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Book of Resolutions: The United Methodist Church and Peace

 

Then justice will reside in wild lands, / and righteousness will abide in farmlands. / The fruit of righteousness will be peace, / and the outcome of righteousness, / calm and security forever. / Then my people will live in a peaceful dwelling, / in secure homes, in carefree resting places. (Isaiah 32:16-18)

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility. (Ephesians 2:14 NIV)

Christ is our peace. He is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Yet we know that the peace of Christ, the peace that passes all understanding, has not always ruled our lives and swayed our actions as peoples, institutions, or nations. We have not always followed God’s will for peace evidenced by the many conflicts and wars waged throughout human history. We have not always sought counsel from the Christ whose words assure us justice and peace, compassion and forgiveness, and yes, salvation and liberation, even in our wayward and non-peaceful ways.

The Bible makes justice the inseparable companion of peace (Isaiah 32:17; James 3:18). Both point to right and sustainable relationships in human society, the vitality of our connections with the earth, the well-being and integrity of creation. To conceive peace apart from justice is to compromise the hope that justice and peace shall embrace (Psalm 85:10). When justice and peace are lacking we need to reform our ways.

Peace is God’s will and must be done. Christ’s true disciples must work for peace: build it and not just keep it; live it and not just aspire for it. If Christ is our peace, then peace must be imperative. In the end, war and conflict will not triumph over the Prince of Peace.

Even God’s people, however, do not always see and acknowledge the peace of Christ and God’s justice. As the prophets have done, God’s people must be reminded and warned of their collusion with destruction and with injustice and non-peace. The United Methodist Church, whose commitment to peace is rooted in its obedience to the Prince of Peace, must recognize the things that make for peace.

The Council of Bishops asserted in 2009 that God’s people “have neglected the poor, polluted our air and water, and filled our communities with instruments of war. We have turned our backs on God and one another. By obstructing God’s will, we have contributed to pandemic poverty and disease, environmental degradation, and the proliferation of weapons and violence” (“A Call of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church to Hope and Action for God’s Good Creation,” 2009).

The bishops’ call was prefaced by an assertion that God’s creation is in crisis and that our neglect, selfishness, and pride have fostered a trio of “threats to life and hope.” The gravity of these threats prompted the bishops to call for a comprehensive response that urged United Methodists and “people of goodwill” to offer themselves as instruments of God’s renewing Spirit in the world.

“God calls us and equips us to respond,” the bishops exhorted. They reminded us of God’s offer of redemption to all creation and reconciliation to all things, “whether on earth or in heaven” (Colossians 1:20 NRSV). The bishops made us recognize again that God’s Spirit is always and everywhere at work in the world fighting poverty, restoring health, renewing creation, and reconciling peoples.

The bishops’ collective prayer is that God will accept and use our lives and resources that we rededicate to a ministry of peace, justice, and hope to overcome poverty and disease, environmental degradation, and the proliferation of weapons and violence. The bishops’ 2009 call for hope and action built on their 2004 document, “In Search of Security.” The 2004 document asserted that “the longing for safety is a feeling that all human beings share with one another. . . . The way to real peace and security is reconciliation. We will not attain full reconciliation between all peoples before God’s final consummation because the forces of evil and destruction are still at work in the hearts of human beings and in their relationships. But we are called to be peacemakers and ministers of reconciliation until our Lord comes (“In Search of Security,” Council of Bishops Task Force on Safety and Security, 2004).

The 2009 call for hope and action also recalled the bishops’ 1986 study document, “In Defense of Creation: The Nuclear Crisis and a Just Peace.” The 2009 document described “In Defense of Creation” as “an urgent message to all United Methodists and the Church at large on the growing threat of nuclear war and of the extinction of life on the planet through a ‘nuclear winter.’” The bishops reasserted that “the nuclear crisis threatens ‘planet earth itself,’ that the arms race ‘destroys millions of lives in conventional wars, repressive violence, and massive poverty,’ and that the ‘arms race is a social justice issue, not only a war and peace issue.’”

“Peace is not simply the absence of war, a nuclear stalemate or combination of uneasy ceasefires. It is that emerging dynamic reality envisioned by prophets where spears and swords give way to implements of peace (Isaiah 2:1-4); where historic antagonists dwell together in trust (Isaiah 11:4-11); and where righteousness and justice prevail. There will be no peace with justice until unselfish and informed life is structured into political processes and international arrangements” (Bishops’ Call for Peace and the Self-Development of Peoples).

The mission of Jesus Christ and his church is to serve all peoples regardless of their government, ideology, place of residence, or status. Surely the welfare of humanity is more important in God’s sight than the power or even the continued existence of any state. Therefore, the church is called to look beyond human boundaries of nation, race, class, sex, political ideology, or economic theory and to proclaim the demands of social righteousness essential to peace.

The pursuit of peace is a universal longing. It is a fervent prayer of all religions. It is the pilgrimage that the ecumenical community continues to embark on. At the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Busan, Korea, Christian leaders asserted in their “Statement on the Way to Peace”: “Those who seek a just peace seek the common good. On the way of just peace, different disciplines find common ground, contending worldviews see complementary courses of action, and one faith stands in principled solidarity with another. Social justice confronts privilege, economic justice confronts wealth, ecological justice confronts consumption, and political justice confronts power itself. Mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation become shared public experiences. The spirit, vocation and process of peace are transformed.”

The following are interrelated areas that must be dealt with concurrently in a quest for lasting peace in a world community.

I. Disarmament

“In that day I will make a covenant for them / with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky / and the creatures that move along the ground. / Bow and sword and battle / I will abolish from the land, / so that all may lie down in safety” (Hosea 2:18 NIV).

The arms race goes on. “After many decades and millions of dollars, we are no more secure or peaceful in our world with a larger number of nations in the ‘nuclear club,’” the Council of Bishops said.

While the exact number of the world’s combined stockpile of nuclear warheads is not known, all respectable institutions monitoring and reporting such numbers agree that they remain at unacceptably high levels. (See “World Nuclear Stockpile Report,” Updated August 28, 2014. Ploughshares Fund. http://www.ploughshares.org/world-nuclear-stockpile-report accessed on January 12, 2015. See also “Worldwide Nuclear Arsenals,” Fact Sheet by Union of Concerned Scientists, http://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/legacy/assets/documents/nwgs/Worldwide-Nuclear-Arsenals-Fact-Sheet.pdf accessed on January 12, 2015. Also, “Nuclear Weapons: Who Has What at a Glance: Fact Sheets and Briefs,” http://www.armscontrol.org/print/2566 accessed on January 12, 2015.)

The illicit trading in small arms, light weapons and ammunition remains a worldwide scourge even as the Arms Trade Treaty took effect December 14, 2014. With less reliable data compared to nuclear weapons, small arms remain a worldwide scourge, according to the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (http://www.un.org/disarmament/convarms/salw/, accessed January 12, 2015).

If there is any concern in the international community where international law intersects with ethics and morality, it is the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons. In an advisory opinion sought by the UN General Assembly in 1996, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled: “The threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, and in particular the principles and rules of humanitarian law. . . . There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.”

In spite of the ICJ ruling, billions of dollars in research, development, maintenance, and deployment continue to be spent on nuclear weapons. International law bans chemical and biological weapons, including landmines and cluster munitions, for being excessively cruel and indiscriminate. This has been proven in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and yet nuclear weapons, remain outside of this classification.

The danger of a nuclear holocaust remains as long as nations maintain nuclear weapons, however. Many more people will be maimed and killed as long as small arms are easy to acquire and readily available for use in domestic quarrels, street fights, or in wars and conflict zones.

Wars and rumors of wars are not unique in our time. What is new is the sophistication with which they are waged. High-precision technologies exist side-by-side with conventional weapons. For example, drones and other robotic weapons systems are progressively developed and increasingly employed. Their use to select and strike at targets without human intervention when operating in fully autonomous mode must be banned. These instruments of destruction fracture the fragility of peace. They are not under the control of nations only. They are also in the hands of non-state actors, therefore making possible unregulated, indiscriminate, and unpredictable use. Their use falls under the judgment of a God whose design is of a world of peaceful, caring, and loving relationships.

Current expenditures on weapons are distorting priorities in national budgeting. Because of fear of unemployment, desire for profits, and contributions to the national balance of payments, the arms industry engenders great political power. Arms-producing nations seek to create markets, then vie with one another to become champions among the arms merchants of the world. We must advocate for the reallocation of national military budgets for purposes that are humanitarian and sustainable, and promote civilian peacebuilding and conflict transformation.

Disarmament is related to military spending and is possible and sustainable when defense funding in national budgets does not overshadow and underfund the social and welfare needs of people. Meaningful disarmament will happen when countries like the United States, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, Japan, United Kingdom, Germany, India, and Brazil, which lead the world in military spending (according to 2013 report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute), start to redirect their defense budgets to peaceful and sustainable purposes.

National budgets are moral documents. They are a testament to national priorities. May it be that such budgets invest in life-giving and life-sustaining priorities, indeed, the things that make for peace.

We support initiatives in every part of the world that move toward the goal of disarmament. This demands a radical reordering of priorities coupled with an effective system of international peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding. The Church must constantly keep that goal before peoples and governments. In particular, we support the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Food, health, social services, jobs, and education are vital to the welfare of nations. Yet the overriding priority given by governments to “defense” constantly threatens their availability. Millions starve and development stagnates. Repeatedly, regional tensions grow, conflicts erupt, and outside forces intervene to advance or protect their interests without regard to international law or human rights.

Our bishops’ historic position remains sound and clear: “We say a clear and unconditional ‘NO’ to nuclear war and to any use of nuclear weapons. We conclude that nuclear deterrence is a position that cannot receive the church’s blessing” (“In Defense of Creation”).

We affirm the prophetic position of our bishops who said in their statement “In Defense of Creation”: “We say a clear and unconditional ‘NO’ to nuclear war and to any use of nuclear weapons. We conclude that nuclear deterrence is a position that cannot receive the church’s blessing.”

Accordingly, we reject the possession of nuclear weapons as a permanent basis for securing and maintaining peace. Possession can no longer be tolerated, even as a temporary expedient. We call all nations that possess nuclear weapons to renounce these vile instruments of mass destruction and to move expeditiously to dismantle all nuclear warheads and delivery vehicles. As a first step, we support all movement to ban the “first strike” policy from all North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) doctrine.

We support the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. We call upon all nations to sign and ratify these important treaties and to abide by their provisions. These treaties form part of a non-nuclear proliferation regime under the purview of the United Nations. The ratification of the New Start Treaty by the United States and Russia in 2010 is to pave the way for the reduction of strategic nuclear missile launchers by half. It is, though, only a beginning. Far more agreements need to be signed not just by these two powers but also by other nuclear and non-nuclear states alike. Beyond nuclear proliferation itself, the threat of nuclear terrorism must inform the move for global disarmament.

Deterrence comes from international controls on materials used to make bombs. We support the concept of nuclear-free zones where governments or peoples in a specific region band together to bar nuclear weapons from the area either by treaty or declaration.

As Christian people committed to stewardship, justice, and peacemaking, we oppose and condemn the use of the Pacific for developing, testing, storage, and transportation of nuclear weapons and weapons-delivery systems and the disposal of radioactive wastes. We further affirm the right of all indigenous peoples to control their health and well-being.

Disarmament deals with not only non-conventional weapons, such as nuclear weapons, but also conventional weapons, particularly small firearms and light weapons. In this regard, we must support the continued review of implementation of the UN Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.

The agreement moves forward the goal of making the Middle East a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. We must help diminish the perceived political and military value of nuclear weapons that is prevalent in security doctrines. A humanitarian approach is crucial to understanding nuclear weapons as cruel, inhumane instruments of mass murder and environmental destruction. True security puts human security over any other national security consideration.

World public opinion justly condemns the use of chemical or biological weapons. Governments must renounce the production and use of these particularly inhumane weapons as part of their national policy. We support universal application of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention.

We support treaty efforts to ban the development, trade, and use of weapons that are inhumane, are excessively injurious, and have indiscriminant effects. Such weapons include landmines, booby traps, weapons with non-detectable fragments, incendiary weapons, dirty bombs, cluster bombs, and blinding laser weapons.

We join religious leaders, physicians, veterans, humanitarian activists, environmentalists, and human-rights advocates in calling governments to sign and ratify the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production, and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, also called the Ottawa Treaty, or simply the Mine Ban Treaty.

Antipersonnel land mines are a growing threat to human community and the environment, kill or maim hundreds of people every week, bring untold suffering and casualties to mostly innocent and defenseless civilians and especially children, obstruct economic development and reconstruction, inhibit the repatriation of refugees and internally displaced persons, and have other severe consequences for years after emplacement. The United States, Russia, and China are among 34 countries that are not signatories to the Mine Ban Treaty. They refuse to halt production of antipersonnel land mines.

Since 2008, the General Conference has condemned the use of cluster bombs. We reiterate this call, urging all governments to stop its production, use, transfer, and stockpiling. Cluster bombs are often scattered indiscriminately in wide areas. Like landmines, they remain a lethal threat to anyone in the area for decades. Their small size and curious shapes make them particularly appealing to children, who make up a large proportion of casualties. Cluster bombs kill and injure people. The almost perpetual threat of explosion prevents people from safely using their land for sustainable and productive, including agricultural, uses. This situation makes rebuilding lives and communities after a conflict more difficult and challenging. We therefore call all countries to sign, accede, and ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which provides for a legal and regulatory framework to address the humanitarian consequences and unacceptable harm to civilians caused by cluster munitions.

We are also concerned about the use of inhumane weapons by civilian or military police. The increasing use of military-grade weapons and munitions, and military-style tactics, by civilian police is troubling. The militarization of police departments does not augur well for ethnic relations and domestic harmony.

Hollow-point (“dumdum”) or other bullets designed to maim are not acceptable weapons for use by civilian or military forces. We support measures that outlaw use of such weapons at all levels.

Progress in disarmament must be monitored so that declarations to disarm are truly matched by action. We support five criteria to use in assessing progress in disarmament:

1. Verification—A state’s unilateral declaration that it does not have nuclear weapons must be confirmed by highly reliable sources and by objective means;

2. Irreversibility—Confidence in compliance grows if controls are sufficient to make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for a state to abandon a disarmament commitment and build or construct a nuclear arsenal;

3. Transparency—It is essential to have hard facts about the size of nuclear arsenals and concrete progress made in eliminating them;

4. Universality—Any agreement to achieve global nuclear disarmament must be fully “global” in geographic scope, with no exceptions; and

5. Legally binding—The world community expects commitments to disarmament to be legally binding.

We affirm peoples’ movements directed to abolition of the tools of war. Governments must not impede public debate on this issue of universal concern.

Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) play important roles in the campaign for global disarmament. Their presence and advocacy at every Review Conference of the NPT as well as in the UN conferences dealing with small arms and light weapons are crucial. NGOs dealing with international humanitarian law, human-rights protection and environmental justice must work together to form a strong foundation for an effective, universal, comprehensive nuclear weapons convention. The convention would outlaw and ban development, possession, use, and threat of use of nuclear weapons.

To realize our commitment to disarmament, we call The United Methodist Church to a ministry of justice and peacebuilding. In particular, we call on the General Board of Global Ministries, nongovernmental organizations, and all governments to increase resources for humanitarian de-mining, mine awareness programs, and increased resources for landmine victim rehabilitation and assistance. We also call on the General Board of Church and Society to advocate for the signature and ratification of all disarmament-related treaties and conventions cited herein.

II. Multilateral Cooperation Among Nations
for Democracy, Freedom, and Peace

“Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” (Psalm 34:14 NIV)

Millions of people still live under oppressive rule and various forms of exploitation. Millions more live under deplorable conditions of racial, sexual, religious, and class discrimination. In many countries, many persons, including Christians, are suffering repression, imprisonment, and torture as a result of their efforts to speak truth to those in power.

Action by governments to encourage liberation and economic justice is essential. Such action must be supported by parallel action on the part of private citizens and institutions, including the churches, if peaceful measures are to succeed. Unless oppression and denial of basic human rights are ended, violence on an increasing scale will continue to erupt in many nations and may spread throughout the world. The human toll in such conflicts is enormous, for it results in new oppression and further dehumanization. We are concerned for areas where oppression and discrimination take place.

We, as United Methodists, must build the conditions for peace through development of confidence and trust between peoples and governments. We are unalterably opposed to those who instill hate in one group for another. Governments or political factions must not use religious, class, racial, or other differences as the means to achieve heinous political purposes. This concern extends to all situations where external commercial, industrial, and military interests are related to national oligarchies that resist justice and liberation for the masses of people. It is essential that governments which support or condone these activities alter their policies to permit and enable people to achieve genuine self-determination.

Democracy thrives under a rule of law founded on human rights and fundamental freedoms. The UN General Assembly World Summit of 2005 reaffirmed democracy as “a universal value based on the freely expressed will of people to determine their political, economic, social and cultural systems, and their full participation in all aspects of their lives.” The UN Democracy Fund was established at this summit. The large majority of the fund is intended for local organizations whose projects aim to strengthen the voice of civil society, promote human rights, and encourage the participation of all groups in democratic processes. United Methodists must promote this fund and help grassroots groups to access it.

Graft and corruption erode the credibility of governments. (See ¶ 163L.) Transparency and accountability are pillars of a democratic system and are checks upon graft and corruption. Much of today’s anger vented against governments arises from graft and corruption, and from economic fraud and exploitation. The United Nations Convention Against Corruption must be supported. This international law deals with promoting prevention, criminalization, law enforcement, international cooperation, asset recovery, technical assistance, and information exchange. It also includes mechanisms for implementation against corruption.

Peace and societal harmony are greatly enhanced when peoples and nations cooperate to address global concerns for economic and environmental justice, for peace and security, and for human dignity and human rights. Addressing these in a manner that invites all peoples and nations to just, participatory, and democratic processes is the hallmark of international law and cooperation, which are the cornerstones of multilateralism. (See Resolution #6133, 2012 Book of Resolutions.) The United Nations is a primary venue for multilateral cooperation and remains to be the best instrument now in existence to pursue these mechanisms and frameworks. (See Social Principles, ¶ 165D.)

III. World Trade, Economic Justice, and Sustainable Development

Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken” (Micah 4:4 NIV).

The gap between rich and poor countries continues to widen. When the surpluses of some arise in part as a result of continued deprivation of others, human rights are bound to be denied. This growing inequity exists in our own communities and in all our nations. Globalization has exacerbated these inequities when plentiful resources are not equitably shared and sustainably used. Past efforts to alleviate these conditions have failed. Too often these efforts have been limited by our own unwillingness to act with the posture of kindness and the ethical attitude of sharing in abundance rather than out of scarcity. Sometimes efforts have been frustrated by private interests and governments striving to protect the wealthy and the powerful.

Debate is growing on why Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of economic success is failing to represent national well-being even as the two are increasingly interconnected. Economic development is heavily dependent on investment in human capacity development. To proponents, the shift must move from simply measuring economic production to measuring the well-being of people. Such a shift moves in the direction of a more equitable, sustainable future (Center for Partnership Studies, “The State of Society: Measuring Economic Success and Human Well-Being,” 2010).

To eliminate inequities in the control and distribution of the fruits of God’s good earth, which are the common goods of humanity, we are called to join the search for more just, equitable international economic structures and relationships. We seek a society that will assure all persons and nations the opportunity to achieve their maximum potential.

Sustainable development is development that is people- centered, human rights-based, and justice-oriented. Such is the concept of development justice that must define our support for sustainable development and serves as a framework to support as well as critique development agendas developed at the United Nations and other international arenas. According to the Campaign for People’s Goals for Sustainable Development (see http://peoplesgoals.org/), development justice is “a transformative development framework that aims to reduce inequalities of wealth, power, and resources between countries, between rich and poor, and between men and women. Development justice places people, the majority poor and the marginalized, at the front and center of development. It is a paradigm for development that upholds people as the primary agents and subjects of change. Development justice upholds that development will, and should be, designed and adapted in response to the aspirations of the people and their available resources, and not imposed by technocrats and so-called high-level experts for all time and for all peoples.”

In working toward that purpose, we believe these steps are needed:

1. Conceive, develop, and structure economic systems designed to cope with the needs of the world’s peoples and the increased demand on limited and nonrenewable natural resources. Such systems must consider the debilitating effects of climate change on our ecological system and its ability to respond to the increased demands of development and by the population.

2. Implement measures that will free peoples and nations from reliance on financial arrangements that place them in economic bondage. In this regard, we support the creation of a Global Economic Council. This council was one of the recommendations of the Commission of Experts of the President of the UN General Assembly on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System. Such a council, when created, would become the main forum within the United Nations for setting the agenda for worldwide economic and financial policy.

3. Develop policies and practices that establish just prices and avoid damaging fluctuations in price for the exchange of commodities and rare and raw materials. Policies must be developed and supported to stop manipulation and marketing of commodities and rare and raw materials for illegal and unregulated uses, including so called “conflict minerals” used in funding wars and conflicts.

4. Development agencies and international financial institutions must operate with great transparency, accountability, and democratic participation. They must be free from the domination of industrialized economies under the aegis of the Group of 8 or Group of 20 countries. Control of international monetary facilities must be more equitably shared by all the nations, including the needy and less powerful. We support efforts to make the Bretton Woods institutions, namely the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and other international financial institutions more representative, transparent, and democratic, including being accountable within the United Nations framework.

5. The resources of the seabed, subsoil, outer space, and those outside a specific national jurisdiction are the heritage of humanity and should be accepted by all nations as part of the global commons. Their use and protection must be governed by agreements that affirm the common heritage principle. We support UN efforts to develop international law to govern the sea through the Convention on the Law of the Sea and to ensure that the world’s common resources will be used cooperatively and equitably for the welfare of humankind.

6. We urge the appropriate boards and agencies of The United Methodist Church to continue and expand efforts to bring about peace and justice in cooperative and multilateral action between peoples and governments of all countries. Multilateral, rather than bilateral, assistance programs should be encouraged for secular as well as religious bodies. They must be designed to respond to the growing desire of the “developing” countries to become self-reliant and sustainable.

7. Nations that possess less military and economic power than others must be protected through international agreements from loss of control of their own resources and means of production to either transnational enterprises or other governments.

These international policies will not narrow the rich-poor gap within nations unless the disenfranchised poor are enabled to take control of their own political and economic destinies. The internationally accepted principle of free, prior, and informed consent is a great measure to adopt.

Economic and political turmoil within many developing nations has been promoted and used by other powers as an excuse to intervene through subversive activities or military force in furtherance of their own national interests. We condemn this version of imperialism that often parades as international responsibility. The concept and practice of responsibility to protect (R2P) and an evolving counterpart responsibility to prevent are twin measures that deserve our attention and call for the harmonious coexistence of peoples and nations who endeavor to prevent wars and end conflicts.

IV. Peace Research, Education, and Action

“Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19:42 ESV).

The 1960 General Conference established the landmark study “The Christian Faith and War in the Nuclear Age.” That study said, “The Christian Church and the individual must accept responsibility for the creation of a climate of opinion in which creative changes can occur.” It called work for these creative alternatives “our mission field as we live as disciples of the Prince of Peace.”

The study, “In Search of Security” issued by the Council of Bishops Task Force on Safety and Security in June 2004, asserted: “Fear causes us to accumulate weapons and to devote all too much of our resources to the goal of deterring our supposed enemy. Paradoxically enough, it is the special temptation of the strong and the rich to overreact in this way. This blocks resources that could be used much more creatively for development and social justice around the world.”

The living out of peace prospers in a climate of mutual understanding, tolerance, and the acknowledgment of the inherent dignity and self-realization of every human being, indeed of every child of God. Peace, security, and human rights help realize sustainable development and social justice in the world.

For true peace and security to take root in the lives of people and in the relations of nations, we call upon The United Methodist Church, especially those engaged in informal and formal learning from primary to higher education, in the light of its historical teachings and its commitment to peace, human rights, and self-development of peoples, to:

1. Seek the establishment of educational institutions and the development of programs and curricula devoted to the learning and living out of peace and human rights;

2. Develop alternatives to vocations that work for peace, and support individuals in their quest;

3. Explore and apply ways of resolving domestic and international differences that affirm human fulfillment and tolerance, rather than exploitation and violence;

4. Affirm and employ methods that build confidence and trust between peoples and countries, including training in multicultural understanding and appreciation of differences, rejecting all promotion of hatred and mistrust;

5. Continue to develop and implement the search for peace through educational experiences, including immersion and educational exchange programs, church school classes, schools of Christian mission, and other settings throughout the church;

6. Encourage local churches and members to take actions that make for peace and to act in concert with other peoples and groups of goodwill toward the achievement of a peaceful world; and

7. Develop study and action materials that incorporate the understanding and practice of peacekeeping actions that keep the peace through law and order, peacemaking actions that make for peace in personal, institutional, and social relations, and peacebuilding infrastructures fostering values that secure peace and constitute justice.

8. Commend to study the following international documents that engender peace and justice, including religious and cultural harmony: “Promotion of Interreligious Dialogue” (United Nations General Assembly Resolution, hereinafter UN GA/RES/59/23), “Promotion of religious and cultural understanding, harmony and cooperation” (UN GA/RES/59/142), “Global Agenda for Dialogue Among Civilizations” (UN GA/RES/56/6), “International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (UN GA/RES/53/25), “International Day of Peace” (UN GA/RES/55/282), “Program of Action on a Culture of Peace” (GA/RES/53/243 B), UNESCO Director-General’s report to the 59th Session of the UN General Assembly “Promotion of religious and cultural understanding, harmony and cooperation” (UN GA/RES/58/128), and the Hague Agenda for Justice and Peace and its Global Campaign for Peace Education.

ADOPTED 1984

AMENDED AND READOPTED 2000, 2008, 2016

RESOLUTION #6129, 2012 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS

RESOLUTION #6094, 2008 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS

RESOLUTION #338, 2004 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS

RESOLUTION #318, 2000 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS

See Social Principles, ¶ 165B, C.

From The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church - 2016. Copyright © 2016 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.

Category: Book of Resolutions
Tags: Peace