The news of the bombing of Iraq by the government of our country was very troubling to me and continues to be.
I immediately had a flashback to the time when I served as a nurse practitioner in a Mozambican refugee camp. There I learned first-hand that one casualty of war is the suffering of women and children. I believe the same reality has existed for the women and children of Iraq.
I asked my pastor, the Rev. Art Cribbs, whether, as people of the faith community, we should send a petition to Washington stating our opposition to the hostile acts of our government. Working together, we drafted a statement.
The international community, including France and Egypt, has criticized the United States and Great Britain for these two bombing air raids on Iraq. In the first instance, the United States admitted that many of the designated military targets were missed during the bombing. Instead, untold numbers of civilians were hit and presumably injured or killed.
In the midst of this action, there has been no outcry by the faith communities in the United States.
As followers of Jesus Christ, who taught us to love one another and to love our enemies also, we cannot in good conscience stand quietly while these acts of aggression continue.
If the United States is to have any moral authority or standing in the world, the people of this nation must find the courage to voice our opposition to such callous and deadly behavior.
Many people in this country want to trust our government. Many want to believe that the leaders of this nation act justly and consistently with the will of the people and in accordance with our professed desire for the world to be safe and free from tyranny.
But, the recent decisions to rain bombs on the people of Iraq violate every sensibility toward civil and moral expectations.
Therefore, we, as followers of Jesus Christ, should call upon President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and members of Congress to end this aggression.
Further, we should urge the faithful followers of Jesus, Moses, Buddha, Muhammad, and other great prophets and teachers to join us in seeking an end to the terrorism and violence against the people of Iraq.
We also should urge the United Nations Security Council to abolish sanctions against the people of Iraq.
Those sanctions continue to punish and put at risk the most vulnerable and weakest members of Iraq, including the children and infirmed.
In the name of God, let us make this urgent appeal—as individuals and as churches of the United Church of Christ.
Carmen Samuels, R.N., is a member of Christian Fellowship Community Congregational UCC in San Diego. We welcome contributions from various Christian perspectives on contemporary issues.