Quaker statement on Iraq
Source Becky Vanderslice
Date 03/03/21/15:11

Statement from Leaders of Friends Organizations in the U.S.

Regarding the War in Iraq

March 20, 2003

As servants of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), as citizens of

the United States, and as members of the human family, we speak today to

express our profound grief and sorrow over our government's decision to go

to war against Iraq. This is a choice we know will have enormous and tragic

consequences - many as yet unimagined - for the Iraqi people, for our own

nation, and for the world. It is a choice we believe was unnecessary,

immoral and unwise, especially since it was taken before all the nonviolent

and diplomatic alternatives were exhausted; indeed, before some were even


The God we worship is a God of love (I John: 4). This Divine Spirit will

always guide us into "paths of righteousness" - into lives of caring for,

service to, and reconciliation with our fellow human beings - if only we

will open ourselves to Divine direction and follow where that leads.

 This God tells "what is good, and that is to do justice, and love mercy, and
 walk humbly with our God" (Micah 6:8). The living Christ, our Teacher, tells
 us "to love our enemies" (Mt. 6:44).

We wonder where the justice, the mercy, or

the love is to be found in our government's decision to launch this

preemptive attack, and begin a war where so many people will die.

We are deeply saddened by the pain and suffering, the destruction and loss

of life, and the grief that this war will bring to the Iraqi people. We are

deeply saddened as well by the pain and suffering, the loss of life, and the

grief that will be experienced by our soldiers, their families, and the

many, many others who will be victims of this war. All these people -

Iraqis, American, British and others - are children of God. We pray for God's

mercy on us all.

If this war goes swiftly, and the military objectives of our government are

achieved, some will call it a success. But that can never be true.

This war, like every war, represents a profound failure. It shows the failure

of individuals and governments to address conditions of poverty, injustice,

and oppression that lead to war. It shows our failure as human beings to

overcome our own fears and greed, which we are told in Scripture are the

root causes of war and strife (James 4:1-2). It shows a failure of will and

creativity among those in our own government and others to seek alternatives

to military force to resolve our conflicts. Finally, it represents a tragic

failure to work through and respect the United Nations as the keystone of an

evolving international system of law and diplomacy that can respond to

international crises and avert war.

On this day, in our sorrow and our hope for a better future, we recommit

ourselves to work with all people of faith and goodwill to bring this

conflict to an end, and to do whatever can be done to avoid more wars.

We believe, as President Carter observed in accepting the Nobel Peace

Prize, that "war is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to

live together in peace by killing each other's children." And we pray

fervently for that time the prophet Isaiah predicted, when we "shall beat our

swords into plowshares, and our spears into pruning hooks; and nation will

not lift up sword against nation, and we shall not learn war anymore"

(Is. 2:4).


Mary Ellen McNish, General Secretary, American Friends Service Committee

Joe Volk, Executive Secretary, Friends Committee on National Legislation

Bruce Birchard, General Secretary, Friends General Conference

Ben Richmond, Director of North American Ministries, Friends United Meeting

Steve Baumgartner, Executive Director, Pendle Hill

Thomas Jeavons, General Secretary, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting

Peter Lems

American Friends Service Committee

1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia PA 19102

Tel: 215/241-7170  /  Fax:215/241-7177

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