Churches, Activists Lobby Congress Against Ir

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Posted by Tony from ? ( on Thursday, October 10, 2002 at 3:41PM :

Published on Thursday, October 10, 2002 by the Associated Press
Churches, Activists Lobby
Congress Against Iraq War
by Siobhan McDonough

WASHINGTON - Religious leaders began another phase of an anti-war
lobbying effort on Capitol Hill Wednesday, urging Congress to explore
peaceful alternatives in its dealings with Iraq.

"I'm appalled by it all," said Frances Kane, 64, of Washington. "I can't
believe our country is seriously considering a pre-emptive strike without
international support."

Congress is
preparing to vote on
a resolution giving
the president broad
authority to use
military force to
dismantle Saddam
Hussein's weapons
of mass destruction.
On Capital Hill,
about 100 nuns, lay
people and other
Catholics dropped
off packets and held
meetings with
congressional staff,
outlining their
anti-war stance.

Others held silent
vigils outside
Senate and House

"Violence isn't the answer to anything," said Sister Mary Ann Smith, of
Ossining, N.Y, on her way to the office of Rep. Sue Kelly, R-N.Y. "War is
morally and ethically wrong."

While Wednesday's events were sponsored by various Catholic groups,
including the lobbying group, NETWORK, Leadership Conference of
Women Religious and Pax Christi, the National Council of Churches
made up of 36-member denominations also planned events for this

The groups oppose resolutions to authorize the use of U.S. armed forces
against Iraq. Instead, they're urging the United States to cooperate with the
United Nations Security Council in returning weapons inspectors to Iraq.

"What kind of a democracy do we have when people are saying 'no war,'
but representatives are about to vote for a war resolution?" said Andrea
Buffa, community organizer for Global Exchange, a human rights group in
San Francisco. "Congress isn't listening so people are coming to
Washington to make sure they're heard."

Global Exchange, along with Peace Action in Washington, D.C. and
American Friends Service Committee in Philadelphia, held a protest
Wednesday evening.

Chanting, "War on Iraq, we say no!" about 200 protesters held banners
with anti-war slogans and sounded off bells, drums and whistles outside
Senate office buildings.

"We don't need a war, we need the U.N. to take the lead, not the U.S.,"
said Phyllis Bennis of the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies.
"We are not better than the rest of the world. We don't have the right to say
we're above international law."

"I'm horrified our president would consider a pre-emptive strike as a way to
peace," said Sister Anne Marie Gardiner, 59, of Silver Spring, Md. "That's
outrageous. It's a corruption of what the U.S. has tried to stand for."

Copyright 2002 Associated Press



-- Tony
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