President Obama says the U.S. “will do everything we can” to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons, and consequently would not rule out military action. However he said “[o]ur goal is to resolve this issue diplomatically, that would be preferable.” The President is right to favor the plowshare over the sword, but should be wary of sparks that could lead to the next conflagration in the Middle East.
The U.S. cannot afford another war. The American public is just coming to terms with the devastating cost, in lives and dollars, of two ill-considered wars. We will not casually accept another. There is little international support for a war. Europe is preoccupied with economic crisis, and global heavyweights Russia and China, who so far have agreed to economic sanctions against Iran, just vetoed UN actions against Syria to prevent military intervention there. While Arab states also want to keep Iran from getting the bomb, hearts and minds in the Middle East would not favor another U.S. war in the region, especially with the “Arab Spring” showing that democratic reforms are possible from within.
But even if diplomatic pressure grows, and Iran can “feel the pinch” of economic sanctions, there’s a risk a spark could ignite a war despite Washington’s preference for diplomacy. One spark might be Israel. Israel might act more precipitously than the U.S. to keep Tehran from developing nuclear weapons. Israel took unilateral strikes against Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007 to knock out their nuclear facilities. Israel may not wait for United Nations’ nuclear inspectors currently on the ground before deciding to handle the matter itself.
But even a limited Israeli airstrike risks enflaming the region. Not only would Iran retaliate, but its ally Hezb’allah could launch an attack from Lebanon. Syria’s regime, currently divided against its people, may regain support if it joins the fight. The U.S. would not stand by if Israel is attacked. Consequently, to avoid being drawn into a much wider conflict, the U.S. should do everything possible to restrain Israel from attacking.
A careless move by Iran could also ignite the region. Though not committed to confrontation itself, Iran has threatened actions that might provoke an armed response. Iran has boasted it might disrupt the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz. This waterway facilitates up to a quarter of the world’s oil, and a blockade would have a severe global impact. The U.S. and its allies would promptly force open the Strait, but the price of oil could double. A spike in fuel prices would be politically costly in this election year and a big hit on businesses in this fragile economy.
However much Obama wants to avoid war, the situation is highly volatile. Any spark could inadvertently enflame the region and entangle the U.S. in another war that would cost lives, dollars desperately needed at home, and America’s political capital around the world. However, if the U.S. is committed to vigorous and creative diplomacy with Iran, and successfully constrains Tehran’s nuclear ambitions through negotiation, then Washington will gain much-needed support for addressing more urgent situations in the region and around the world. Most importantly, though, President Obama will have avoided the “next” war in the Middle East just as the previous ones draw to an end.
The United Church of Christ has more than 5,277 churches throughout the United States. Rooted in the Christian traditions of congregational governance and covenantal relationships, each UCC setting speaks only for itself and not on behalf of every UCC congregation. UCC members and churches are free to differ on important social issues, even as the UCC remains principally committed to unity in the midst of our diversity.
Who are UCC young adults?
In the UCC, young adults are considered those between the ages of 18 and 30. The reality is that a young adult could be female, male, a student, a professional, single, married, a parent, still living with a parent, Generation X or a Millennial, a seminarian, an ordained minister, someone who hasn't set foot in a church since high school and anything in between. "Young Adult" is a distinction of age that encompasses a group as diverse and dynamic as any in the UCC.
How can young adults get involved?
Young Adult Service Communities are unique opportunities for you to live in intentional community with others who share your commitment to service and social justice. Together, you will find the space to reflect on questions of meaning and to network for change.
Service and Justice Internships
The YASC network gives you the opportunity to grow professionally and change the world through intern placements with local nonprofit agencies, which are dedicated to justice advocacy and collaborative action.
Your placement will also allow you the opportunity to grow spiritually as you serve in a leadership position at a United Church of Christ congregation. Through this work you can see the convergence of church and world.
Finally, YASC provides you a space to grow personally by living in community with other young leaders, exploring together your direction, calling and future action in the world.
The Summer Communities of Service program is an ecumenical collaboration between the UCC Volunteer Ministries and Alliance of Baptists. Particpants live and serve from June to mid-August in host congregations from around the United States. There a four fundamental facets, which together form the foundation of the SCOS program:
The "intentional Christian community element" makes this program distinct and effective. Interns share a common food allowance, transportation funds and spiritual growth insights. Participants live in community with each other and with their hosts in their temporary city.
In the UCC and Alliance of Baptists diversity is a big piece of our identity. Both churches uphold socially progressive statements and advocate politically from a faith perspective. Diverse, community-service-integrated ministries show interns, congregations, the wider church and world where this faith-inspired work is happening in our midst. The SCOS projects help interns develop long-term commitment to engage in this kind of ministry.
Hands-On Justice Advocacy/Service Opportunities
Grow professionally. Change the World.
Grow Personally. Grow Spiritually.
The Global Mission Intern program invites you to challenge yourself in a one to three year international mission service opportunity. As you offer yourself in service, you will also learn more about yourself, your relationship with God, and your place in God’s world. You will build relationships that will change the way you look at the world. You will be a part of a growing group of young adults who have been transformed by these experiences and will provide you a new community on return. You will come back from your year in mission equipped to provide a global perspective on issues facing the church in our hurting world today.
The UCC national setting recommends sites within the United States that host mission opportunities for groups. These host sites are rooted in local communities and utilize volunteer groups in their on-going service within those places. Volunteers experience God’s presence among new people and in new places through these experiences. UCC Mission Trip Opportunities are short-term, lasting up to a week.
Working together as a significant partner in the ministry and future of the church, OMA seeks to advise, connect and advocate on behalf of the network of persons responsible for Outdoor Ministries in the United Church of Christ. The Outdoor Ministry Association works to support and encourage the staff, volunteers, board members and conferences at these special places; to promote outdoor ministries in all areas of the church; and to celebrate the many wonders of God's nature!
The Council for Youth and Young Adult Ministries (CYYAM) advocates, communicates, coordinates, and networks on behalf of youth and young adults of the UCC. CYYAM members work together and with other church leaders to establish strong youth and young adult ministries throughout the UCC by advocating to church leaders, helping make youth and young adult voices heard at General Synod, seeking to address issues of social justice and peace, and serving as a voice for UCC youth and young adults.
The vision of Justice & Witness Ministries is of a more just, peaceful and compassionate world that honors all of God’s creation. Leaders are needed throughout our churches and communities to help share, pursue and achieve this vision. Justice Leaders Engaging and Developing (Justice LED) is a program that offers training, leadership skills and support to local churches and UCC members who seek tangible ways to move our world towards this vision.
Together with Sexuality and Our Faith, Our Whole Lives helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their relationships, health and behavior in the context of their faith. It equips participants with accurate, age-appropriate information in six subject areas: human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health, and society and culture. It provides not only facts about anatomy and human development, but helps participants to clarify their values, build interpersonal skills and understand the social, emotional and spiritual aspects of sexuality.
Witness for Justice (WFJ) is a weekly editorial opinion column for public distribution which identifies timely or urgent justice issues. WFJ is a theologically based perspective founded on historic commitment to justice and peace of the United Church of Christ.