Magazine article The Christian Century

Clergy and Others Visit Iraq in Waves. (News)

Magazine article The Christian Century

Clergy and Others Visit Iraq in Waves. (News)

Article excerpt

Actor Scan Penn went to Baghdad late last year. So did a Catholic group with Pax Christi members. And a 13-member religious group led by National Council of Churches General Secretary Bob Edgar spent the New Year's weekend there, emphasizing concern for the .fate of ordinary Iraqis if U.S. military forces strike.

Echoing a line from the delegation's concluding statement, Edgar told a news conference January 3 in the Iraqi capital, "We came as humanitarian inspectors, not weapons inspectors." The delegation also included lay leaders and Methodist, Presbyterian, Unitarian and United Church of Christ clergy. They visited schools, hospitals, churches and relief agencies.

Repeating their contention that preemptive war is immoral, illegal and theologically illegitimate, the group members predicted that a war against Iraq would bring about widespread suffering and death for innocent civilians.

"At some point, you have to question how much punishment the ordinary people of Iraq deserve," commented James Winkler, chief executive of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. …

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