The following statement was adopted by the Council’s Governing Board at its September 10 meeting in Chapel Hill:
We are called by our faith to turn swords into plowshares. The NC Council of Churches, while made up of denominations and individuals who are pacifist and others who believe war can occasionally be justified, has always supported the peaceful resolution of conflicts, rather than violence. Those within the Council who would allow the use of violence do so only as a last resort.
Recognizing the moral anguish involved in such decisions, at this time of unimaginable suffering by the people of Syria, we urge our President and members of Congress to act through diplomatic and humanitarian channels to find a non-violent resolution to the crisis there.
While the use of chemical weapons in Syria is reprehensible and a violation of international law, the potential cost of military action – whether in retaliation or as deterrence – is tremendous. It is increasingly clear that the people of Syria have suffered mightily, especially at the hands of its government but also from those who would overthrow it, and they need not suffer more from an attack by the United States. Outside military involvement has the potential to further destabilize the region and radicalize those most damaged by Syria’s repressive regime.
We mourn for our sisters and brothers in Syria. The loss of so many innocents is unimaginable. We stand with all those nations which condemn the use of chemical weapons. We call on the leaders of our nation to expend every effort to resolve the ongoing violence in Syria not with more violence but with diplomacy and humanity, and we covenant to pray for President Obama and members of Congress during these deeply difficult days.
–Aleta Payne, Development and Communications