Disciples News Service

Christian leaders speak on Iran agreement

Letter from the General Minister and President to President Obama on behalf of the General Assembly in response to GA-1540 Support for Agreement with Iran

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Christian leaders from National Council of Churches distribute letter to Congress

Date: August 25, 2015
Contact: Kate Gould, Friends Committee on National Legislation: Kate@fcnl.org
Steven D. Martin, National Council of Churches: steven.martin@nationalcouncilofchurches.us, 202-412-4323

The following letter, signed by over 50 national Christian faith leaders, will be distributed among members of Congress today:

Christian Leaders Urge Congress to Vote for Diplomatic Agreement with Iran

Dear Member of Congress:

As Christian leaders in the United States, we are writing to urge you to vote in support of the negotiated settlement over Iran’s nuclear program. We live by God’s call to “seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14). After decades of hostility, the international community has crafted a nuclear accord to limit Iran’s nuclear program and prevent the United States from moving closer toward another devastating war in the Middle East.

The July 2015 diplomatic agreement with Iran will dramatically shrink and impose unprecedented constraints on Iran’s nuclear program. In exchange, the international community will begin to lift sanctions on Iran. It also establishes the most robust monitoring and inspection regime ever negotiated to verify Iran’s compliance with the restrictions on its nuclear program.

As Christians, we feel called to speak out for the possibility of peace. As faith leaders from the only country that has ever used nuclear weapons in war, we have a particular responsibility to speak boldly when opportunities arise that lead to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation at home and around the world. This historic accord moves us one small step closer to a world free of nuclear weapons.

This agreement helps de-escalate tension in a region that is already suffering the effects of war and violence in ways unimaginable to most of us in the United States. It is also a testament to the effectiveness of diplomacy to take countries from the brink of war and resolve concerns peacefully.

This is a moment to remember the wisdom of Jesus who proclaimed from the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9).This agreement moves us further away from the possibility of war and another nuclear-armed nation. There is no question we are all better off with this deal than without it. Rejection of this deal would be a rejection of the historic progress our diplomats have made to make this world a safer place.

The stakes on this matter have never been higher. That is why more than forty national organizations, including more than a dozen faith-based groups, wrote a letter earlier this year urging lawmakers to vote in support of this deal. The groups noted that this “will be among the most consequential national security votes taken by Congress since the decision to authorize the invasion of Iraq.”

As people of faith, we urge you to support the international agreement with Iran and reject legislation to undermine the deal. We will be praying for you.

Blessings,

Paul Nathan Alexander, PhD 
Director, The Sider Center
President, Evangelicals for Social Action

Rev. Donald H Ashmall 
Council Minister
International Council of Community Churches

Archbishop Vicken Aykazian 
Legate
Armenian Orthodox Church

Bishop Warner H. Brown 
President, The Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church

Rev Julia Brown Karimu 
Co-Executive
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ

J Ron Byler 
Executive Director
Mennonite Central Committee

Sister Patricia Chappell 
Executive Director
Pax Christi USA

Simone Campbell, SSS 
Executive Director
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

Patrick Carolan 
Executive Director
Franciscan Action Network

Shane Claiborne 
Founder
The Simple Way/Red Letter Christians

Rev. Paula Clayton Dempsey 
Director of Partnership Relations
Alliance of Baptists

Shan Cretin 
General Secretary
American Friends Service Committee

Marie Dennis 
Co-President
Pax Christi International

Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer 
General Minister and President
United Church of Christ

Rev. Thomas De Vries 
General Secretary
Reformed Church in America

Adam Estle
Executive Director
Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding

Rev. Raymond Finch, MM 
Superior General
Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers

Very Rev. Jim Greenfield OSFS 
President
Conference of Major Superiors of Men

Sr. Antoinette Guntzler, MM 
President
Maryknoll Sisters

John Hartley* 
Executive Director
Pathways for Mutual Respect

Nathan Hosler
Director, Office of Public Witness
Church of the Brethren

Jon Huckins* 
Co-Founding Director
The Global Immersion Project

Dr. Joel C. Hunter* 
Senior Pastor
Northland A Church Distributed

Rev. Linda Jaramillo 
Executive Minister
Justice and Witness Ministries, United Church of Christ

The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori 
President Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

Francis E. Kreps 
Presiding Bishop Elect
Ecumenical Catholic Communion

Rev. Carlos Malave*
Executive Director
Christian Churches Together

Ed Martin*
Director
Center for Interfaith Engagement
Eastern Mennonite University

Rev. John L. McCullough 
President and CEO
Church World Service

Sister Patricia McDermott RSM 
President Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

Rev. Dr. Roy Medley 
General Secretary
American Baptist Churches USA

Rev. Dr James Moos 
Co-Executive
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ

Bishop W. Darin Moore 
Bishop
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

Very Rev. Kevin Mullen, OFM 
Provincial Superior, Holy Name Province
Franciscans

Rev. Timothy Mulroy, SSC 
U.S. Regional Director
Missionary Society of St. Columban

Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson 
Director
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness

Stanley J. Noffsinger 
General Secretary
Church of the Brethren

Rev. Grayde Parsons 
Stated Clerk
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Diane Randall 
Executive Secretary
Friends Committee on National Legislation

Fred Rotondaro 
Chairman
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good

Colin Saxton *
General Secretary
Friends United Meeting

Stephen Schneck 
Director, Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies
Catholic University of America

Rev. Dr. Stephen J. Sidorak 
Ecumenical Staff Officer
The United Methodist Church

Sam Stanton
President
Maryknoll Lay Missioners

Joan Marie Stedman, CSC 
Executive Director
Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Rev. Kristin Stoneking 
Executive Director
Fellowship of Reconciliation

Bishop Mary Ann Swenson
Ecumenical Officer of the Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church

Bishop Geevarghese Mar Theodosius
Diocesan Bishop
Mar Thoma Church

Jim Wallis 
President and Founder
Sojourners

Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins 
General Minister and President
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Jim Winkler 
President and General Secretary
National Council of Churches

* Affiliation listed for identification purposes only

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Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the United States. The NCC’s 37 member communions — from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace churches — include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.

NCC News contact: Steven D. Martin: 202-544-2350 ext 231 (o), 202-412-4323 (c) steven.martin@nationalcouncilofchurches.us