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Beyond 11 September: Implications for US Churches and the World

05 August 2002

Message to the WCC Central Committee from participants in the meeting convened by the WCC in consultation with the NCCCUSA and CWS in Washington, D.C., 5-6 August 2002.

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 US 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, US 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)