|Church leader urges action on U.S. war spending bill|
Jim Winkler is urging United Methodists in the United States to
contact their representatives about the war spending bill making its way
through Congress. A UMNS photo by Jay Mallin.
A UMNS Report
By Kathy L. Gilbert*
March 14, 2007
The next 48 hours could be crucial in stopping the United States from
rushing into military action against Iran, said a United Methodist
On March 13, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stripped a provision in
the $123 billion supplemental funding bill for the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan that would require congressional approval before a new war
could be launched against Iran.
Jim Winkler, top executive of the United Methodist Board of Church
and Society, urged United Methodists in the United States to call their
representatives now to ask the language be reinserted. He said the first
vote could come as soon as March 15 in the House Appropriations
House leadership had attached the provision last week in an effort to
require the administration to make a full, public explanation of the
need for war and gain congressional approval before expanding military
operations in Iran.
U.S. religious leaders meet with Ayatollah Kashani in Tehran during
their February peace trip to Iran. A UMNS Web-only file photo by Mark
Democrats dropped the provision, however, in an effort to draw votes
for the war spending bill that also would require withdrawing U.S.
troops from Iraq by Sept. 1, 2008. According to news reports, Pelosi
struck a compromise between liberals who oppose any funding for the
Middle East military effort and conservatives who do not want to
restrict the president’s ability to use force when needed.
The overall bill would appropriate $95.5 billion for emergency wartime supplemental spending.
Winkler said the provision is necessary to ensure the United States
does not rush into a war with Iran. Political tensions are high between
the two nations over Iran’s nuclear program, among other things, and
there have been no formal diplomatic relations between the two countries
"Members of Congress from both major political parties are concerned
that, given the administration’s track record leading up to the Iraq
war, President Bush will authorize military action against Iran," he
Winkler was part of a 13-member delegation of U.S. religious leaders
that visited Iran Feb. 17-25. The group, which included Episcopal,
Catholic, Baptist, Evangelical, Quaker and Mennonite traditions,
released a statement on the trip during a Feb. 26 news conference in
"As Christian leaders from the United States, we traveled to the
Islamic Republic of Iran at this time of increased tension, believing
that it is possible to build bridges of understanding between our two
countries. We believe military action is not the answer, and that God
calls us to just and peaceful relationships within the global
community," said the statement.
"The Iranians don't want war,” Winkler said after returning from the
trip. “Every political and religious leader we met with said Islam
forbids the possession or development or use of weapons of mass
destruction of any kind including nuclear weapons."
*Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.
News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or email@example.com.
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From September-October 2006 Interpreter: Peacemaking Takes Many Forms
From March-April 2007 Interpreter: Churches Can Support Troops, Families
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