, Executive Secretary
100 Maryland Ave. NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 547-6270

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 9, 2007

Contact: Stephen Drachler
(615) 417-9284
sedrachler@comcast.net

United Methodist Bishops Urge Immediate Withdrawal of Troops From Iraq

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. Bishops of The United Methodist Church today called for the United States and its coalition partners to begin an immediate withdrawal of all troops from Iraq.

In addition to calling for the immediate safe and full withdrawal of troops and no additional deployment of troops to Iraq, their resolution urges the United States and its partners to:

  • Declare there will be no permanent military bases in Iraq.
  • Increase support for military veterans of the Iraq war and all wars.
  • Initiate and support a plan for reconstruction in Iraq, giving a high priority to humanitarian, social and educational needs of the Iraqi people.

The resolution is directed to U.S. President George W. Bush, the U.S. Congress, and leaders of the coalition.

"Every day that the war continues, more soldiers and innocent civilians are killed with no end in sight to the violence, bloodshed and carnage," the bishops said in their resolution. They cited the deaths of more than 3,800 United States soldiers, 300 from other coalition countries, more than 28,000 wounded and the deaths of more than 76,000 Iraqi civilians.

The bishops made the call during their semi-annual meeting at a church retreat center in North Carolina's Smoky Mountains. The bishops represent more than 11 million United Methodists in the United States, Africa, Europe, and the Philippines. About 125 active and retired bishops from around the globe attended the meeting.

In calling for the immediate withdrawal, the bishops said their position is based on the denomination's position that "war is incompatible with the teachings and examples of Christ," and Jesus Christ's call for "his followers to be peacemakers."

This is the latest in a series of steps the denomination's leaders have taken to question the Iraq war. During their Nov. 2005 meeting, the bishops approved a resolution urging President Bush, who is United Methodist, to create timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

The bishops called on United Methodists throughout the world to "be peacemakers by word and deed," by conducting regular prayer vigils for congregations and communities; to care for all impacted by the war, including combatants and non-combatants by honoring the dead, healing the wounded, and calling for an end to the war.