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U.S. religious stands on war with Iraq

Posted: Friday, February 28, 2003

A summary of U.S. religious bodies' stands on a possible war with Iraq:

NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES (November):

Its assembly, representing 36 ''mainline'' Protestant and Orthodox denominations, was ''deeply disturbed'' about possible strikes. It said the United States is ''increasingly militaristic and unilateral'' and commended work through the United Nations to ensure Iraq's compliance ''without going to war.''

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UNITED STATES CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS (February):

Reaffirming a November statement from all U.S. bishops, the group's president said ''it is difficult to justify resort to war against Iraq, lacking clear and adequate evidence of an imminent attack of a grave nature'' or of Iraq's involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks.

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SOUTHERN BAPTISTS CONVENTION (January):

Social-issues spokesman Richard Land said it is ''only a matter of time'' before al-Qaida uses Iraqi weapons against America, so ''we have a right to defend our allies and ourselves,'' with or without the United Nations. But war should be a last resort and minimize civilian casualties.

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UNITED METHODIST CHURCH (October):

Its Board of Church and Society advocated peaceful U.N. efforts to disarm Iraq and concluded, ''We do not believe that war would achieve a safer or better world.''

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CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM (November): The United Synagogue supported eliminating Iraq's weaponry through continued U.N. diplomacy.

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ORTHODOX JUDAISM (February): The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations' chief executive said it would fully support as a ''just war'' any U.S. military action ''required to eradicate this evil.''

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REFORM JUDAISM (September): Union of American Hebrew Congregations leaders said the United States should pursue international support and nonmilitary options but -- if necessary, and if Congress approves -- it would ''support unilateral military action.''

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ISLAM (January): The American Muslim Alliance, American Muslim Council, Council on American-Islamic Relations and Muslim Public Affairs Council jointly urged Saddam Hussein to resign and President Bush to bar military action, which would destabilize the region, build support for terrorism, fuel anti-Americanism, endanger soldiers ''for no convincing reason'' and cost ''many innocent Iraqi lives.''



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