Approved at the 203rd Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Conference, June 7-8, 2002
WHEREAS, the 203rd Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ mourns the terrible loss of innocent lives on September 11 and grieves deeply with the victims' families, and
WHEREAS, the Apostle Paul tells us "Repay no one evil for evil" and "Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:17, 20), and
WHEREAS, many people of faith in our churches feel called by God to engage in non-violent resistance to evil, and
WHEREAS, our government has mounted a large-scale military operation in Afghanistan which has resulted in numerous deaths of innocent civilians, as well as military personnel, and
WHEREAS, our government has indicated its intentions to expand its search for terrorists by carrying the war into other countries, and
WHEREAS, our government is currently presiding over an erosion of the civil rights guaranteed by our Constitution and Bill of Rights to all citizens and legal aliens,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the 203rd Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ directs the Minister and President to release the following statement to the President of the United States, our Congressional delegation, the national offices of the United Church of Christ, and to major Massachusetts news media:
We rejoice in the determination of our fellow citizens not to be overcome by this great tragedy.
We condemn these monstrous criminal acts and we support non-violent efforts of our government to apprehend those responsible and to bring them to justice before an international tribunal.
We encourage our government to examine and address the root causes of terrorism.
We believe that non-violent actions of a diplomatic, financial, educational and intelligence nature in cooperation with other countries and international bodies are more effective strategies for dismantling terrorism than warfare.
We offer our support and prayers to the members of the United States military around the world, who are serving and sacrificing to protect all of us from further terrorism.
We oppose the expansion of this war to other countries, for example Iraq.
We deplore the use of ethnic and racial profiling, indefinite detention and other erosions of civil liberties guaranteed by our Constitution and Bill of Rights.
We favor increased humanitarian aid to the Afghan people for the rebuilding of their devastated society.
We encourage our national media to continue pushing for access to military activities and to defend vigorously our freedoms of speech and dissent.
We renew our commitment as individual Christians and as a church body to explore and work for ways that enable peace to prevail over violence and hatred in our world, and to seek God's direction in advancing our understanding of God's call to us to be peacemakers.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the 203rd Annual Meeting urges the churches of the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ to institute educational and action programs concerning the issues implicit in this resolution.