TV spot features bishop questioning war on Iraq
1/29/2003 News media contact: Linda Green · (615) 742-5470 · Nashville, Tenn
NOTE: A head-and-shoulders photo of Bishop Melvin Talbert is available at http://umns.umc.org/photos/headshots.html.
Tenn. (UMNS) - United Methodist Bishop Melvin Talbert, appearing in a
30-second commercial for cable television, asserts that an attack on
Iraq "violates God's law."
As the ecumenical officer for the
United Methodist Council of Bishops, Talbert's remarks questioning
Iraq's war policies are aimed at U.S. policymakers. The commercial is
expected to air later this week on CNN and Fox cable news in New York
and Washington and during CNN's "Larry King Live" program. Talbert
appears with actress and political activist Janeane Garafalo.
bishop says there is no need for an attack on Iraq and that the United
States has no authority to remove dictator Saddam Hussein from power.
"No nation under God has that right," Talbert says. "It violates
international law. It violates God's law and the teachings of Jesus
Sponsored by the National Council of Churches, the
commercial is one in a series developed by a group of religious and
civic groups questioning the need for war.
"Iraq hasn't wronged
us. War will only create more terrorists," Talbert says. The bishop has a
long history of advocacy for peace and the innocent victims of war. He
visited Iraq in 1991, before the Persian Gulf War, and more recently
participated in an ecumenical peace mission there. On that Dec. 29-Jan. 3
trip, he witnessed the impact that years of sanctions have had on
"I don't see that small nation as being the kind
of threat to our nation that the media portrays," he says. "War will
result in the suffering of masses of children, among others. And what
will happen to the rest of the Arab world? Waging war will remove the
influence of the more moderate element and put the future in the hands
of the more radical elements."
Further, he says, the Arab world
will associate U.S. military action with Christianity in general,
undermining ecumenical efforts like the peace mission, coordinated by
the National Council of Churches and hosted by the Middle East Council
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