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Thread: Bishops Want To Apologize For Iraq War

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Bishops Want To Apologize For Iraq War

    Bishops want to apologise for Iraq war,00.html

    By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

    BISHOPS of the Church of England want all Britain’s Christian leaders to get together in public to say sorry for the war in Iraq and its aftermath.

    The bishops say that the Government is not likely to show remorse so the churches should. They want to organise a major gathering with senior figures from the Muslim community to make a “public act of repentance”.

    The bishops admit that their suggestion is provocative and bound to attract massive criticism, but insist it is not “a cheap gesture”. Their renewed condemnation of Britain’s role in Iraq since the 2003 invasion will further widen the rift with Downing Street.

    The proposal for a public apology comes in a new report published today. In the report, the bishops plead for more “understanding” of what motivates terrorists. They criticise Western democracies as “deeply flawed” and accuse the US of dangerous expansionism.

    The bishops, who strongly opposed the war in Iraq, want Christian leaders to express their repentance in an “act of truth and reconciliation” for the West’s contribution to the problems in Iraq.

    The bishops cite as precedents the official statements by the Vatican expressing sorrow for the Christian persecution of the Jewish people throughout the ages, the repentance by the Anglican Church in Japan for its complicity in Japanese aggression during the Second World War and the regret expressed by leaders of the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa for their theological and political backing of apartheid.

    The bishops cite a “long litany” of errors in the West’s handling of Iraq, including its past support for Saddam Hussein, its willingness to sell him weapons and the suffering caused to the Iraqi people by sanctions.

    However, the bishops acknowledge that it would be “irresponsible” to withdraw British troops in the current chaos, adding that the forces should remain until there is a secure Iraqi regime in place.

    In the report, Countering Terrorism, Power, Violence and Democracy Post 9/11, the bishops acknowledge the impact of the July London bombings.

    The Bishop of Oxford, the Right Reverend Richard Harries, one of the authors, concedes that all governments have a “proper responsibility” to take the steps necessary to safeguard their citizens.

    But he says that the steps should not “infringe hard-won civil liberties”.

    Bishop Harries, the Church’s leading apologist for the Christian just-war theory, says: “The Churches have a particular message here based on biblical insights about fear and how playing on the fears of enemies makes for unwise policies.” He goes on to argue that to many people, it is not terrorism but American foreign policy and expansionism that constitute “the major threat to peace”.

    He says: “We suggest that the United States, like all major powers in history, does indeed seek to expand its economic, political and military influence and power. What distinguishes it from many other empires in history is its strong sense of moral righteousness. In this there is both sincere conviction and dangerous illusion.”

    He is also critical of the power of the so-called Christian Right on Washington’s policies. The bishops question the US sense of “moral righteousness” and criticise the use of biblical texts by some in the US to support a political agenda in the Middle East. The bishops say: “There is no uniquely righteous nation.”

    Drawing up a 13-point schedule of “Christian principles” in response to the terror crisis, they call for states to “understand” the perspective of their terrorist antagonists.

    “Winning hearts and minds is absolutely fundamental in countering terrorism,” they say. States must address the “long-standing grievances” of the terrorists and even, perhaps, offer them economic support.

    They go on to condemn the Western style of democracy, saying that it cannot be imposed on any other country by force. “Democracy as we have it in the West at the moment is deeply flawed and its serious shortcomings need to be addressed,” state the bishops, members of the only unelected house in the Church’s own governing democratic body, the General Synod. Even using the term “war on terrorism” is, like the war on drugs of the 1980s, a piece of “dangerous rhetoric”.

    The 100-page report states: “Religion is now a major player on the public stage of the world in a way that few foresaw two decades ago. We believe that the Churches have an important role to play, not simply in urging the importance and applicability of Christian principles, but in a proper awareness of the role of religion, for good as well as ill, and initiatives it might take towards reconciliation between adversaries.”

    The bishops plead for understanding of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “The public and political rhetoric that Iran is a rogue regime, an outpost of tyranny, is as fallacious as the Iranian description of the US as the Great Satan. Iran’s relationship with Islamic terrorist organisations should not be seen as proof of any al-Qaeda link.”
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #2
    PhilosophyGenius Guest
    If Bishops had said this during, or before the Iraq war, it would have been a bigger scandal than the sex abuse thing. Which is sad.

    They would have really been in trouble.

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