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Churches' Opposition to Syria Air Strikes

Wednesday December 2

A coalition of British churches, including the Church of Scotland, has cautioned against military action in Syria.

As Parliament debates launching air strikes against Islamic State (or Daesh) targets in the country, the Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) has warned that such action would lead to civilian casualties and ‘is unlikely to have a decisive role in defeating Daesh’.

Instead the JPIT, which brings together the Church of Scotland with the Methodist, United Reformed and Baptist churches in the UK, calls for ‘a comprehensive economic, diplomatic and security strategy that has the involvement of all partners in the region and the full support of the UN Security Council’.

It also calls for prayers for all who are suffering in the region after more than four years of conflict, and for member churches to challenge the ‘divisive rhetoric’ that creates tension between communities in the UK.

Yesterday (Tuesday) the Rev Sally Foster Fulton, Convener of the Church and Society Council, said that military action would mean greater loss of life and more refugees.

Ms Foster Fulton said: "The consequences of the conflict in Syria are horrendous.

"They are horrendous for the victims of atrocities in every part of the world including Paris, Mali, Beirut and Raqqa.

"Millions within Syria and the broader region have already been displaced – and many of those are turning up on the borders of Europe desperately seeking sanctuary from people perpetrating unspeakable evil.

"Others have been senselessly slaughtered.

"In the midst of such horror, there is a natural temptation to resort to military action.

"Our firm belief is that air strikes will not make things better, only worse – with the loss of more lives, more people displaced, more people living in great fear.

"We remain deeply concerned at the lack of a coherent long term strategy."

Read Sally Foster Fulton's comments here.

Read the full Joint Public Issues Team statement here.


Comments

Robert Thomson - Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

“The Church of Scotland has become the SNP at prayer: indulging unfortunately, in a rather sanctimonious and triumphalist way, in political posturing instead of focusing on the spiritual needs of the faithful.”


Rev Dr John Cameron - Friday, December 4th, 2015

“I have a son in our rapid response units and much to lose now we have gone over to the offensive against Daesh in Syria as I suspect his boots will soon be on the ground.

Amid all the posturing from the likes of Alex Salmond with no real stake in the unfolding events I take comfort in the words of the Enlightenment philosopher John Stuart Mill:

“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of morals and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight and nothing that he cares more about than his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.””


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