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51 Christian faith leaders urge Congress to vote for Iran Deal

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The following press release was sent out by the Friends Committee on National Legislation:

51 Christian leaders representing dozens of denominations and Christian organizations sent a letter to Congress today, urging lawmakers to vote in favor of the Vienna agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program.

The letter, signed by leaders from all the major streams of Christianity in the United States— Roman Catholic, evangelical, mainline Protestant and Orthodox, warns lawmakers that “rejection of this deal would be a rejection of the historic progress our diplomats have made to make this world a safer place.”

“Faith communities are mobilizing en masse to urge lawmakers to vote for the Iran deal, to support diplomacy as an effective foreign policy approach,” said Diane Randall, the Executive Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation. “When members of Congress cast their vote, we want them to know that Christians from diverse traditions will support a vote for peace over risking war.”

The signatories include leaders from diverse Christian denominations and include the support of various Baptist, Catholic, evangelical, Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopal, Orthodox, Mennonite, Quaker and Church of the Brethren organizations.

The full text of the letter and signers are listed below.

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.


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
Armenian Orthodox Church

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

Rev Julia Brown Karimu
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
Red Letter Christians/The Simple Way

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

Shan Cretin
General Secretary
American Friends Service Committee

Marie Dennis
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
Conference of Major Superiors of Men

Sr. Antoinette Guntzler, MM
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*
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
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ

Bishop W. Darin Moore
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

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

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

Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson
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
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
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

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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15 Responses

  1. CigarGod
    CigarGod on August 25, 2015, 10:54 am

    Rev. Schori, signed.

    • David Doppler
      David Doppler on August 25, 2015, 3:12 pm

      Yeah, I was glad to see that, given her opposition on the BDS front. It is good to see mainline Christianity (i.e., excluding Christian Zionists) becoming active on this issue. Out of a deep stupor, the ghost of mainline American culture past rises to protect the republic.

      Phil has long pined for and now celebrates a debate among American Jewry. I’d like to see a debate among American Christians, isolating Hagee, et al, for the unChristian warmongery they represent.

      On the political side, it will be interesting to see what impact 50 churches have on our elected officials.

      • CigarGod
        CigarGod on August 25, 2015, 3:58 pm

        Yes, a debate among Christian leaders would be nice. Between those that think the old bible is Christianity…and those who most often quote Christ.

      • JWalters
        JWalters on August 25, 2015, 8:27 pm

        “Out of a deep stupor, the ghost of mainline American culture past rises to protect the republic.”

        Great image!

        I agree on seeing a great debate between the two factions of American Christians, the reasonables and the crazies. Let’s put all the ignorance, irrationality, and outright lies in a glaring spotlight. At some point the pretend politeness needs to give way to very tough love.

      • RoHa
        RoHa on August 26, 2015, 6:16 am

        Umm, actually, some of us suspect that the crazies are American mainline culture.

      • CigarGod
        CigarGod on August 26, 2015, 9:40 am

        Around here they are crazy, and even the Dems are unable to see and challenge what they get from npr, rachel and others.
        1. Hate makes humans feel good. It is addictive.
        2. Humans won’t leave their lily pad unless they can jump to another one without getting wet.

  2. Citizen
    Citizen on August 25, 2015, 12:51 pm

    Meanwhile this American Jew agonizes over Real Jew litmus test in USA re who’s really looking out for the Jews, discussing the split in Jewish community about US rubber-stamping of Israel without mentioning 98% of Goy US
    Did Phil Weiss ghost write this article?

    • annie
      annie on August 25, 2015, 2:57 pm

      without mentioning 98% of Goy US

      actually she does reference pro palestinian activist in general a few times.

      Those on the left in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (and in its satellite conflict in the U.S.) are all too familiar with litmus tests. We see examples of these markers of belonging and threats of exclusion everywhere we look……

      In the Bay Area, grantees of the San Francisco Jewish Federation may not hold public events with organizations — Jewish or not — that consider Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) a legitimate movement…..

      ….The examples of these litmus tests used by the holders of power to silence and control Palestinians and activists on the left are easy to find. We could keep sharing them for a long time, in part because there are just so many of them. But it’s also easy for us to talk about these examples because, as with anything that is easy to talk about, they affirm our understanding of who we are. It is much more difficult to look at the litmus tests we are asking others to pass.

      that’s a couple examples. here’s another:

      you could argue that every community must have litmus tests, that they are an essential tool for creating boundaries without which communities would not exist. What marks the difference of course is who has the guns. The litmus tests that are most dangerous are the ones backed by the most force. So we might decide to forgive the litmus tests of the left.

      But there’s a problem here: we hope that the movements for freedom we are building now will define the realities of the future. If the only difference between the two kinds of tests is the mechanism of power that lies behind them, the only reason the litmus tests of the left aren’t dangerous yet is because we don’t have power yet. But we want that to change, and when it does, we don’t want to have built a reality based on tests; we don’t want to have built a reality that looks anything like the one we were trying to fight.

      I don’t think all views in a movement can be held. A movement is a movement because it has defined edges. But the edges should always be moving, and we should always be holding them under a microscope and asking of ourselves and of each other, but what if we’re wrong?


  3. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson on August 25, 2015, 1:50 pm

    RE: “51 Christian faith leaders urge Congress to vote for Iran Deal”

    BUT . . . BUT . . . BUT:
    John Hagee Says ‘God Will Allow Terrorists To Attack The United States Because Of Iran Nuclear Deal (Published on Aug 12, 2015)

    • Kay24
      Kay24 on August 25, 2015, 4:37 pm

      And then we have our American crazies, who still think the zionists will allow a Christian Jew to come through Ben Gurion, or through their check points, and live over there, without harassment, or discrimination. They will also want to silence him when he questions them about churches being burnt, attacked, or sprayed with graffiti. Hague is one nut who should go and live with the taliban.

  4. ckg
    ckg on August 25, 2015, 2:53 pm

    I see that leaders of almost all the large major mainline Protestant denominations have signed, but unfortunately I do not think the few evangelical leaders who signed represent significantly large or influential organizations. (The American Baptist Churches, whose General Secretary signed, are considered mainline.)

    • MHughes976
      MHughes976 on August 26, 2015, 10:45 am

      There still seems to be some ambiguity about whether they are expressing the policy of their organisations or their personal views. I’m pretty sure that few Evangelicals share these views. The Catholic signatories seem on the whole to be rather marginal in their chuch – Mayknoll and suchlike honourable but hardly typical people – no bishops.

  5. straightline
    straightline on August 25, 2015, 4:11 pm

    I’ve been musing recently on the parallels between the role of religious authorities of various kinds in Israel and the US re policiies of the State of Israel, and that of the Dutch Reformed Church (Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk – NGK) in South Africa under Apartheid. These three citations tell the story of the latter:

    The message ought to be clear.

  6. Kay24
    Kay24 on August 25, 2015, 4:29 pm

    From the many signed letters from various organization, Rabbis, nuclear scientists, ex and present military officials, even American Jews, it seems Netanyahu, Israel, and their faithful servants here, are the only people against this deal. Netanyahu has tried cartoon bombs, doomsday scenarios, how poor little Israel has become suddenly vulnerable, negative ads, and even used various references to the holocaust, to instill fear, make American Jews feel guilty, questioned their loyalty, and has divided this country.

    It should make many Americans become aware of the sick influence that piddling of a nation has over us. I hope more American institutions, religious groups, military officials, and others will also support this deal. We certainly don’t need another war, especially to please a war monger and his nation.

  7. Kay24
    Kay24 on August 25, 2015, 5:26 pm

    What do you know, Chris Christie tells Cory Booker to not support the Iran deal.
    Chris Christie does not speak for me or for “all” the people of NJ.
    Some people are desperate to become President, and they will even support war mongers to do so. So he thinks war is moral!!

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