'Win Without War' stages virtual march on Washington
NOTE: This report is a sidebar to UMNS story #107. A photograph is available.
Rev. Bob Edgar, a United Methodist who heads the U.S. National Council
of Churches, introduces some of ecumenical leaders who will sign a
3-foot-by-5-foot card objecting to a war with Iraq during a protest near
the U.S. Capitol. They are, from left to right, the Rev. Alan McDonald
of the Church of Scotland, Edgar, the Rev. Jean Arnold de Clermont of
the French Protestant Federation (partly behind Edgar) and Bishop
Manfred Kock of the Council of the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland
(Germany). A UMNS photo by Lionel Meyer. Photo number 03-65, Accompanies
UMNS #108, 2/27/03
No Long Caption Available for this Story
WASHINGTON (UMNS) - On the day President Bush
sought public support for war with Iraq on prime-time TV, U.S. citizens
staged a virtual march on the White House and Congress, and
international church leaders braved a snowstorm for a ceremonial signing
of a statement against the war.
Tens of thousands of phone
calls, e-mail messages and faxes were sent to the White House and Senate
offices Feb. 26 in a "virtual march" organized by Win Without War, a
coalition formed last year to coordinate and lead efforts to stop the
Bush administration's move toward war with Iraq.
War, which includes the National Council of Churches among its 32
participating organizations, said that more than a million calls and
faxes sent a clear message against invading and occupying Iraq. The
virtual march organizers also sent gift baskets to Senate staff, who
were kept busy handling calls and faxes.
"The outpouring of
support for tough inspections to disarm Saddam Hussein, and against an
invasion and occupation of Iraq, got through loud and clear," said
former Congressman Tom Andrews, national director of Win Without War.
"Well over 1 million phone calls were made in just eight hours by people
from every state in the country."
Many people who don't participate in demonstrations took the opportunity to "let their fingers do the marching," Andrews said.
international ecumenical leaders held a briefing for legislative aides
and the media, outlining their opposition to the war. They then met
briefly with U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) in the United
Methodist Building across the street. Afterward, they trooped outside,
where the U.S. Capitol provided the background - though nearly obscured
by blowing snow - for signing an oversized protest statement.
affirm that war against Iraq would be immoral, unwise and the cause of
untold suffering," the 3-foot-by-5-foot statement reads. "As
international religious leaders, it is our spiritual obligation,
grounded in God's love for all of humanity, to speak out against war in
The large card, to be delivered to the White House at a
later date, also contains a quote from Isaiah 2:4: "Nation shall not
lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
who took part in a brief ceremony and signed the document included Lee;
the Rev. Jean Arnold de Clermont, president of the French Protestant
Federation; Bishop Manfred Kock, Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland
(Germany); the Rev. Alan D. McDonald, an official of the Church of
Scotland and representative of the churches of the United Kingdom; and
Salpy Eskidjian, program executive for the World Council of Churches'
work on international affairs, peace and human security.
Robert Edgar, staff head of the U.S. National Council of Churches and
co-president of Win Without War, led the group in prayer before the
signing. The signers also included Jim Winkler, chief executive of the
United Methodist Board of Church and Society.