Beyond 11 September:
Implications for US Churches and the World

5 - 6 August 2002
Washington DC

The meeting The changes in the United States and in the world since 11 September have been far-reaching. People and governments in every region of the world have had to react not just to the violent attacks on Washington and New York, but also to the consequences of the US "war on terrorism."

In late November 2001, the World Council of Churches convened a meeting to discuss some of the possible implications of these events in the specific areas of global governance and disarmament, the economy, inter-faith relations and human rights, and humanitarian issues. That meeting produced lively discussion and a deepened understanding of the unfolding consequences of 11 September and the US military response to terrorism. Participants called for the convening of similar meetings in other regions, particularly in the United States. At its meeting in February 2002, the WCC Executive committee asked that a meeting be organized with US churches and international participants to discern together the consequences of the post-11 September events, and that a report of this meeting be shared with the WCC Central Committee meeting in August 2002.

Thus, the World Council of Churches, in consultation with the National Council of Churches of Christ of the USA and Church World Service, convened a second meeting in Washington to bring together representatives of US churches and churches from other regions to discern together the implications of the events of 11 September and their aftermath. The letter of invitation to the consultation noted that there seemed to be a wide gap between mainstream public opinion in the US and the rest of the world about the US "war on terrorism" and that many in the world have the impression of a certain "quietism" among the US churches when it comes to expressing their views of the policies and actions of their own government.
The purpose of the meeting was not in the first instance to come up with concrete recommendations for action, but rather to deepen the analysis of what these events mean for the United States and for the world. In the course of the discussion, participants indicated that their priority must be to engage their congregations to discuss these issues in a different way and they agreed on the outlines of a "guide for reflection" guide to be adapted and used by denominations in the congregations. This guide (attached) poses questions to encourage congregations to think beyond the "common wisdom" that presently characterizes much of the public discourse on these issues in the United States. The meeting also adopted a short message to the WCC Central Committee in hope that it would feed into deliberations by that body on public issues.

This was a rich and dynamic meeting. The introductory presentations were substantive and thought-provoking. The international participants brought questions and challenges to their US counterparts, but they also came to listen and understand. Although it was painful to consider the consequences of US policies, the tone of the meeting was not one of "we versus they" but rather of a common seeking for truth and understanding. For two days, participants struggled with questions of power, ethics, security and fear. Given the complex reality in which we are now living, they found no easy answers, but the process of open discussion and dialogue stimulated analysis and a commitment to do more to encourage similar discussions at the congregational level.

This report includes summaries of the main presentations and a brief description of the discussions that took place. Quotations from participants are included throughout the report to give a sense of the flavor of the discussion.

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  • The meeting

  • Overview Statement: Elizabeth Ferris
  • Message to the WCC Central Committee, August 2002
  • List of Participants
  • Thanks to Jan Love and Lois Dauway for moderating the meeting, to Bishop Steven Bouman and Rev. Renta Nishihara for leading us in worship, to Elizabeth Ferris for providing organizational leadership and for writing this report and to Fei Chin, a CWS intern for helping with the many organizational details. Thanks, most of all, to the participants for their willingness to engage in frank and sometimes painful discussions about these burning issues.

    WCC consultation: "Beyond 11 September: Assessing Global Implications"
    Geneva, 29 November - 2 December 2001

    Setting out the issues

    Following opening worship and introductions, Elizabeth Ferris explained that this meeting had been called to offer an opportunity for US churches to meet with international church representatives to analyze together some of the implications of the tragic events of 11 September and the US reactions to those events. While there is no shortage of analyses or media coverage of these issues, there is a need for alternative interpretations and especially for ethical and theological perspectives. She briefly reviewed the response of the World Council of Churches to these horrific events, including statements and letters, a "Living Letters" delegation to the United States in November, the organization of inter-faith encounters, the development of an alternative news service to lift up voices which are not generally heard, and the November 2001 meeting which began to analyze some of the implications of these developments. Decisions taken in the United States have repercussions throughout the world, and churches in other parts of the world are yearning to hear from and to engage with their US counterparts. After reviewing the agenda, she suggested three themes that run throughout all of the specific issues to be discussed: US power in the world today, US unilateralism, and US intentions, particularly now with respect to Iraq. The United States is by far the most powerful nation in the world today. Increasing expressions of US unilateralism and US threats against other countries are challenging the very basis of international law and distorting global governance. (See attached overview.)

    In terms of process, she indicated that in organizing this meeting, the possibility of a collective statement or message from the group had been left open but that WCC had not come with the draft text for such a statement. In the course of the discussions, US participants indicated that they did want to send some kind of a message, but that it should be directed towards their congregations. While church leaders are aware of many of the consequences of US actions, many in the parishes and congregations around the country just don't know what's going on. They need to be challenged, but they also need to be heard. A small drafting group was set up to work on the outlines of a study guide for congregational use. When the draft document came back to the final plenary, participants affirmed its importance (and made numerous suggestions for strengthening the document) but they also indicated their desire for a message to the WCC Central Committee to be used by that body in its deliberations on public issues.

    Ethical and theological Perspectives

    Dr. Walter Altmann (Lutheran, Brazil) began by expressing the wave of solidarity which Latin American people felt with the people of the United States on 11 September. Even while that solidarity was being expressed, they knew that the US would likely respond with military action. Latin Americans hoped that if such a response were to come it should be a multilateral and not a unilateral one. In the initial aftermath of the attacks, there was a hope that these universal feelings of solidarity would lead to renewed efforts to create a more just world - but these hopes have now largely vanished.

    Ethical assessments about the use of power and the use of military force must be applied to all phases of the process – not just from the "starting point" of 11 September. We must reject the idea that because 11 September was evil, the US response to that expression of evil is therefore good. Furthermore, we must consider whether there was a "necessity of war" in responding to the 11 September attacks. How did we move from viewing the appropriate response as an issue of police enforcement to an issue of war? War is not an effective answer to ending terrorism, but rather will entrap us in a spiral of violence. War will never change people's hearts. The use of violence in responding to terrorism would give rise to the permanent use of violence.

    We must recall the fundamental dignity of human life. All human beings are made in the image of God, thus solidarity must be universal and expressed towards all those who suffer disease, poverty, hunger, war and despair. Recognizing the universal dignity of every human being does not exclude a preferential option for the poor. How can one justify the result that more and more resources are being made available for war while assistance to those suffering from HIV/AIDS or hunger is diminishing? The Biblical understanding of shalom goes beyond military security. It has to do with fundamental well-being for all that is the only basis for true human security.

    We need to reflect on God's will and vulnerability. It is God's will to rescue every human being from bondage and that we recognize the precariousness of our own existence. Vulnerability is intrinsic to the human condition. In spite of the pain, the experience which American people have of their own vulnerability should be seen as a positive development. Efforts to create an international order which seeks absolute protection runs counter to human life. People need a consciousness of shared vulnerability and must always be open to criticism of how they respond to their own sense of insecurity.

    Already in 1997 CLAI (the Latin American Council of Churches) selected "free to build up peace" as the theme for its 2001 assembly held in Barranquilla, Colombia. This theme was rooted in the deep desire of the Colombian people to have peace, but in recognition of the fact that peace needs to be built. In the Assembly's deliberations on the theme, it recognized that in order to build peace people need to be free. Given the prevailing culture of violence, such freedom does not come readily. By the time the Assembly was held in 2001 this theme had a new resonance and meaning.

    Mary Lord (Quaker, USA) began her remarks by noting that on 11 September she faced a dilemma of how to carry on with a planned peace network meeting scheduled for the days immediately after the attacks. Earlier the network had decided to meet in New York and to focus on Africa. In the immediate aftermath of the 11 September attacks, there was some question about whether the agenda and focus of the meeting should be changed in light of the attacks in New York. The network decided to go ahead with their planned agenda. One million people have died in Congo, ten percent of the Quaker population in Burundi has been killed. The discussion of 'what does it mean to forgive and work for peace in the midst of war?' in the African context offered insights which could be helpful to Americans struggling with similar questions in their context.

    God is present in all places and in all people. We must remind ourselves, for example, of God's love for soldiers who are doing what they think communities want them to do. Work for peace must never demonize persons; we are all children of God.

    As a country we seem to be moving towards becoming a "new Rome" and we should seek repentance. We are crossing a threshold when we talk of nuclear weapons not only in terms of their use as a deterrent but for use in pre-emptive strikes. It is dangerous even to contemplate the use of nuclear weapons. It is unbelievably arrogant to assert that any human being could be trusted with decisions to use nuclear weapons. Our government is now pursuing a military policy of "full spectrum dominance" - a belief in the need for US dominance in all aspects of military force - rather than a commitment to pursuit of objectives through multilateral means. This is the policy our leadership has chosen and thus far as a people we have been silent in challenging it.

    Pacifists are often depicted as naïve, but we need to argue that war, not peacemaking, is naïve. It is naïve to believe that war works and that spending $400 billion on weapons makes us safe. Militarism is the expression of blind faith in and practice idolatry of weapons. History shows that peacemaking works. We need to tell the stories of successful conflict prevention, redemption and reconciliation. People do not know that peacemaking is effective and practical – that there are alternatives to violence. Yet this information is available and one is prompted to ask, to what extent is the US population willfully ignorant?

    The prophet Ezekiel was told by God to deliver a message to the people which he did not want to give. God tells him that if he speaks and the people listen, they will be saved. If he speaks and they do not listen, the fault is with the people. If the prophet knows the message, but does not deliver it, both the people and the prophet are lost. Today in the United States our people are afraid and lost, and yet Christians do have an answer – the Gospel of Peace.

    In the discussion, participants asked about the role of religion in conflicts, noting that in some university settings, people are trying to push religion to the side in the debate. Another participant remarked that in comparison with other Western countries, Americans are a deeply religious people. Can we take the best learnings from Christianity and from the other world's religions to give us examples of best practices to live together? At the same time, another participant remarked we are living in a time of civil religion. Americans live with compartmentalization, putting their religion into little boxes. There is a tension between living out civil religion and living out our faith. Another participant raised the question of what is our critique of just war? How glibly we have supported US "holy war" through military intervention, another participant commented, even as we have criticized jihad.

    Walter Altmann responded that while it has not been given to him to be a pacifist, he would like to see non-pacifist churches take the just war theory seriously. The concept of just war was intended to limit the use of force by setting out criteria and conditions. If the criteria were truly applied, there would be almost no cases where war was legitimately used. In today's context of high technology weaponry, we should be raising questions about whether any war can any longer be regarded as just.

    Participants emphasized that in order to reach the people in the pews, we need to begin by listening to people's fears and helping congregations to hear what people in other parts of the world are feeling and saying. We must learn to listen. Another participant commented that churches outside the United States have been very critical of US policies and of US churches for not speaking up more. But we here who can hear this criticism must not be arrogant for we do not represent the majority opinion in the United States. How can we help change the mood and the mindset? Mary Lord commented that there is a fundamental difference between war-making and peace-making. When you are going to make war, you cannot listen to what the "enemy" says. When you are making peace, you have to listen and to see the humanness of the other. Today it is perceived as unpatriotic to try to understand the other side's viewpoint. To hear the other voice is to weaken the resolve for war. Perhaps this is the reason that pacifists were ridiculed after 11 September.

    The pressures for militarization in US society are growing. Participants affirmed the need to look at the economics of war and the role of the profit motive in driving the war machine. One participant asked: did a desire for profit play a role in determining the nature of the US military response?

    Many participants raised questions about what the church is saying in the midst of these pressures towards war. US churches were prophetic in the months leading up to the 1991 Gulf war. They took the risk of speaking out on unpopular issues, but why are they silent today?

    A New Yorker spoke of the immediate aftermath of the attacks where the graffiti was raw – racist, violent. But the families and friends of the immediate victims were not calling for revenge. In fact, the immediate impulse of many Americans was to protect the stranger.
    We need to trust people's better instincts and recognize that these got hijacked by the drive to vengeance.

    Participants grappled with the issue of how we relate to the 'other.' How ready are we, one asked, to allow the 'others' to interpret themselves? Don't we interpret jihad, for example, in the way it suits us? How can we use concepts of restorative justice in the aftermath of the attacks of 11 September?

    As the scope and depth of the problems emerged, some participants struggled to find hope for the journey. As one participant said: "Sometimes I feel like I just can't go on. There is so much despair. We need hope." Some participants lifted up examples of just peacemaking as signs of hope and stressed the need to make these actions toward peace as practical and as concrete as our present understandings of military action.

    International perspectives

    Ernie Regehr (Mennonite, Canada) explained that the current security debate in Canada is often depicted as between multilateralism and continentalism. Is Canadian security better furthered through alliance with the United States or through multilateral bodies? While it is sometimes useful for Canadian leadership to criticize US policies, there is also a sense that Canadian interests are inextricably linked with those of its southern neighbor. Since territorial defense is not a major issue for Canadian security, the question is whether Canada should shape its armed forces primarily for participation in UN peacekeeping operations or for participation in "coalitions of the willing" - which in practice means allying with the United States. There is a perception in the United States that its border with Canada is porous and insecure, although none of those implicated in the 11 September attacks were found to have crossed the US-Canadian border. Presently Canada is spending $7 billion on issues of homeland security in response to US security concerns rather than Canadian interests. Much of Canada's defense policy is undertaken to reassure its southern neighbor that US assistance with security issues is not necessary.

    Dora Arce (Presbyterian, Cuba) remarked that even in that small, isolated country that has suffered greatly from US intervention, there was a popular outpouring of grief and mourning with the victims of the 11 September attacks. But the attacks also provoked fear and uncertainty about the nature of the US military response. If there is any question about the effectiveness of hostile military actions, one only has to look at Cuba. Forty years of a blockade against Cuba has not brought about meaningful change or increased US security. In fact, US policies toward Cuba seem to be driven by internal US political interests, particularly the impact of right-wing Cuban emigrés in Florida. Violence by the powerful leads to further violence against those who are weaker. Or as one writer explains: "just as the husband beats the wife who beats the child who beats the younger child who kicks the dog who chases the cat who eats the rat." When we talk of power, we also have to talk of responsibilities.

    Paul Renshaw (CTBI, UK) said that in Britain, the 9/11 experience was, of course, shocking in many deep ways and all-absorbing in its dramatic, media-facilitated immediacy. But it was not apocalyptic in the same way as some have felt it in the USA. In Britain, there are a number of human rights concerns, including the radically strengthened European anti-terrorism legislation and early in 2002, the violation of the rights of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. The UK's political stand in support of the USA has been strongly articulated by Prime Minister Tony Blair. However, as the apparent clarity of objectives of the original "international coalition" has faded, so has the political space that would allow Tony Blair to remain unequivocally "shoulder-to-shoulder" with George Bush. Churches' responses to 9/11 (available at focused on a number of concerns including: talk at the earliest stage about "waging war" as opposed to "counter-terrorism;' the "proportionality" and justice" of the coalition's war aims; the lack of transparency that prevents the Government's own choice of "just war" language from being evaluated; the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan; civilian casualties in general and the vulnerability of civilians to cluster bombs in particular; and the (ab)use of the UN at different times, a concern surfacing again over Iraq and US (and, perhaps, British) intentions. At the bottom of all of this is the dilemma of how to find a language with which to engage politicians who see their role in managerial, problem-solving terms with more than one eye on short-term electoral considerations.
    John Langmore (Anglican, Australia, UN) shared some insights from his experiences at the United Nations, noting that relations with the United States are at the center of foreign policy concerns for most countries of the world. While US unilateralism has been most vividly illustrated in discussions around the International Criminal Court, it was also in evidence in the UN Conference on Finance for Development held in Monterrey, Mexico. This well-prepared meeting had elicited good cooperation within the international financial institutions and major preparatory meetings. But US actions weakened the Conference's final outcome. At the meeting itself the European Union announced a $7 billion increase in foreign aid which was followed by President Bush's announcement of an increase in its foreign aid of $5 billion over the next five years. However, even with this increase, the US still ranks in last place among Northern governments in terms of foreign aid as a percentage of GNP. The continuing US failure to pay its full UN dues undermines the UN's ability to act. There is great fear that the UN will be further weakened if the US decides to engage in military action against Iraq without formal consultation with the UN Security Council.

    Eunice Santana (UCC, Puerto Rico) reported that surveillance is coming back in cruder forms. Airports are now under federal control, there is new talk of the police coming under military control, treatment of political prisoners has become harsher since 11 September, and non-violent protests at Vieques have become more difficult. The behavior of military personnel has become more aggressive and the US federal courts are imposing longer sentences, encarcerating protesters for as long as six months. Puerto Ricans have long been divided on the question of Puerto Rico's status vis-à- vis the United States but united over US military occupation of island of Vieques, there are now new divisions over Vieques where protest is seen by some as unpatriotic or unsympathetic. At the governmental level, there is a general sentiment that 'we do not want to upset the USA.' On an unofficial level there is religious intolerance, with people being ridiculed for their religious beliefs. There is also a perception that the role of Christians is to help Israel. The case of Jose Padilla, a Puerto Rican detained by US authorities for alleged cooperation on terrorism, is a particular concern.

    Renta Nishahara (Anglican, Japan) reported that since 11 September and the US military response to terrorism, the Japanese government has also steadily progressed towards readiness for war under the new guidelines for Japan-US Defense cooperation. This emergency legislation, submitted to the Japanese Diet in May, requires ordinary citizens to cooperate in their workplaces and local areas to support US military actions for the war on terrorism and Self-Defense Force operations. It violates the war-renouncing article of our Peace Constitution. Japanese churches feel that the legislation is excessive and dangerous and are continuing to work for its rejection. The churches are also concerned about the US inclusion of North Korea in the 'axis of evil' and about Japanese cooperation in this endeavor. Japan, which is partly responsible for the division of the Korean Peninsula, is preventing the peaceful unification of North Korea and South Korea.

    Archbishop Nicolae (Orthodox, Romania) reported that Romanians too experienced a deep wave of compassion for the victims of the 11 September attacks but that there were differences of opinion about the US military response. The majority of the population initially opposed a military response to Afghanistan, but after a few months the worsening economic situation dominated public opinion. The question of Romanian integration into NATO has thus been the focus of much of the debate. The Romanian government has a clear interest in working towards NATO membership and supports US policies.

    Abla Nasir (Orthodox, Palestine) began by noting that security was weakened throughout the world as a result of the attacks of 11 September.

    The Israeli government took this opportunity to launch the fiercest war ever against the Palestinians. Now all of the Palestinian territories (except for Jericho, which is a closed area) are under occupation. While Palestinians are seen as terrorists, Israel got a green light to go ahead with its policies; the leader of the Palestinian people is not trusted by the US, but Sharon is depicted as a man of peace. Israeli officials have emphasized the similarities between 11 September and the suicide bombings. Suddenly, the legitimate right to resist occupation is called terrorism. The Palestinians are being blamed for everything – even for Israel's aggression against us when in fact it is Sharon's policies which are responsible for the increase in the number of suicide bombers.

    Today 700,000 people live under curfew and limitations of movement. Travel from Ramallah to Jerusalem, for example, involves passing through a series of humiliating checkpoints. The war on terrorism has a high human cost. Recent surveys show that 30 percent of Palestinian children screened suffered from chronic malnutrition and 21 percent from acute malnutrition, while in 2000, only 7.5 percent and 2.5 percent of children suffered from chronic and acute malnutrition respectively. More than 30 percent of the 3.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are dependent upon food handouts from NGOs and international institutions. Surveys show that 50 percent of people need to borrow money to purchase basic foodstuffs while 16 percent are selling assets for the same purpose. Interruptions in electricity supplies cause vaccines to spoil and the child immunization programme is breaking down. 70 percent of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza live below the poverty line of less than $2 per day. These things are being allowed in the name of the war against terror.

    Carmencita Karagdag (Philippines Independent Church, Philippines). People's power catapulted Gloria Arroyo into the presidency, raising high expectations for positive political and economic changes in the country. But her brazen support for the US war on terrorism has widened the gulf between Arroyo and those who originally supported her. She opened Filipino territory to US troops and totally reversed the gains of the nationalist movement. Those opposing her policies are seen as disloyal. With the impending signing of the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement, the Bush administration managed to circumvent the Philippine constitution that bans US troops and bases. What was not possible before has now become possible. Over 3,000 US troops participated in recent military exercises and there is fear that the Philippines will be used as a springboard to other countries in the region where the US has vast economic interests. Some 8,000 US troops are expected to arrive in the Philippines for nine months of 'military exercises' this fall. Christian-Muslim relations have been affected and human rights abuses are increasing. These are all very important issues for the churches. While the Catholic Church openly welcomed foreign troops, the National Council of Churches of the Philippines (NCCP) is trying to educate people about the realities of the situation. NCCP is convening a meeting, together with WCC and the Christian Conference of Asia, on "Terrorism in a Globalized World" in September 2002.

    Bishop Mano Rumalshah (Church of Pakistan, Pakistan). With the US military action against Afghanistan, Islamic militants have changed tactics; they have gone underground and diverted activities into other areas, as evidenced by the increasingly aggressive militant activity in Kashmir. In Pakistan, President Musharref is living on borrowed time. He came out in support of US policy because a gun was held to his head. While he is trying to seek acceptance in the Western world, the price at home is very high. There are fears that he will not be toppled politically, but rather that he will be ousted through an act of violence. Relations between Christians and Muslims have deteriorated. Just yesterday the government announced a change in the "minority seats" policy which has long been sought by Christians. The very next day a Christian school was attacked. Within the broader region of South Asia (a region of 1.5 billion people), there have been other consequences. Religious militancy in India has been validated and made acceptable. In Sri Lanka there is a ray of hope and a conscious movement toward peace, but it is still very fragile.

    Walter Altmann reported that there has been an increased interest in religions in Brazil, especially Islam, and in looking at the relationship between religions and peace. There is a great deal of concern about US double standards. For example, while the US talks about free trade and about working together against terrorism, tariffs are raised on Brazilian exports to the US. The landmines treaty is another example. Brazil has been a big exporter of landmines to Africa. But in spite of its significant economic interests, Brazil signed the treaty and is helping with de-mining in countries such as Angola. At the same time, the US government says that it cannot afford to sign the treaty. On the economic front, US Treasury Secretary O'Neill said no new loans would be extended to Brazil and Argentina, causing our currency to be devalued by 20% in a single day. The Brazilian public avidly follows the daily risk indicators for loans to Brazil; presently we are paying around 25.5% interest rates for loans.

    Global Security/National Security

    Ernie Regehr structured his remarks around five points:

    1. Unilateralism. Central to US unilateralism is the fact that the US equates its own self-interest with the general public good. This "unilateral perception of the public good" leads the US government to cast its own strategic interests in universal terms. US relations with the rest of the world are defined in terms of its own strategic interests rather than based on multilaterally-defined international law or international standards of human rights. Thus US interests in bringing about a peace agreement in Sudan were driven almost entirely by its own perception of US strategic advantage rather than by a concern with the victims of the conflict. We need to press for a multilateral definition of the public good. The public good can only be legitimately defined through multilateral means.

    2. Interdependence and vulnerability. Rather than inter-dependence experienced as vulnerability or mutuality of interests, the US perceives that stability depends on its ability to override the international order. This gives rise to the military policy of "full spectrum dominance" ideology that Mary Lord has discussed. This policy will continue until the US sees interdependence as a source of strength rather than weakness.

    3. Extraordinary times. It has become commonplace to assert that "everything changed on September 11th," but the subtext to that is that the old rules are no longer applicable. There is a sense that this extraordinary crisis requires extraordinary measures. This claim implies that the US cannot be constrained by the ordinary rules of the game. This approach is in sharp contradiction to understandings of common security or mutual security in which one's own security is enhanced when the security of others is increased. An approach based on human security argues that the well-being of people is a measure of true state security. Implicit in discussions of human security is the international community's obligation to the poorest and most vulnerable members of society. We should recognize that this is inherently an interventionist philosophy – that we have a common obligation to those who are vulnerable and threatened even if that goes against the interests of their government.

    4. A lesson for peacebuilding. Peace is built – not defended. We have to recognize that terrorism has a history and a past. Seeking to understand the causes of terrorism does not justify its use. We know that taking military action against the perpetrators of the attacks is not effective. While we argue that the perpetrators of the crime need to be brought to justice, we are a bit uncertain in proposing ways in which this could be done. It is ironic that the US undermining of the International Criminal Court and the arbitrariness by which perpetrators are pursued is radically undercutting current efforts to challenge impunity.

    5. Arms control and disarmament. There is a long list of international arms control agreements that the US is weakening. At the nuclear level, the US nuclear posture review shows a recommitment to nuclear unilateralism which will add unbearably to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. If NATO (which includes Canada) can assert that nuclear doctrine is essential to its security, India and Pakistan can make a similarly credible claim. On the other end of the arms spectrum, the refusal of the US government to agree to the establishment of global norms on small arms is deeply troubling.

    There is a profound ambivalence about US policies with envy and admiration of the United States mixed with a profound distrust of US motives. The fact is that the world desperately needs the United States. At a time when the Nonproliferation Treaty was being devastated by US action, criticism was muted precisely because US Secretary of State Colin Powell was in the Middle East. We need the US to play a role in bringing about a peace agreement in the Middle East.

    In the discussion, participants noted the domestic and international impact of major increases in US military spending, the pushback on human rights, the resumption of arms sales to countries that violate human rights, and the ideological shift from seeing the situation in Colombia as a 'war on drugs' to a 'war against terrorism.' If nuclear arms are good for the United States, why not for other countries?

    Particular concern was expressed at the slow pace of refugee resettlement as a result of heightened security concerns – even though resettled refugees are the most vetted groups of immigrants entering the USA. The detention of asylum-seekers, including detention of children, is continuing both in the United States and in many other countries.

    The people designing US foreign policy seem to have a view that military force is the only way to protect the world and multilateral approaches are not to be trusted. One participant remarked that the US relies on military force in order to protect its wealth. Some commented that Third World people in the United States have long lived with the experience of terrorism and harassment. We also need to recognize that the world is in the United States. In many ways, New York is a microcosm of the world.

    One participant asserted that we need to unpack the word "terrorism." Others spoke of their communities – of new interfaith peace and justice networks emerging in one while in another, a White Pride Fest was organized.

    Several participants decried the emphasis on patriotism and efforts to push patriotism on young people, including in the schools. We need a strong message from the churches against the peddling of fear, one participant said. This fear reinforces the insistence on strengthening national security and militarization.

    We need to face the tough questions, several participants remarked. In the immediate aftermath of 11 September we asked: 'Why does the world hate us so much?' We still need to face those questions - but that kind of soul-searching is seen as unpatriotic. One participant asked: how did our leaders – our political leaders, our church leaders – allow the dialogue to be stopped? It will take a lot of courage to open the debate again.

    Human rights

    Wendy Patten (Human Rights Watch, USA) began by detailing the situation of detainees in the US in the aftermath of 11 September, with emphasis on three groups of people: those detained on Guantanamo Naval Base, those detained inside the US on immigration charges and as material witnesses, and those detained in the US as enemy combatants, e.g. Jose Padilla.

    Those being held on Guantanamo were apprehended on the battlefield in, or around Afghanistan. While the military has the authority to detain people, they are obliged to follow the humanitarian standards set out in the Geneva Conventions. There are two primary concerns about this group. While most international lawyers agree that those fighting with the Taliban should be considered as prisoners of war, the Bush administration sees them as unprivileged combatants. Under the Geneva Conventions, in cases where there is doubt about the status of those apprehended, a special tribunal should be set up to judge the merits of the case. This has not happened. Secondly, there is concern about the length of detention. Under international law, they can be held until the cessation of active hostilities, but what does that mean if the relevant war is a rhetorical "war on terrorism?" There is fear that the length of detention will be far higher than it should be.

    The second group of people, known as INS detainees, are being held on immigration charges. Although the exact number of these detainees is unknown, they are estimated to be about 1200 and have been designated as special interest cases by the Justice Department. The detainees are being held not on probable cause, but on immigration charges though they are being questioned about possible involvement in terrorism. While the government has the right to apprehend those suspected of immigration fraud, the rules of criminal justice should apply, such as the right to counsel and to open proceedings. It appears that the government is avoiding the protections inherent in the criminal justice system by holding people on immigration charges. None of the INS detainees has been charged with a terrorism-related crime. The names of those being held have not been released. Every time a district court rules that the names must be made public, the Justice Department appeals, effectively freezing the case. A second concern about this group is the fact that secret immigration hearings are taking place. While usually there are hearings to determine if a person facing an immigration violation should be detained or can be released on bond, this has not occurred with those detained in the aftermath of 11 September.

    The third category of detainees is that of José Padilla – a US citizen apprehended in Chicago whose custody was transferred from the Justice Department to the Defense Department as an enemy combatant. The concern here is that a person can be detained solely on the president's authority with no effective checks or balances.

    In addition to concerns about the detainees, Wendy Patten highlighted some overall themes and questions about civil liberties in the United States.

    Clement John (WCC) began by affirming the important role which US churches have played in the international cause of human rights for more than 50 years. The US churches were pivotal in contributing to ecumenical social thought and to the creation of international standards and UN mechanisms for upholding human rights. In the 1970s and 1980s, churches in other regions would not have been able to challenge unjust structures in their own societies without the support of US churches. Support for human rights is central to the churches' work and WCC seeks to shed light on the Gospel promotion of one human family for the benefit of all. WCC is often asked, what are US churches doing about those detained in the aftermath of 11 September? The fact is that most statements of concern about the detainees have come from human rights groups, not from the churches.

    Worldwide, those most affected by the measures implemented in response to 11 September have been mainly religious minorities and political dissidents. In Pakistan, for example, Christian churches and institutions have been targeted because they are perceived to be aligned with the 'Christian West'.

    In the 1970s the ideology of national security was used against human rights activists. Today the ideology of anti-terrorism is being used against them. In this ideology, the face of the enemy is blurred, widening the scope of possible repression. The US Patriot Act in 2001 and the UK Anti-Terrorism Act of 2002 are paralleled by similar restrictive legislation in India, Malaysia and the Philippines. The war on terrorism is being used to justify repression of political dissent.

    Clement John then outlined some of the challenges for the churches. How do churches react to the trend of governments' using statutory violence through anti-terrorism measures? Governments are increasing their military budgets leading to violations of basic human rights. Anti-terrorism measures are directed towards Muslim minorities in Europe and North America and towards Christian minorities in Asia. What can churches do? How can inter-faith dialogue be more effective? Presently, this dialogue largely takes place among the liberal and progressive sectors of both faiths, but we need to ask: how does dialogue filter down to the grassroots level? As religions are not monolithic entities, we need to encourage intra-religious dialogue as well. The regions still look to US churches for solidarity. What can churches do to counter terrorism without brutalizing the civilized impulse? A climate has been created which is anti-foreigner, xenophobic and where the persecution of minorities is on the increase. How can churches be encouraged to address this climate?

    In the discussion, participants commented on the role of public opinion. Polls indicate that Americans are willing to give up some of their fundamental rights in return for greater security. For example, a recent poll indicated that a majority of young people would be willing to spy on others to enhance their security. Another questioned the reference to polls, noting that most polls are quite superficial and depend on the way a particular question is phrased. Deeper polling shows popular support for the war on terrorism but a preference for multilateral and UN responses. (See for example:

    There was considerable discussion about whether we are indeed living in extraordinary times. One participant insisted that if we do not acknowledge the extraordinary nature of the attacks, we will lose all credibility. That corresponds to people's understandings of the situation. We have to acknowledge that things have changed.

    Several participants raised the issue of the interrelatedness of human rights; although we have focused discussion here on civil and political rights, it is important to bear in mind the inter-connected issues of economic, social and cultural rights. Others indicated a preference for a focus on justice rather than human rights. Several also pointed out that the decline of civil liberties in the United States makes it more difficult for the US to advocate for human rights in other countries.

    Interfaith Relations

    Victor Makari (Presbyterian, USA) began this discussion by reporting that immediately after the attacks, Muslim leaders issued statements condemning the violence. They did not want to be associated with these evil attacks. There were attacks on Middle Eastern and Islamic centers in the US in the aftermath of 11 September, but there were also many spontaneous cases of churches and communities responding to counter this violence. While interfaith tensions were brought out, so were many efforts to bridge these tensions. Popular interest in Islam increased dramatically and copies of the Koran were sold out. There was renewed interest in inter-faith initiatives and many inter-faith services were carried out. Shortly after the attacks, a beautiful interfaith service was held at the National Cathedral. The service was a wonderful image of diversity and inter-faith cooperation until the President of the United States spoke – in a sort of benediction to the service – by issuing a call for war. The use of the term "crusade" by US President Bush provoked a strong negative reaction for Muslims around the world. While Bush later moved away from using this term, the memories lingered. There have been some consequences for churches entering into an inter-faith approach, particularly the case of a Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod pastor who was removed from his position for appearing publicly at an Inter-faith prayer service for the victims of the tragedy. Victor Makari closed by noting that churches are taking a number of initiatives to improve inter-faith relations. His church, Presbyterian Church (USA), has invited interfaith teams, each composed of one Muslim and one Christian from 10 different countries to meet with local congregations around the country over a 2½ week period.

    Bishop Rumalshah began by noting that Islam is part of the lineage which we take from Abraham. Islam is the only other religion that gives space to Jesus Christ in its holy book. While we assume that Islam is monolithic, in fact, there are major divisions and schisms within Islam which should be recognized. While most South Asian religions have a cyclical view of life and death and are non-competitive in approach, Christianity, Islam and Judaism all have a linear approach which stresses missionary activity and competition. We have to acknowledge the diversity within the religious communities. Numbers and location matter in inter-faith relations. Muslims act differently when they are in the minority than when they are in the majority. Muslims behave differently in different parts of the world and even in different parts of the same country. Muslims in Delhi are different than Muslims in Lahore. While Western faith is individual and privatized, Muslims see faith as relational and community based. We need to recognize this difference in inter-faith dialogue. We need to follow a policy of conscious engagement with the world of Islam and of conscious seeking toward a common goal.

    Ecumenical Relations

    Oscar Bolioli (NCCCUSA) began his reflections on ecumenical relations in the United States by recounting that when news of the 11 September attacks came, NCC General Secretary Bob Edgar immediately began drafting a statement by the churches which was the only tool available at that time to make the case against a vengeful response. The "Deny them their victory" statement was eventually signed by over 4000 religious leaders. The National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA received 70 messages of condolences from different ecumenical bodies around the world while denominational bodies received many more messages of support from their partner churches in other countries.

    The churches were deeply involved in the tasks of healing within their communities and in providing pastoral care to the many who were traumatized by the events. Church World Service, building on experiences of the Oklahoma City bombing, developed programs to provide pastoral care and counseling to people affected by the attacks. Some 65,000 people in New York were treated for Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome and many more for depression. Local mental health authorities reported that 120,000 people received treatment in the nine months after the attacks.

    Churches issued statements and the peace churches took the lead in arguing for a nonviolent response to the attacks. But of all these statements, only three raised the issues of the reasons for the attack – on why it happened and why "they hate us." Islamic centers opened their doors, inviting the public to visit and to learn about their religion. The NCCCUSA General Secretary met with Muslim leaders and they agreed to continue to meet on a monthly basis – a pattern that has continued. Some 500 cases of violence against foreigners were reported. The NCCUSA mission book on Islam was reprinted. While churches took the lead in inter-faith dialogue and in providing pastoral care for the victims, they were not so strong in speaking out on the political issues of power and abuse although the NCCCUSA statement on 15 November did refer to the impact of these events on the rule of law and the protection of civil liberties. The strongest statement was that issued by the National Council of Churches on 27 June which denounced the limitations being imposed on civil liberties. But we are still not dealing with some of the issues – particularly the reasons behind the attacks. We are still focused on "us" rather than on the consequences of US actions for others. We need to talk about our ecclesiology. Mission work still has not educated Americans about the reasons for poverty. We are concerned about our security when others are concerned about justice.

    Elizabeth Ferris then spoke about global ecumenical developments, noting that in the months following 11 September, there was little direct contact between US churches and ecumenical bodies who were struggling to formulate a common response. In the months following 11 September, WCC responded with prayer, letters, statements, a pastoral visit to the US, an alternative news service, inter-faith meetings and a brainstorming meeting to begin to look at the consequences. These are dangerous times and unfortunately ecumenical structures are weak. Ecumenical bodies throughout the world are experiencing difficulties with a resurgence of denominationalism and dwindling financial support for ecumenical organizations at the regional and global levels.

    Yet in spite of these difficulties – or perhaps because of these difficulties - we need to find new ways of working together. If there is a US military intervention against Iraq, how will churches worldwide respond? Will each one respond on its own? Can we develop means now to consult one another? What does it mean to be a fellowship of churches if we respond to dangerous developments by turning inwards?

    The events of 11 September changed the dynamics of how churches in other parts of the world view the United States. There was an initial opportunity to show solidarity towards the US – as US churches have so often demonstrated toward churches in other regions in the past. There was a new awareness of the vulnerability of US churches on the part of churches in other regions and a yearning to engage, to listen, to learn, to share, and to accompany. There is a renewed emphasis on churches in the US on the part of the WCC. This meeting, for example, was called for by the WCC Executive Committee. There are new opportunities to deepen the fellowship even in a time such as this.

    Discussion focused largely on the need for inter-faith dialogue and the need for intra-faith discussions on what it means to engage in interfaith dialogue. While interfaith dialogue has a long history in the United States, it did not become a passionate issue until 11 September. One participant remarked that we have seen a sharpened theology of intolerance since 11 September.

    Many participants talked about the challenges to ecumenism today. There are fierce battles within our denominations about where the church ought to go, one participant remarked. We have a huge ecumenical challenge within our own denominations, another added. We need to regard the other within our own denominations, to reach out and talk with people who hold different views. Sometimes it is easier to talk with progressives in other traditions than to reach out to fundamentalists within our own churches. We have to struggle to maintain a sense of the dignity and that of God which is within each person. At the same time, another remarked, there is a huge evangelical constituency within the country and we need to begin the conversation with them. At the same time, another participant reminded the group, we cannot allow the prophetic voice to be silenced in the name of tolerance. Another participant commented that while the dialogue between global partners is not always self-evident, Americans attending their local congregations usually do not even see the global church. How do we make the church the conscience of this country? One participant remarked that while we may feel powerless and our sermons do not move people, we have a powerful constituency which we are not using. It is not our power, one participant reminded the group, it is the power of the Spirit that moves through us.

    Final Session

    Discerning the "signs of the times" is a difficult and on-going task. The discussions in Washington, D.C. represented a small "window" of time during which participants could work together to try to understand what is happening in the world and what the churches are called to do at this particular moment in time. The presence of international participants and the rich worship life of the meeting enabled participants to discuss their fears, their frustrations, their uncertainties and their hopes. Throughout the meeting, however, participants recognized the need for further discussions. They expressed a need to broaden the debate and particularly to engage their congregations in discussions about the implications – for the United States and for the world - of the "war on terrorism." In the final session, participants agreed on the outlines of a study guide consisting largely of questions for use in congregations, understanding that these questions may be adapted by denominations for their own constituencies. Participants also agreed to send a message to the WCC Central Committee for its use in drafting a public statement on the issues emerging from the attacks of 11 September and the response to those attacks. Although time did not permit universal agreement with the text of that message during the meeting, almost all of the participants subsequently indicated their support for the final message by electronic mail a few days after the meeting. The message will be shared with the WCC Central Committee meeting in Geneva from 26 August - 3 September 2002.

    Overview Statement: Elizabeth Ferris

    Beyond 11 September: Implications for US Churches and the World
    5-6 August 2002
    Washington, DC

    Elizabeth Ferris
    World Council of Churches


    WCC, in consultation with NCCCUSA and CWS, has convened this meeting as part of an on-going process of discernment among the churches about the way forward in this post-11 September world. Since the attacks on the US and the subsequent military response, reams of media reports, statements, analyses, and reflections have taken place. There is no shortage of media coverage or written analyses on the consequences of 11 September for the world. But these developments are not just political events; they are also areas which cry out for theological and moral perspectives and which challenge us to find new ways of understanding, interpreting, and acting. International ecumenical gatherings, by bringing the richness of different Christian traditions and different regional perspectives, offer a unique opportunity to look beyond the headlines to discern the "signs of the times."

    In November 2001, WCC convened a meeting at short notice, to begin to explore some of the consequences of the attacks. At that meeting, participants identified a particular need to organize a meeting in the United States with representatives of US churches. At times in the past 11 months, it has seemed that there has been a gap between churches in the USA and in the rest of the world. Sometimes we have seen that churches in other parts of the world are not aware of what the US churches have said and done, asking for example: where is the US church response to US President Bush's statements about an "axis of evil?" Sometimes we get the sense that US churches have turned inward and have felt defensive at queries from other parts of the world. Sometimes we have felt a yearning on the part of churches in other parts of the world to hear from their US brothers and sisters about their interpretation of events and about how they are responding.

    This meeting and process

    This meeting seeks to analyze, reflect and pray together – to try to understand what is happening, to draw the attention of the global church community to the implications of current political developments, and to try to discern together a way forward. As Konrad Raiser said in November 2001, "The churches are called to an act of discernment in trying to understand the significance of the events on 11 September. Such discernment must include a critical evaluation of the interpretations given to the events. This is all the more important since the interpretation determines to a large extent the nature of the response. The official interpretations offered by the Government of the United States and by other centres of political authority, including the Security Council of the United Nations, have set an agenda which is presently being implemented. Can the churches go along with these interpretations and the form of response?" Konrad Raiser, "Beyond 11 September: Implications for the Churches," from Beyond 11 September: Assessing Global Implications, Geneva: WCC, 2001, p. 15.

    In the months since these remarks were made, we have seen that decisions made by US officials to respond to a new sense of vulnerability are having major consequences in the US (homeland security, financial implications, the relative power of the President vis-à-vis the Congress, civil liberties, spending on social issues, etc.) But decisions made by US officials to respond to that vulnerability also have major consequences for the rest of the world and are carried out in a context where US unilateralist behavior was a cause for concern long before 11 September. What are the consequences for international law and the United Nations (both of which the churches have long supported)? What are the consequences of living in a world with one superpower? What are the moral and theological insights which can churches offer?

    We have deliberately left the agenda of this meeting fairly loose – not wanting to impose a prearranged outcome on the meeting. But participants here can choose to draft a statement which can be widely shared among both the US and the international community. The Central Committee of the World Council of Churches is meeting later this month and is open to receiving words of guidance from this group. The National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA will hold its Assembly in November of this year. Church World Service has set up a committee to examine some of these consequences. There are representatives from all of these bodies here with us – as well as representatives of many churches who can feed whatever "outcome" there is of the meeting into their own processes. We can choose to draft something from this meeting – and there are some excellent drafters with us – this evening to consider tomorrow afternoon. This could perhaps be based on the observations at the WCC's CCIA meeting in June (attached) which drew attention to some of the concerns about the implications of 11 September.

    Since time is limited, we may also choose to use these two days to deepen the analyses of what is taking place in our world and to share the analyses with the broader ecumenical community without worrying about how to reach consensus. Or we may leave it open and come back at the end of the day to see where we want to go with all of this discussion – whether we want to ask a small drafting group this evening to work on a draft statement or outcome.

    We have structured the agenda around 6 themes:
    Ethical and theological perspectives
    International perspectives
    National/global security
    Human rights
    Inter-faith relations
    Ecumenical responses

    For 5 of the 6 themes, we have asked two people – one from the US and one from the international fellowship – to begin the discussion by posing questions or reflections (in only 5-10 minutes each) . For the session on international perspectives, we are asking each of the international participants to give us a very short sketch of how current events are perceived in their regions.

    The issues are many and our time together is short, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, we hope to be able to move toward a greater understanding of the challenges which we face in this post-11 September world.

    To begin the discussion…

    We see "through a glass darkly" and our analytical tools seem inadequate to understand what is happening at a global level. In the November meeting, Konrad Raiser, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, suggested that what is fundamentally different about this conflict is its symbolic nature. Unlike previous conflicts, this is not a struggle for resources, trade routes or territory but for symbolic hegemony. This is one of the reasons that our traditional analytical models are inadequate to understand the conflict and why theology and religious insights are needed. Power is legitimized through symbols and religion is the strongest carrier of the symbolic." Raiser, WCC Report, p. 13.

    Insights from theological and ethical perspectives bring a needed dimension to the analysis of the current state of affairs. In particular, I would like to highlight three global trends which cut across all the issues to be discussed here and which are in desperate need of theological reflection:
    · US power
    · US unilateralism
    · US intentions
    US power

    Many have written about the dominance of US power. The United States will spend more on defense in 2003 than the next 15-20 biggest spenders combined. The US "enjoys" overwhelming military superiority on all levels: nuclear, conventional, air force, and navy. This trend is likely to continue as US spending on research and development is far ahead of all other countries. "The US spends more on military research and development than Germany or the United Kingdom spends on defense in total…No state in the modern history of international politics has come close to the military predominance these numbers suggest." Brooks and Wohflorth.

    As The Economist pointed out in its special issue on US power in the world, on traditional measures of power, the US ranks far ahead of all other countries:
    But the United States was the most powerful nation in the world before 11 September. What has changed since then? A partial response would include: the painful realization of US vulnerability, the resurgence of US nationalism/patriotism, and a growing willingness to use US power to confront enemies who do not play by the rules. How can Christian perspectives on power be introduced into the debate – power not as military might or economic superiority – but power to nurture and protect and confront injustice. What do churches have to say about a world order dominated by one superpower?

    US President Bush has cast the struggle as a conflict between the forces of good and evil. In his June address at the West Point graduation ceremony, he cast the present conflict in moral terms: "some worry that it is somehow undiplomatic or impolite the speak the language of right and wrong. I disagree. Moral truth is the same in every culture, in every time, and in every place." In other statements, he and members of his administration have made it clear that they intend to use this power for good. For example, Richard Falk cites military commentator Eliot Cohen: "in the twenty-first century, characterized like the European Middle Ages by a universal (if problematic) high culture with a universal language, the US military plays an extraordinary and inimitable role. It has become, whether Americans or others like it or not, the ultimate guarantor of international order." Article in Foreign Affairs, cited by Richard Falk, "The New Bush Doctrine," The Nation, 15 July 2002. Falk discusses the implications of this far-reaching assertion, including its assumptions about the role of democratic institutions and about the international order. What are the theological and ethical perspectives which churches bring to this debate, couched as it is in moral terms? How can churches "speak truth to power" in this context? How can they challenge the use of moral language by politicians? What do churches have to say about nationalism? How can the positive advantages of affirming a sense of community and belonging be affirmed while challenging the uses to which nationalism and patriotism have been put?

    While there are few analysts who challenge the primacy of the United States, there are a few lone voices, such as Immanuel Wallerstein, who question how long the US can maintain this position. He argues that in spite of this dominance, the seeds of US decline are already evident. The US currently finds itself "a lone superpower that lacks true power, a world leader nobody follows and few respect, and a nation drifting dangerously amidst a global chaos it cannot control." Wallerstein, July-August 2002.

    Questions about the dominance of US power are inextricably linked to concerns about US unilateralism.

    US Unilateralism

    Before 2001, there was ample evidence of US unilateralism. Even before the election of US President Bush, the US had failed to pay its UN dues, expressed reservations about the International Criminal Court, refused to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and failed to ratify a number of other international treaties and conventions, such as the Landmines treaty and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Note that the US has not ratified a number of other important conventions, including the Convention on Racial Discrimination, Covenant on Economic and Social Rights, American Convention on Human Rights, Convention to Eliminate Discrimination against Women. The Economist, 29 June 2002, p. 22. President Bush continued and intensified this unilataralist trend, with US withdrawal from the 1972 AntiBallistic Missile Treaty, beginning work on a national missile defense system, adoption of a critical posture toward UN negotiations on small arms, withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocols on climate change, opposition to proposed talks to prevent the weaponisation of space, failure to ratify UN conventions on the international control of terrorism, and withdrawal from the World Conference against Racism only weeks before the 11 September attacks.

    There were some initially encouraging signs in the months immediately after the 11 September attacks as the US government hastily paid some of its outstanding UN dues (although leaving US$1 billion as yet unpaid) and began negotiations to put together a coalition against the perpetrators of the attacks and more generally, against terrorism. UN Security Council resolutions authorized strikes against Afghanistan and NATO, for the first time in its history, invoked Article 5 calling for collective defense.

    Since then, however, the trend toward unilateralism has accelerated. The US has withdrawn from the International Criminal Court (the first time any country has formally withdrawn its signature from an internationally-agreed convention) and held UN peacekeeping operations hostage until US forces could receive an exemption from the provisions of the ICC. The US has pulled out of efforts to agree on a verification protocol for the Biological Weapons Convention. It has disregarded the Geneva conventions on prisoners of war in determining the legal status of people captured in Afghanistan and taken to Guantanamo Bay for questioning. President Bush has said he will not resubmit the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty to the Senate for ratification (which was rejected in 1999) On the economic front, the US has imposed new trade barriers on steel and agricultural products.

    The churches have long advocated for the rule of international law and the strengthening of international institutions to promote peace and justice for all. How can churches continue to advocate for international law and institutions in a climate of increasing unilateralist behavior? What role do US churches play in this regard? How can churches in other parts of the world continue their advocacy for a just world order?

    Among the many troubling signs of US unilateralism, the assertion by US President Bush that the United States has the right to use military force against any state that is seen as hostile or makes moves to acquire weapons of destruction -- nuclear, biological or chemical Cited by Richard Falk, "The new Bush doctrine," The Nation, 15 July 2002. stands out as particularly dangerous. This claiming of a right to pre-emptive strikes, although in clear contradiction of international law, raises the specter of new US military actions.

    US Intentions

    The danger inherent in a war against terrorism is that it is a war without limits and a war where the enemy is defined by the dominant power. President Bush's statement that the US would confront the "axis of evil" and naming of North Korea, Iran and Iraq has led to fears that further military action is imminent. Recent press reports indicate planning for such military action against Iraq is well underway. Richard Sale, for example, reports that plans are for round-the-clock air strikes, US ground forces numbering 200,000 (with an additional 25,000 troops to be provided by Britain), operations to be carried out from staging areas in Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and with casualty estimates of 2,000. Richard Sale, "US plans massive invasion of Iraq," UPI, 10 July 2002. Some US church leaders have spoken out against plans to topple Iraq's president as they would endanger civilian lives in Iraq and also be de-stabilizing for the region. ENI – check date – Bob Edgar and John Thomas.

    How can churches challenge the mindset of power, the assumptions that a military response is the best way to achieve security? How can churches respond more effectively at a time when war scenarios are being painted in the media and the signs are present that further US military actions may be forthcoming? How can the international ecumenical movement take steps now to prevent further wars and rumors of wars? How can churches hold governments accountable for the actions they take?

    These are just three of the trends which shape the world in which we are called to witness and which cry out for moral perspectives and theological insights. As religious leaders from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia stated in a different context, "these are issues that are too important to leave to the politicians.


    At its 2002 meeting the Commission of the Churches in International Affairs reviewed the implications of the tragic events of September 11th for the ecumenical movement as follows:

    The global situation has become more complex, making a coherent and effective ecumenical response more difficult to shape. The proliferation of internal and international conflicts has placed unprecedented challenges to the churches at all levels.
    There has been an accelerated attack on the framework of global governance, the rule of law and the institutions painstakingly built over the past fifty years to apply it. Treaties have been abrogated for the first time in many decades, and a systematic effort is being made from several quarters to weaken the system of obligations freely entered into by states and to erode international protections. The USA has led this trend, withdrawing its signature from the Rome Statutes of the International Criminal Court and giving notice that it would no longer abide by the terms of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
    Taking advantage of the climate created by the "War on Terrorism," a number of states have resorted to "states of emergency," undermining due process of law with respect to dissidents, minority groups and persons suspected of involvement in terrorism. This has resulted in grave violations of human rights and threatens a return to national security doctrines.
    Major increases in military budgets have been made in a number of countries, further limiting resources available for economic, social and environmental needs.
    Efforts to control the production, transfer and use of weapons, has been slowed in the conventional sphere, and despite the new agreement between the USA and Russia on decommissioning nuclear weapons, for the first time in decades a new generation of nuclear weapons is being developed and new threats of the use of such weapons in regional wars have arisen.
    1. The process of globalization and economic neoliberalism has reduced the capacity of many nation-states to determine and implement strategies to meet the needs of their own people, strengthening the powers of the major industrialized nations and weakening those of most developing nations, widening the gap between rich and poor.
    The blatant unilateralism of the USA and its attempts to impose its own will and standards on the entire world has severely weakened the project of world order provided by the UN Charter which foresaw a form of governance in which all nations, small and large, rich and poor would have a say.
    Religion has been pushed back into the center of world affairs and that of the peoples, reversing the trends of secularization that dominated in previous decades and calling into question many of our previous assumptions based on the secular society. It has become a central factor in many open conflicts, making them more resistant to peaceful resolution.
    There has been a political backlash in many countries of the North that is deeply troubling. It has a particular impact on human rights, particularly those of the uprooted. It also has had serious implications for the churches.
    At the same time, the churches, the ecumenical movement and its institutions, including the WCC have seen their resources dwindling to an extent unprecedented since the WCC was formed. The resultant weakening of ecumenical structures has been accompanied by trends toward uncoordinated and sometimes competing responses to crises by churches and related agencies.

    Message to the WCC Central Committee, August 2002

    Message to the WCC Central Committee from participants in the meeting "Beyond 11 September: Implications for US Churches and the World," organized by the World Council of Churches in consultation with the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA and Church World Service from 5-6 August 2002 in Washington, DC.

    As the anniversary of 11 September 2001 approaches, we came together as Christians from the United States and other parts of the world to discern together the challenges which we now face as a result of the horrific events of 11 September and the US response. Our prayers are with all those who suffered loss in the events of September 11 and acts of terror around the world. While much of our discussion focused on peace and security, as Christians we affirmed that true security comes only from Jesus Christ who is "the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6)

    We have come to understand that ongoing dialogue, with churches worldwide and other faith communities, is essential to formulating a constructive Christian response to the insecurities and vulnerabilities that we and other people around the world experience. We encourage our churches – from the global to the congregational levels – to engage in sustained study and reflection on the meaning and sources of true peace and security in the present age.

    In looking at threats to peace and security, we particularly lift up the concerns in the Middle East. We call on U.S. churches to press their government to work for a just resolution of the Palestine-Israeli conflict, without delay, which will result in a viable and secure Palestinian state and a secure Israel at peace with its neighbors. Furthermore, at this particular moment in history, U.S. churches are called to speak out against the threat of a military attack by their government against Iraq.

    Our discussions affirmed certain fundamental principles:

    *Security must be grounded in respect for human rights, due process, and international law. Security does not result from military actions.

    * Moreover, human security and national security depend on economic justice and peace, in our own countries and throughout the world. We fear that the military response to terrorism will further divert needed resources away from meeting human needs.

    *Peaceful relations among nations and peoples are achieved through multilateral decision-making, not by the unilateral economic and military actions of one country. The current US-led "war on terrorism" undermines these principles and threatens genuine peace and justice.

    *As Christians we put our security in the hands of Jesus Christ and the biblical witness which
    says "perfect love casts out fear." I John 4:18a

    Guide for Reflection

    Beyond 11 September: Implications for US Churches and the World
    Orthodox Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord
    Anniversary of the Dropping of the Atom Bomb on Hiroshima
    6 August 2002

    The Prophetic Voice of the Churches

    Introduction Reflections on the situation of the Churches of the United States · How do churches help people to heal from grief, hurt and trauma so that they can move toward reconciliation and forgiveness? · Can individual experience of fear and vulnerability move us to greater compassion towards all those whose lives have long been characterized by fear and vulnerability? · How can the churches help define the difference between justice and vengeance? · What is the responsibility of Christians in the United States to learn about US policies abroad and their consequences? · In thinking about forgiveness, whom should we forgive and from whom should we seek forgiveness? · How do US churches witness to the Christian understanding that each and every human being is made in the image and likeness of God? · How do Christian churches maintain the full integrity of faith in Jesus Christ while embracing people of other faith traditions? · What can the churches do to promote inter-religious dialogue as a vehicle to protect and promote human rights of all people? · How can churches work together to overcome the fear of the "other?" · How should the churches of the United States engage in dialogue on these issues with other Christian churches and ecumenical partners? · What can churches contribute to the public debate about the use of political discourse to classify some nations or peoples as "evil?" and to classify ourselves as "good?" · What does the response of the United States to September 11 show us about racism, both domestically and in US foreign policy? · How can churches find their prophetic voice in critiquing policies of the US government during times of uncertainty and fear? · Is there danger that 'worship of nation' has replaced worship of God? · Has use of the language of religion and moral authority been manipulated by governmental officials? Does this affect the authentic voice and moral authority of the churches? · How can Christians honestly confront the causes of terrorism without justifying its use? · What should be the role of the church when statutory violence is used by government to counter "terrorism" that may have political, social, religious or economic roots? · Do Christians need to re-examine the long-standing debates on "pacifism" and "just war" in light of the continuing development of new weapons of mass destruction and the preponderance of bombing campaigns from the air in recent US military attacks? · What does "just war" mean in the context of the present situation? Do US military actions fulfill the criteria of just war theory? For example, was the military campaign in Afghanistan a proportionate and just response to the attacks of September 11? · What is the role of the churches in responding to current discussions about increasing US security? What are the tradeoffs for Americans of trying to enhance security? · What are the consequences for other countries of US efforts to achieve greater security? What has it meant in places like the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and the Middle East? · What is the role of US churches in speaking about military engagement and intervention by the US government? · To what extent is US foreign policy driven by the desire to preserve the wealth of its citizens? What is the relationship between policies to assure the comfort and well-being of US citizens and poverty elsewhere? · Are Christians called to be peacemakers? What does Christian peace-making mean in today's world? How can churches do more to lift up peacemaking as an alternative to military action? · How can churches contribute to the effort to counter terrorism without condoning the brutalization of civil societies? · What are the similarities between the actions of 11 September 1973 – when the CIA supported a military coup in Chile – and the attacks of 11 September 2001? Are there other dates which mark turning points in our understandings of international events and the exercise of power? · How can churches provide a historical memory of events which have marked turning points in regions without the massive media coverage which marked the events of 11 September 2001? · How do churches in areas of the world that have endured violence and terrorism for decades or generations support the churches of the United States in their pastoral work with Americans? · How can churches help to ensure that all victims of violence are given a voice? · How should the churches support and protect non-violent movements for justice and freedom? · What is the relationship of the US churches to the parable of the rich man and Lazarus? Is it wealth or the indifference to the suffering of poverty that condemns the rich man in the parable? · What does the separation of church and state mean in the current crisis?

    · What is the responsibility of the church in the development and preservation of international law and cooperation?

    · How do we find the words and actions that can change the agendas of politicians?

    · Is the United States self-interest equivalent to the public good? Conclusion

    1. The impact of the "war on terrorism" for human rights and security in the US and abroad
    · The erosion of constitutional principles and civil liberties at home, including the treatment of detainees
    · The impact of US policies on human rights in other countries
    · US policies toward states it has identified as supporters of terrorism, with particular emphasis on Iraq
    · The contrast between national security and global security 2. US policies toward specific countries directly impacted by the US response to the attacks of 11 September
    · Israel and Palestine
    · Pakistan and India
    · Afghanistan and its efforts to recover from war 3. National defense and arms control
    · The impact of the US assertion of a right to make preemptive strikes, including with nuclear weapons
    · The consequences of US resumption of nuclear testing
    · The effects of US policies toward the sales of small arms, including to non-state actors
    · The impact of diversion of scarce resources to military forces
    · The need to develop alternatives to war 4. The United States as a member of the Global Community
    · The impact of US unilateral actions in areas such as the environment, UN conferences, UN peacekeeping operations, and disarmament for global peace and security
    · The effects of US opposition to the International Criminal Court and weakening of other international treaties
    · The extent to which US actions are undermining international law and global governance
    · The perception that the US has abrogated its moral authority to mercantile interests
    Is this not the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
    Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
    Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
    Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
    If you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday.
    The Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.
    Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.

    Isaiah 58: 6-12.

    List of Participants

    Beyond 11 September: Implications for US Churches and the World
    World Council of Churches
    5-6 August 2002

    Ms Mia Adjali
    777 UN Plaza, 11th fl.
    New York, NY 10017
    United States of America
    Work tel: +1 212-682-3633
    Work fax: +1 212-682-5354

    Dr Walter Altmann
    Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil
    Rua Pastor Rodolfo Saenger 284
    Sao Leopoldo / RS
    BR 93035-110
    Work tel:+55 51 592 6835
    Work fax:+55 51 589 6439

    Rev. Dora Arce
    Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba
    Reforma 560 e/Sta.Ana y Sta. Felicia
    C. Habana 10700
    Work tel:+(53 7) 33 96 21
    Work fax:+(53 7) 98 48 18

    Mr Liberato Bautista
    General Board of Church and Society
    777 UN Plaza, 11th fl.
    New York, NY 10017
    United States of America
    Work tel:+1 212 682 3633 ext 3112
    Work fax:+1 212 682 5354

    Rev Oscar Bolioli
    PCUSA / National Council of Churches USA
    National Council of Churches USA
    475 Riverside Drive, Room 812
    New York, NY 10115
    United States of America
    Work tel: +1 212- 870 24 21
    Work fax:+1 212- 870 22 65

    Bishop Stephen P. Bouman
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
    475 Riverside Drive, Suite 1620
    New York
    NY 10115
    United States of America
    Work tel:+1 212 665 0732 ext 234
    Work fax:+1 212 665 8640 (c/c

    Mr Jim Bowman
    Lutheran World Relief, Office of Public Policy
    122 C Street, N.W., 125
    Washington D.C. 20001-2172
    United States of America
    Work tel: +1 212-783-6887
    Work fax: +1 212-783-5328

    Mr Dale W. Brown
    Church of the Brethren
    1101 College Avenue
    Elizabethtown, PA 17022
    United States of America
    Work tel: +1 717 361 9020
    Work fax: +1 717 361 1443 (c/o Young Center)

    Mr Vernon S. Broyles, III
    Presbyterian Church (USA)
    National Ministries Division
    100 Witherspoon Street
    Rm 4607
    Louisville, Kentucky 40202-1396
    United States of America
    Work tel: +1 502 569 5812
    Work fax: +1 502 569 8116

    Mr Daryl J. Byler
    MCC U.S. Washington Office
    110 Maryland Ave. NE #502
    Washington, DC 20002
    United States of America

    Mr Steven Cupic
    Office of International Affairs of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the US and Canada
    2311 Street, Suite 402
    Washington, DC 20037
    United States of America

    Ms Lois McCullough Dauway
    United Methodist Church
    Women's Division: General Board of Global Ministries
    United Methodist Church Global Ministries
    475 Riverside Drive, #1502
    New York, NY 10115
    United States of America
    Work tel:+1 212 870 37 34
    Work fax:+1 212 870 37 36

    Ms Marie Dennis
    Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Peace, Social Justice and Integrity of Creation
    P.O.Box 29132
    Washington, D.C. 20017
    United States of America
    Work tel: +1 202 832-1780
    Work fax: +1 202 544-2820

    Mr. Derek Duncan
    Middles East & Europe Office
    Common Global Ministries Board
    United Church of Christ and Christian Church
    700 Prospect Avenue
    Cleveland, OH 44115
    United States of America
    Work tel: +1 216 736 3220
    Word fax: +1 216 736 3203

    Dr Elizabeth Ferris
    World Council of Churches
    International Affairs, Peace & Human Security
    150, route de Ferney
    P.O. Box 2100
    1211 Geneva 2
    Work tel: +41-22-791 6318 / 791 6111
    Work fax: +41-22-791 03 61, 791 4122

    Mr Dennis Frado
    Lutheran Office for World Community, Division for Church in Society, ELCA
    777 United Nations Plaza
    New York, NY 10017-3521
    United States of America
    Work tel:+1 212 808 5360
    Work fax:+1 212 808 5480

    Rev. Barbara Gerlach
    Justice and Witness Ministries
    United Church of Christ
    1302 Geranium St. N. W.
    Washington, D. C. 20012
    United States of America
    Work tel: +1 202 726 4382
    Work fax:+1 202 347 4911

    Ms Anne Glynn-Mackoul
    Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East
    25 Gallup Road
    Princeton, New Jersey 08540
    United States of America
    Work tel:+1 609 924 60 47
    Work fax:+1 609 279 14 54
    Ms Catherine Gordon
    Presbyterian Church (USA)
    110 Maryland Avenue, N.E. 104
    Washington, D.C. 20002
    United States of America
    Work tel:+ 1 202 543-1126
    Work fax: +1 202 543-7755

    Rev. Canon Brian J. Grieves
    Director, Peace and Justice Ministries
    The Episcopal Church Center
    815 Second Avenue
    New York, NY 10017
    United States of America
    Work tel: +1 800 334 7626
    Work fax: +1 212 490 6684

    Mr. Gabriel Habib
    Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East / National Council of Churches in the USA
    5500 Holmes Run
    Alexandria, VA 22304
    United States of America
    Work tel: +1 703 751 5844
    Work fax: +1 703 751 5844

    Mr Chris Hobgood
    Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
    11501 Georgia Avenue
    Wheaton, MD 20902
    United States of America
    Work tel: +1 301-942 8266
    Work fax: +1 301-942 8366

    Ms Mary Yoder Holsopple
    Peace and Justice Collaborative
    3003 Benham Avenue
    Elkhart, IN 46517
    United States of America
    Work tel:+1 574 596 6276

    Mr Victor Hsu
    Church World Service and Witness
    475 Riverside Drive, Room 700
    New York, NY 10115
    United States of America
    Work tel:+1.212 770 23 73
    Work fax:+1.212 870.35.23

    Mr Philip Jenks
    US Office - World Council of Churches
    475 Riverside Drive, Room 915
    New York, NY 10115
    United States of America
    Work tel:+212 870 3193
    Work fax:+212 870 2528

    Mr Clement John
    World Council of Churches
    International Affairs, Peace & Human Security
    150, route de Ferney
    P.O. Box 2100
    1211 Geneva 2
    Work tel: +41-22-791 6317 /6041
    Work fax: +41-22-791 6122

    Mrs Carmencita Karagdag
    National Council of Churches in the Philippines
    879 Epifanio de los Santos Avenue
    Quezon City, Manila
    Work tel:+63 2 928 86 36
    Work fax:+63 2 926 70 76

    Ms Kathleen Kern
    Representative of the Mennonite Church USA
    293 Brooksboro Dr.
    Webster, NY 14580
    United States of America
    Work tel:+1 585-265-4313
    Work fax:+1 585-265-4313

    Mr John Langmore
    ILO Liaison Office to the UN
    220 E. 42nd Street, Suite 3101
    New York, NY 10017
    United States of America
    Work tel: +1 212 697 3030
    Work fax: +1212 963 3062

    Ms Mary Lord
    American Friends Service Committee
    1501 Cherry Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19102
    United States of America
    Work tel: +1 215 241 7000
    Work fax: + 215 241 7000

    Dr Janice Love
    United Methodist Church
    419 Edisto Avenue
    Columbia, SC 29205
    United States of America
    Work tel:+1 803 777 7363,
    +1 803 799 4332
    Work fax:+1 803 777 0213,
    +1 803 777 8255

    Rev. Dr Victor Makari
    Presbyterian Church (USA)
    100 Witherspoon Street
    Room 4412
    Louisville, KY 40202-1396
    Work tel:+1 502 569 5314 /+1 888 728 7227 ext 5324
    Work fax:+1 502 569 8039/8040

    Ms. Kim Mc Dowel
    Church of the Brethren
    4413 Tuckerman Street
    Hyattville, MD 20782
    United States of America
    Work tel: +1 301 864 4328

    Dr Belle Miller McMaster
    Presbyterian Church (USA)
    52 Lakeshore Drive
    Avondale Estate, GA 30002
    United States of America
    Work tel: +1 404 - 284 6676
    Work fax: +1 404 - 727 2494

    Ms Jennifer Morazes
    US Office - World Council of Churches
    475 Riverside Drive, Room 915
    New York, NY 10115
    United States of America
    Work tel: +1 212 870 2522
    Work fax: +1 212 870 2528

    Ms Abla Nasir
    YWCA Palestine
    P.O.Box 20044
    Wadil joz Street, Cheikh Jarrah Quarter
    Work tel: +972 2 628 2593 or 6282 087
    Work fax: +972 2 6284 654

    Archbishop Condrea Nicolae
    Romanian Orthodox Church
    Work tel: +1 519 948 0818
    Work fax: +1 519 948 0818

    The Rev Renta Nishihara
    The Anglican Church in Japan
    1-12-31-B1 Yoga
    Tokyo 158 0097
    Work tel:+81 3-3701-8324
    Work fax:+81 3-3701-8324

    Ms Wendy Patten
    U. S. Advocacy Director
    Human Rights Watch
    1630 Connecticut Ave., N. W., Suite 500
    Washington, D. C. 20009
    Work tel:+1 202 612 4349
    Work fax:+1 202 612 4333

    Ms. Susan Peacock
    1940 Biltmore St., NW, #2
    Washington D.C., 20009
    United States of America
    Work tel: +1 202 797 1076

    Mr Ernie Regehr
    Project Ploughshares
    Institute of Peace & Conflict Studies
    Conrad Grebel College, University of
    Waterloo ON N2L 3G6
    Work tel:+1 519 888 6541 x263
    Work fax:+1 519 885 0806

    Mr Paul Renshaw
    Churches Together in Britain and Ireland
    35-41 Lower Marsh
    London SE1 7SA
    United Kingdom
    Work tel:+ 44 20 7523 2112
    Work fax:+ 44 20 7928 0010

    Ms Barbara Ricks Thompson
    National Council of Churches of Christ
    1121 University Blvd. West, #1005
    Silver Spring, MD 20902
    United States of America
    Work tel: 1 301 649 1160

    Bishop Mano Rumalshah
    Parternship House
    157 Waterloo
    London SE1 8UU
    United Kingdom
    Work tel:+44 171 92 88681

    Rev. Eunice Santana
    Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
    P.O Box 2244
    Puerto Rico
    Work tel:+1 787 878 5427
    Work fax:+1 787 880 9287

    Ms Sandy Sorensen
    United Church of Christ
    110 Maryland Ave., Suite 207
    Washington, D.C. 20002

    Rev. Angelique Walker-Smith
    National Baptist Convention USA
    Church ederation of Indianapolis
    1100 West 42nd Street, Suite 345
    Indianapolis, IN 46208
    United States of America
    Work tel: +1 317 926 5371
    Work fax:: +1 317 926 5373

    Bishop C. Dale White
    United Methodist
    117 Eustis Ave
    Newport, RI 02840
    United States of America
    Work tel: +1 401 847 3419

    Ms Lisa Wright
    Church World Service and Witness
    110 Maryland Ave., N.E. #108
    Washington, DC 20002
    United States of America
    Work tel: +1 202 544 2350
    Work fax: +1 202 543 1297


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