Tag Archives: Marie Dennis

SPECIAL EVENT: Leaders from Pax Christi International to speak in MD on September 23

from St. Rose of Lima Pax Christi (MD)

pcilogonewPlease come and join us for a special evening of “Pax Christi Around the World” and hear about Catholic peacemaking efforts all over the world. Join us on Tuesday, September 23rd at 7:30pm at St. Rose of Lima Church, 11701 Clopper Road, Gaithersburg, MD. ALL ARE WELCOME!

“Pax Christi Around the World” features presentations by Pax Christi International Co-Presidents Marie Dennis and Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenberg, South Africa, along with Secretary General Jose Henriquez of El Salvador. This will be their only public appearance in the DC area!

There will be opportunities to ask questions and discuss what is being done by Catholic peacemakers in many of the world’s conflict areas, as well as the need to increase these efforts in an ever more armed world. As U.S. Catholics, we have a special duty to work for peace in the world. Learn how this call is being carried out by others and how you too can join in this effort.

Hosted by the St. Rose of Lima Pax Christi group and co-sponsored by Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore and the St. Francis of Assisi Pax Christi group (Derwood, MD). Light Refreshments will be served. For more information (or to request transportation to and from the Shady Grove Metro Station), please contact Bob Cooke at (301) 661-0449 or cookerh1251@gmail.com.

A free will offering for the work of Pax Christi USA will be taken up
that evening.

Click here to see a flyer about the event.

IRAQ: Urgent need for regional political solutions

Marie Dennisby Marie Dennis
Pax Christi International Co-President

As the progression of violence in already-violent Iraq commanded the attention of the world, Pope Francis joined the call to prayer and expressed his hope for “security and peace and a future of reconciliation and justice where all Iraqis, whatever their religious affiliation, will be able together to build up their country, making a model of coexistence.” IraqCrisis-smallChaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, who lives in Baghdad, called for a day of “fasting and prayer for the restoration of security and stability in Iraq,” and insisted that “the best solution to all these problems is the creation of a government of national unity” to strengthen “the rule of law.”

Given the history and consequences of U.S. interventions in Iraq, U.S. faith communities and peace groups spoke out quickly and clearly:

Pax Christi USA wrote: “In response to the recent unrest in Iraq and the possibility of the crisis continuing to spread, Pax Christi USA is unequivocal in its assertion that U.S. military intervention will not achieve the peace and stability that the people of Iraq deserve. A military solution—whether it include air strikes or ground troops or an increase in the flow of weapons into Iraq—will only serve to increase the suffering of the Iraqi people, not alleviate it. Furthermore, military intervention increases the risk of widening the conflict in the region. [We call] for a fully inclusive international diplomatic process to address this crisis. The crisis … is regional in nature and requires a multi-lateral diplomatic response initiated by the United Nations and including regional authorities like the Arab League. The hope for a peaceful solution lies in an effort which addresses the political concerns of all the major factions in the region. We believe that the unfolding tragedy in Iraq is a direct, if unintended, consequence of the U.S. invasion and occupation of that country…”

Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, IA, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace, wrote in a letter to U.S. National Security Advisor Ambassador Susan E. Rice, “Our nation bears a special responsibility toward the people of Iraq. The U.S.-led invasion and occupation unleashed both sectarian conflicts and extremism in Iraq, two tragic unintended consequences that have profound and continuing repercussions for the people of Iraq … It is appropriate that the administration is urging political leaders in Iraq to form an inclusive government. … It is critical that all ethnic and religious groups are represented at the table of governance so that the common good of all is served. Extremists have been exploiting the divisions born of exclusion and the weakening of the rule of law. In addition to seeking a political solution in Iraq, it is critical to do so in Syria. The U.S. should work with the international community … and all responsible parties in Syria … to obtain a ceasefire, initiate serious negotiations, provide impartial humanitarian assistance, and encourage efforts to build an inclusive society in Syria.”…

Click here to read the entire article.

INTERVIEW: Franciscan Mission Service interviews Marie Dennis, Co-President of PC International

from Franciscan Mission Service

Marie Dennis has several ties to Franciscan Mission Service, including past involvement with Maryknoll organizations and current involvement with Pax Christi International. In 2007, we presented her with the Anselm Moons Award. She also was a Souposium speaker and facilitated our returned missioner retreat in 2013. In this installment of our Lenten series, “Poor and Free: A Spiritual Yes to Less”, Marie addresses the nuances and complexities of responding to social injustices with generosity and joy.

Franciscan Mission Service: Your work has called into question the ethics of just-war theory. In free-market capitalist democracy, how is it possible for Christians to translate spiritual poverty into public policy?

Pax Christi International Co-President meets with Pope Francis in October at the Vatican.

Pax Christi International Co-President  Marie Dennis meets Pope Francis in October at the Vatican.

Marie Dennis: Actually, I believe that spiritual poverty (Blessed are the poor in spirit …) is much more challenging than we are led to believe. Spiritual poverty moves us beyond “detachment” from the material possessions that we continue to accumulate toward real simplicity of lifestyle and – most importantly – into relationship with those who are impoverished in order to interpret reality from their perspective.

From that vantage point, we can begin to evaluate laws or public policy proposals and business or consumer practices by how they affect people who are poor and we can work with impoverished people to change the structures and transform the systems that create or perpetuate poverty…

Read the entire interview by clicking here.

ON THE LINE: November edition features retreats, trials, vigils and more!

Compiled by Johnny Zokovitch

Each month, “On The Line” features news items and announcements from around the nation featuring Pax Christi members, local groups, regions and partners. These are gleaned from articles in local newspapers, websites, magazines, and elsewhere.

PAX CHRISTI MICHIGAN HOLDS 19TH ANNUAL STATE RETREAT: (by Carol Jachim) “As Pax Christi people we stand for peace and nonviolence. Simplistically, against war and weapons. Yet, there are different levels of violence besides use and manufacture of guns and other weapons to denounce, that perhaps one hasn’t thought about. Pollution is one form of violence and the damage it does to our earth’s waters – lakes, oceans, streams, rivers, etc., besides the water used for drinking, bathing and  recreation. The 19th Annual PC-Michigan Retreat focused on refreshing oneself … and that we did with the presence of wonderful people who truly care about each other, about promoting peace and nonviolence, and demonstrating a commitment to nonviolent ways in our lives.”… Read more at http://paxchristimi.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/19th-annual-pax-christi-michigan-retreat-october-18-20-2013/

Pax Christi Tallahassee members gather in front of the Florida Governor’s mansion to pray during an execution.

Pax Christi Tallahassee (FL) members gather in front of the Florida Governor’s mansion to pray during an execution.

PAX CHRISTI MASSACHUSETTS WRITES CARDINAL ABOUT MILITARY ARCHDIOCESE COLLECTION: “We, as members of Pax Christi MA, are writing to you today because of the distress we feel after hearing of the ‘Collection for the Archdiocese for the Military Services’ scheduled this coming weekend, prior to Veterans Day. Our understanding is that the Boston Archdiocese will not participate in this initial collection, and for that we are grateful. We hope that it indicates a desire to reflect on the implications of such an endeavor. However, the greater issue beyond this particular collection concerns what appears to be the militarization of the Catholic Christian conscience through the oxymoronic conflation of Christian and nationalistic values. Beginning with the poster intended to promote the collection, of young men in battle dress gathered in front of the Eucharistic table presided over by a military chaplain, we are led to believe that there is no inherent contradiction between the celebration of the Eucharist and what these young people may be called on to do, perhaps only minutes after the completion of the mass. (Note that a helicopter hovers nearby, suggesting urgency).”… For a copy of the entire letter, contact Pat Ferrone at patferrone@rcn.com.

Pax Christi International Co-President meets with Pope Francis in October at the Vatican.

Pax Christi International Co-President Marie Dennis meets with Pope Francis in October at the Vatican.

PAX CHRISTI MAINE ASKS POST TO RENOUNCE THE DOCTRINE OF DISCOVERY: (From the Bangor Daily News) “Pax Christi Maine on Sunday passed a resolution urging the group’s national and international organization to call on Pope Francis to renounce the Doctrine of Discovery. Last year, the World Council of Churches endorsed a similar resolution that began with the Episcopal Diocese of Maine. In March, the Onondaga Nation called on the pope to renounce the doctrine. The Doctrine of Discovery was used to justify the subjugation of aboriginal people in the Americas and the dispossession of their lands by European sovereigns all over the world, Marilyn Roper, a member of the Houlton chapter of Pax Christi, said Thursday. Pax Christi Maine ‘renounces the Doctrine of Discovery formulated in the papal bulls of the 15th century which legitimized the subjugation by Christian, European monarchs of indigenous peoples in North American and other parts of the glove, and the usurpation of their lands on the basis of their being non-Christian and ‘barbarous.’”… Read more at http://bangordailynews.com/2013/10/31/religion/pax-christi-maine-asks-pope-francis-to-renounces-doctrine-of-discovery/

Blue Water Pax Christi will be putting up this billboard for the Christmas season. If you’re interested in doing the same in your community and want to know how, contact Michael McCarthy at mccpax@comcast.net.

Blue Water Pax Christi (MI) will be putting up this billboard for the Christmas season. If you’re interested in doing the same in your community and want to know how, contact Michael McCarthy at mccpax@comcast.net.

PAX CHRISTI PHOENIX (AZ) WITNESSES FOR ABOLITION OF DEATH PENALTY: (From Margaret McChesney) “Arizonans allowed the State to execute two men in the month of October. On the 9th, Edward Schad was killed for the murder of Lorimar Groves in 1978. Mr. Schad, 71 at the time of his death, was the oldest person on Arizona’s Death Row and its 2nd longest resident, having spent 33 years awaiting death. On October 23rd, Robert Jones was killed for the murder of 6 persons, which occurred during two different robberies in the summer of 1996. Pax Christi-Phoenix members attend the Clemency Hearing for each person scheduled for execution. A vigil is held on the eve of each execution where prayers are offered for the victims and their loved ones, the person accused of the crime and their family/friends, and for all participants in the execution process (attorneys, judges, juries, clemency boards, wardens, guards, clinicians). On the day and time of execution, members witness for abolition of the death penalty at the entrance to the prison. Those members, and other people from the community, who cannot make it to Florence, pause to offer their prayers in unity with all concerned on the morning of the execution. In December, PC-Phoenix will partner with the Franciscan Renewal Center in showing the film ‘Unlikely Friends: Total Strangers, Brutal Crimes’ – which documents victims of brutal crimes who, through forgiveness, unexpectedly become friends with their perpetrators (see:  http://www.chancefilmsinc.com/our-films/unlikely-friends). PC-Phoenix meets monthly at the Franciscan Renewal Center.” For more information, please contact Margaret McChesney, marventura1@aol.com.

PC-Phoenix members in front of the State Capitol during an execution.

PC-Phoenix members in front of the State Capitol during an execution.

GROUND THE DRONES DEFENDANTS FOUND NOT GUILTY! (from Waging Nonviolence) “A crowd of over 50 people in New York’s DeWitt Town Court broke out into cheers at 10 p.m. yesterday when Judge Robert Jokl issued a not guilty verdict for five members of the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars. The five pro se defendants — including Ellen Grady, Bill Streit (PCUSA member), Carmen Trotta, Fr. Bill Pickard (PCUSA member) and Linda Latendre — were on trial for disorderly conduct, stemming from a symbolic blockade of the National Guard 174th Attack Wing at Hancock Airfield in Syracuse, N.Y., earlier this year. The defendants’ action took place on February 13, 2013 — Ash Wednesday — when together they stood in the driveway to the air base holding signs that described drone activities and the murdering of children around the globe. During the action, Latendre read a statement that said, ‘We come to Hancock Airfield this Ash Wednesday to repent for the actions of our government and to ask God’s forgiveness and the forgiveness of the people we daily terrorize with these drones.’” Read more at http://wagingnonviolence.org/2013/10/ground-drones-members-found-guilty/

Upcoming or Ongoing Events:    

Nov. 17 – United Prayers for World Peace, with Pax Christi Memphis, 4-6pm, Memphis, TN. Contact Janice Vanderahaar at gvanderh@earthlink.net for more info.

Nov. 17 – Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore’s Peacemaker of the Year Mass and Award Dinner, honoring Michael Walli with former PCUSA Executive Director Dave Robinson as keynote speaker. For more information: http://www.paxchristimetrodc.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/2013-poy-flyer.pdf

Nov. 23 – A Faithful Budget: Creating a Federal Budget that puts “the least of these” first, 1:30 pm at First United Church of Oak Park, 848 Lake Street, 60301. Co-sponsored by Pax Christi Illinois. For more information, contact Nancy Oetter at 630-904-3859 or nloetter@comcast.net.  


Tiffin Area Pax Christi (OH) sponsored a talk by PCUSA Teacher of Peace Kathy KellyPax Christi Southeastern South Dakota held a “Take Back the Site” vigil following the death of Minnesota Viking’s star Adrian Peterson’s son in October … Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace Tom Cordaro writes on “The Lord Hears the Cry of the Poor”Pax Christi Caspar (WY) hosts a monthly film series, “Matters in Question” … Read Pax Christi Pacific NW member Fr. Bill Bichsel SJ’s article on his trip to Jeju Island … Pax Christi Santa Fe member Bud Ryan had a comment published on the NY Times website this past summer … Pax Christi International’s November 2013 newsletter is online … See more local and regional updates in the Summer 2013 edition of The Peace Current

ON THE LINE: October edition features Syria actions, Muslim-Christian dialogue, anti-racism work and more!

Compiled by Johnny Zokovitch

Each month, “On The Line” features news items and announcements from around the nation featuring Pax Christi members, local groups, regions and partners. These are gleaned from articles in local newspapers, websites, magazines, and elsewhere.

PAX CHRISTI INCARNATE WORLD HIGH SCHOOL, PC SAN ANTONIO BRING MUSLIMS AND CHRISTIANS TOGETHER: “Twenty-one Muslim and Christian groups partnered to have an evening ‘In the Footprints of Francis and The Sultan: A Model for Peacemaking,’ September 13, 2013. About 350 people gathered at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church and then about 150 more people joined the group in the second half of the program at the Muslim Children Education and Civic Center. The program began with the film, ‘In the Footprints of Francis and the Sultan,’ which shares a little-known story of the Fifth Crusade in 1219. St. Francis of Assisi and Sultan Malek Al-Kamil engaged in dialogue which eventually led to peace. Their example is an invitation to join in respectful dialogues with people of different faiths and cultures… Student leaders in Pax Christi at Incarnate Word High School, who worked hard hosting the event, spoke of the joy of building bridges in this way. Karen Ball, the president of the San Antonio Pax Christi organization and a member of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church worked with their pastor Father Larry Christian and staff Sister Rose Kruppa, and Mike Portele to provide space when the number of attendees more than tripled… Read more about the event at http://www.uiw.edu/interfaithservice/

pc san antonio muslims and christians

Muslims and Christians at the Muslim Children Education and Civic Center in San Antonio explore ideas of compassion, listening, and peacemaking. Pax Christi at the Incarnate Word High School and Pax Christi San Antonio organized the events.

PCUSA TEACHER OF PEACE KATHY KELLY TO SPEAK IN OHIO: (from The News-Messenger) “International activist Kathy Kelly will speak at 7 p.m. Oct. 25 at St. Bernardine Home on the campus of Our Lady of the Pines, 1220 Tiffin St. Her topic will be ‘Reflections on Warfare in Afghanistan and Gaza: Seeing through the Smokescreen.’ The event is free and open to the public. During each of 12 recent trips to Afghanistan, Kelly, as an invited guest of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, has lived alongside ordinary Afghan people in a working class neighborhood in Kabul. As founder and co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Kelly has traveled to many war zones and documented heartbreaking stories of families affected by war. In the past year, Kelly visited Gaza immediately following the Israeli Operation Pillar of Defense…” The event is co-sponsored by Tiffin Area Pax Christi. Read more at http://www.thenews-messenger.com/article/20131013/NEWS01/310130013?nclick_check=1

Pax Christi Orange County (CA) participated in a peace rally the Monday after the Pope's call to fast and pray for peace in Syria. Afterward they went to their meeting place and prayed Vespers for Peace with an emphasis on peace in Syria.

Pax Christi Orange County (CA) participated in a peace rally the Monday after the Pope’s call to fast and pray for peace in Syria. Afterward they went to their meeting place and prayed Vespers for Peace with an emphasis on peace in Syria.

PAX CHRISTI-COLLEGE OF THE HOLY CROSS REMEMBERS SEPTEMBER 11TH: (from The Crusader) “On Wednesday, Sept. 11, the Holy Cross Community joined Pax Christi in remembering the events of September 11, 2001 and praying for global peace in countries presently torn by conflict and violence, such as Syria, Yemen, and Sudan. Students gathered in Memorial Plaza where they wrote a prayer for peace in their own words and burned it in offering. After this, they were offered a candle to light and place on the edge of the fountain that stands in the center of the Plaza. The mood was somber, as students remembered the seven Holy Cross alumnae who lost their lives on 9/11 as well as their own loved ones. The Holy Cross chapter of Pax Christi will continue to follow the developments in Syria and the Middle East at their weekly meetings on Wednesdays, at 7 pm in Campion House.”… Read more at http://www.thehccrusader.com/news/pax-christi-vigil-1.3065196#.Ul7tE1AjK9A

PAX CHRISTI INTERNATIONAL CO-PRESIDENT FEATURED ON VATICAN RADIO: (from Vatican Radio) “Pope John XXIII’s Cold War era Encyclical Pacem in Terris or ‘Peace on Earth,’ remains ‘extremely contemporary’ and can act as a guide to peace-building in today’s world. That’s what Pope Francis told participants at a three day Vatican conference this week celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1963 Encyclical Letter. Experts from Catholic universities and institutions, and from the UN, the Council of Europe, the African Union, and the Organization of American States gathered in Rome at the request of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace to discuss the relevance of Pacem in Terris to their peace building efforts in today’s world. Among them were the leaders of the global Catholic peace network Pax Christi International. Philippa Hitchen caught up with co-president Marie Dennis, the first woman and first lay person to hold that leadership position. She explained why Pacem in Terris has served as a kind of Magna Carta for the work of that organization … Listen to the interview at http://www.news.va/en/news/pacem-in-terris-is-magna-carta-for-pax-christi-int

PAX CHRISTI ILLINOIS MEMBER SPEAKS ON DYING, RISING OF CATHOLIC PEACE MOVEMENT: (from NCR, by Tom Cordaro, PCUSA Ambassador of Peace) “Patrick O’Neill provided us with a wistful stroll down memory lane as he lamented the fading of the Catholic peace movement of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. You’re right, Patrick, the Catholic peace movement ain’t what it used to be. There are profound changes taking place in the movement, but I’m not sure that you or NCR fully grasps them. These changes involve both a dying and a rising. What is dying is the white Catholic middle-class liberal construct of what constitutes ‘the Catholic peace movement.’ This construct was, in part, created by Pax Christi USA beginning in the 1970s. White Catholic peace activists founded the Pax Christi USA of the ’70s to serve the needs of white Catholic peacemakers. In many ways, we succeeded in moving nonviolent peacemaking into the mainstream of Catholic social thought and practice. For many years, this work went well for us. But while we were busy trying to change the world, the world changed… Read more at http://paxchristiusa.org/2013/10/07/reflection-the-catholic-peace-movement-dying-and-rising/

PAX CHRISTI USA AMBASSADOR OF PEACE HAS NEW BOOK ON NONVIOLENCE: How can we become people of nonviolence and help the world become more nonviolent? What does it mean to be a person of active nonviolence? How can we help build a global grassroots movement of nonviolence to disarm the world, relieve unjust human suffering, make a more just society and protect creation and all creatures? What is a nonviolent life? These are the questions John Dear—Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace, long time peace activist and Pace e Bene staff member—poses in his new book, “The Nonviolent Life.” John Dear suggests that the life of nonviolence requires three simultaneous attributes: being nonviolent toward ourselves; being nonviolent to all people, all creatures, and all creation; and joining the global grassroots movement of nonviolence… For more information, visit http://www.paceebene.org/

PAX CHRISTI OKLAHOMA CITY HOLDS ANTI-RACISM WORKSHOP: (from The Oklahoman) “’Becoming an Anti-Racist Community: First Steps’ and the ‘Becoming an Anti-Racist Community Workshop’ were held Oct. 5 and sponsored by Pax Christi Oklahoma City and Joy Mennonite Church. Susan Lee and Chris Houk, both of Oklahoma City, said they are members of Pax Christi Oklahoma City, a Roman Catholic ‘peace with justice’ movement. Lee, 62, said combating racism is an issue that Pax Christi USA has encouraged. The forum and workshop were presented by Cathleen A. Crayton and Alex Mikulich, members of the Pax Christi anti-racism team…” Read more at http://newsok.com/article/3887509

PAX CHRISTI METRO NEW YORK HOLDS PEACE MASS: About 40 people joined Pax Christi Metro New York at Holy Family Church, the United Nations parish in New York City, to celebrate a Peace Mass together. We were particularly touched to have three Pax Christi people who happened to be in New York from Texas and Ohio participate with us. Following the Mass, we had light refreshments and a stimulating discussion on ways to foster a culture of peace, especially among the young. Overall, it was a very good celebration of UN International Peace Day, September 21.

Upcoming or Ongoing Events:

Oct. 16 – 7-9 p.m. Susi Snyder, IKV Pax Christi, “Don’t Bank on the Bomb.” Sponsored by Abolition 2000 NY Metro. At the World Federalist-Global Policy Institute, 708 Third Ave., 24th Floor, New York.

Oct. 18-20 – Gandhi-King Conference in Memphis, TN: http://www.gandhikingconference.org/

Nov. 23 – A Faithful Budget: Creating a Federal Budget that puts “the least of these” first, 1:30 pm at First United Church of Oak Park, 848 Lake Street, 60301. Co-sponsored by Pax Christi Illinois. For more information, contact Nancy Oetter at 630-904-3859 or nloetter@comcast.net.


Catholic Peace Fellowship-Pax Christi Philadelphia held a Memorial Service for Franziska Jägerstätter on Sunday, September 29. During the service Johanna Berrigan (House of Grace Catholic Worker, attended Franz’s beatification), Tom Gumbleton (Bishop and Friend of Franziska), and John P. McNamee (Priest, Poet, visited Franziska with Aileen and Robert McGovern) shared reflections … Pax Christi Memphis member Ed Wallin had a letter in the Memphis newspaper regarding the governor’s treatment of the poor … Pax Christi Central Seattle hosted Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace Sr. Kathleen Pruitt to facilitate a day of reflection and discussion about the Christian call to nonviolence and will be planning a public declaration of the vow later this year … Pax Christi Metro New York has published the fall edition of their newsletter Kerux LivePax Christi International Co-President Marie Dennis gave the keynote address at South Dakota Pax Christi’s ninth annual conference … A new Pax Christi chapter is forming in Charlottesville, VAPax Christi Northeastern Pennsylvania is supporting Fr. Bill Pickard at his upcoming trial, Oct. 25. If you want to help cover his expenses, you can send checks payable to him to PCNEPA, PO Box 168, Clarks Summit, PA 18411 … Pax Christi Quad Cities (IA) participated in the planning for the 2013 Pacem in Terris Award CeremonyPax Christi USA co-sponsored a national teach-in on SyriaPax Christi International has issued a statement on the closing of Tutela Legal in El Salvador … Pax Christi International’s October 2013 newsletter is online … See more local and regional updates in the Summer 2013 edition of The Peace Current

SYRIA: Letter delivered to Members of Congress on Syria

Marie Dennisby Marie Dennis
Pax Christi International Co-president

On September 9, a number of PCUSA members, friends and partners visited the offices of every member of the U.S. Congress and hand-delivered a letter from Marie Dennis, co-president of Pax Christi International. The letter said in part:

A chorus of voices in our Catholic community worldwide – from Pope Francis to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to leadership of religious communities and organizations – has called on Congress to reject the request of the President to attack Syria. We are deeply troubled that President Obama would undercut the legitimate authority of the United Nations.

The Obama administration has created a false choice between military action and inaction. We insist that effective, nonviolent, legal steps remain that must be taken to reduce the horrific violence, protect the Syrian people and hold perpetrators of the chemical attack to account. These do not include U.S. military action in Syria. They do include the following:

  • Turn all U.S. intelligence about the use of chemical weapons in Syria over to the United Nations to help build a clear, legal case against the perpetrators in the proper international court of justice. Effective accountability is rooted in the rule of law and restorative justice.
  • Engage the full UN Security Council (UNSC), both permanent and elected members, to act on Syria with the goal of a complete arms embargo, immediate humanitarian access, a ceasefire, a negotiated peace and accountability for violations of international law.
  • If effective action by the UNSC is vetoed, engage the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in full debate on the matter. Precedent exists in UNGA Res 377 (1950) that gives the UNGA authority to act following a veto in the UNSC.
  • In the meantime, support creation of zones of peace and deployment of nonviolent peacekeepers, including civilians, to accompany Syrian communities overwhelmed by the violence.

A unilateral military attack on Syria by the United States would reveal a stunning failure of moral imagination and courage on the part of the Obama administration and the U.S. Congress. In the event of a positive vote in Congress, the President himself should decide against military action. To choose a yet-viable multilateral, nonviolent response would be a powerful act of global leadership for the 21st century, maintain the dignity and independence of the Presidency and demonstrate a deep commitment to international cooperation.

Pleading for courage and praying for peace, our communities around the world will be with you as you make this crucial decision.