Note: In April, 2006, the Board of Directors for Justice and Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ endorsed support for the Declaration of Peace.
From August 4 through Labor Day, supporters of the Declaration of Peace, a campaign to bring a rapid end to the US war and occupation in Iraq through nonviolent action, are encouraged to make visits to the district offices of the Senators and Representatives. These visits will bring attention to the growing number of US citizens who support efforts to establish a timeline for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and the development of a process to secure a lasting peace.
These Congressional visits in districts will strengthen local activities being planned in communities all around the country in support of the Declaration of Peace. The week of September 21-28 will include actions across the country and in Washington, DC. See the timeline for activities and what is being planned in your area at the Declaration of Peace Website.
In recent weeks, the coalition of faith based and community based national and local organizations who endorse the Declaration of Peace have developed specific plans for the DoP activities, have begun to identify local organizers, have established guidelines for nonviolent action and dates for nonviolent training, and clarified the goals of the Declaration.
The Declaration of Peace has 8 goals for a comprehensive, concrete and rapid plan to end the war:
- Withdrawal of US troops and all coalition forces
- Closure of US military bases
- Support for an Iraqi-led peace process, including a peace conference to shape a post-occupation transition and an international peacekeeping presence if mandated by this peace process
- Return of Iraqi control over its oil resources and the political and economic life of the nation
- Reparations and reconstruction to address the destruction caused by the US war and 13 years of sanctions
- Establish a "peace dividend" for job creation, health care, education, housing, and other vital social needs
- Increased support for US veterans of the Iraq war, and
- No so-called "preventive" war against Iran or any other nation
This comprehensive and concrete plan must be established and activated no later than September 21, 2006, and completed no later than March 19, 2007, ending four years of war and occupation in Iraq.
Individuals can sign the Pledge, committing themselves to taking nonviolent action towards these goals. Nonviolent action includes visits to Congressional offices, phone calls, letter and email writing, candlelight vigils and prayer services, nonviolent demonstrations, and civil disobedience. Individuals can make decisions about their level of involvement in nonviolent action.
United Church of Christ members are getting involved in many parts of the country, from New Hampshire to California. They are signing the Pledge and joining in organizing activities with other groups endorsing the Declaration. They are voicing their opposition to this ongoing war and occupation, joining the growing majority of US citizens who now oppose this war.
The Rev. Gordon Crouch writes:
"I'm involved in rallying New Hampshire UCC churches to sign on to the Declaration Of Peace because I believe the churches can play a key role in practicing active nonviolent resistance to war. Martin Luther King, Jr. showed us this. He showed us that we can make a difference when we step up to Christ's calling and become prophetic communities that denounce war, and announce the vision of a more just, peaceful society."
The JWM office in DC will assist in coordinating UCC member visits to Capitol Hill in September. For more information, and to let us know of your involvement, contact Loey Powell at email@example.com.
Also, a new film from Focus Features called "The Ground Truth," directed by Patricia Foulkard, will be shown in selected cities on September 15, 2006. This powerful film interviews US veterans of the Iraq war who talk about their experiences being recruited, trained, and deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan. A discussion guide is being developed for use in our churches.
For more information on the film, The Ground Truth