A Baptist Declaration in Opposition to Present U.S. Policies in Iraq

We, in the United States, who are followers of Jesus and Baptist by conviction are perplexed by the spiritual conflict present between radically different visions for our nation, both at home and around the world. One is inspired by our interpretations and applications of the teachings of Jesus, while the other is based in a ruling ideology of the current administration and its supporters throughout government and society.

Jesus teaches that we should live with confidence and hope in a sovereign God who graciously makes it possible for us to return God’s love of us by being a loving neighbor to all of God’s creation, even those who are our enemies. For followers of Jesus, justice, reconciliation, and peace are based on the demanding commandment to love others. In contrast, the government of the United States, in both its executive and legislative branches, including members of both political parties, has increasingly enacted policies that are based on fear and intimidation, hatred and manipulation. It has declared an elusive and unending war on terrorism to justify its own violent acts of retribution and to establish an "American" empire to be imposed upon the rest of the world.

Toward these ends, the government refused to delay hostilities until weapons inspectors in Iraq completed their work; it relied on discredited informants and distorted intelligence to build a case for war; it instituted preemptive military action that violated international law and the counsel of most nations, including longstanding allies; it pursued a military strategy of terror – of "shock and awe" – against Iraq, while failing to plan and provide adequately for the consequences of protracted war and the reconstruction of devastated land; it provoked insurgent activities with the rhetoric of bravado and policies of exclusion in the rebuilding of Iraq; it allowed or fostered a culture of abuse against prisoners that violated international conventions and our own nation’s fundamental values; it continues to demonize not just supposed enemies but nations who are perceived to be tolerant of those foes; it operates with a sense of the United States’ moral superiority while justifying its own crimes as necessary in an unbridled campaign against terrorism.

These national policies and practices based on fear and intimidation, hatred and manipulation, have brought devastating consequences. By conservative accounting, over 30,000 innocent Iraqi civilians have lost their lives, of which an estimated ten percent were children; untold thousands have been severely injured; and still more have suffered permanent impairment. Over 2,000 U.S. soldiers have died and 15, 000 wounded. A military action to defeat terrorism on its "primary front" has drastically increased the number of insurgent terrorists in Iraq and networks of terrorism in other countries. The rebuilding of Iraq has slowed and civil war is an on-going threat in the near or long-term future. The United States is expending more than seven billion dollars per month on the Iraqi war and costs are expected to exceed $570 billion by 2010. National Guard and military reserves serving in Iraq are not available to assist in disaster relief at home. The vast appropriations for war are requiring cutbacks in domestic programs for those in need and limitations on aid that might otherwise be used to promote global well being and peace. The standing of the United States in the eyes of the world continues to deteriorate. The stance of the government is a cause of increasing division at home.

As Baptists in the United States, we have no desire to further the division in our nation or across the globe. But neither can we remain silent in the face of the policies and practices of our nation that are so diametrically opposed to our religious faith and what we understand to be the democratic values of the nation. We ask, therefore, Baptists and all Christians, along with other citizens of good will, to join us in the following actions:
  • Seek God’s forgiveness in private and public confession for our own complicity, through acts of commission and omission, in the unnecessary harm our nation is inflicting upon the people of Iraq and in the global war on terrorism. We encourage others, including religious and civic leaders, to make such private and public confessions. We trust this can occur in devotional life and public worship, as well as in civic forums.
  • Protect the fundamental freedom to dissent and hold opinions contrary to the dominant culture and government policies. We believe that this can occur in private conversation, peaceful public demonstrations, and raising our voices through the media, internet blogs, and other means of communication.
  • Expose, in whatever means and opportunities are available, the intimidating and manipulative appeals to fear and hatred to justify and foster practices of coercion and military aggression adopted by our government. We believe this can happen in educational settings and through the public media.
  • Challenge in spoken and written word our fellow citizens and our public leaders to reflect on the foundations and consequences of our nation’s policies and practices and to recommend and actively support alternative policies and practices that promote diplomacy, human rights and development, and the protection and just distribution of the earth’s resources. We suggest this take place in sermons, newsletters, op-eds, letters-to-the-editor, and through other means of communication.
Furthermore, because it appears that President George W. Bush and members of his administration are, and will continue to be, indifferent and unresponsive to the widening public desire to end the U.S. military presence in Iraq, we as Christians and people of civic good will must communicate regularly and energetically – through letters, telephone calls, and face-to-face visits – with our elected representatives in the United States Senate and House of Representatives for legislative actions that will:
  • end the involvement of our nation in the Iraqi war;
  • provide for means that will allow other nations and international bodies to seek and implement a peaceful end to the Iraqi conflict and the reconstruction of that country; and
  • support programs that mandate diplomatic solutions to international conflicts and the use of war as a last resort.
If, as a follower of Jesus, you share our deep concern about the policies and practices of our nation, we invite you to join us in casting off the fear that has bound us. We ask that you endorse this statement on the BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz website (www.bpfna.org) or convey it to the BPFNA office by mail (300 Hawthorne Ln, Suite 205, Charlotte, NC 28204 USA), fax (704.521.6053), or e-mail (endorse@bpfna.org).

In the spirit of discipleship and Baptist freedom, we invite you to join in this endeavor.

Click here to go to the endorsement page to register your support.

A Baptist Declaration in Opposition to Present U.S. Policies in Iraq

updated September 15, 2006

Larry Greenfield, Chicago, IL
Paul C. Hayes, Noank, CT
Peter Carman, Rochester, NY
Ken Sehested, Asheville, NC
Abigail Hastings, New York, NY
George Williamson, New York, NY
Gary Percesepe, Springfield, OH
Johnny Almond, Mount Gilead, NC
Evelyn Hanneman, Charlotte, NC
Peder Wiegner, Ephrata, PA
Deborah Davis-Johnson, Portland, ME
Trey Lincoln, Mount Gilead, NC
Randle R. (Rick) Mixon, Granville, OH
Edith Holleman, Silver Spring, MD
Charlotte Reid, Christiansburg, VA
Lucile & Robert Carman, Ripon, WI
Catherine L. Ripley, Cincinnati, OH
Michael Westmoreland-White, Louisville, KY
Jimmy Reader, Rochester, NY
Steve Hammond, Oberlin, OH
Sandra Cope, Waukesha, WI
Jayme Reaves, Richmond, VA
G. Guy Pujol, Jr., Decatur, GA
Bennett R. Willeford, Lewisburg, PA
Ray Timmermans, San Diego, CA
J. Joel Turrell, Lewisburg, PA
Jonathan Harwell, Pelham, AL
Jamie Washam, Milwaukee, WI
Vernon H. Ross, Earlville, NY
Patricia Ransom, Waukesha, WI
Deborah Lynn, Nashville, TN
Eleanor L. Ross, Earlville, NY
Sara Hudson, Hartford, WI
Robert C. "Bob" Ferguson, Mandeville, LA
Gordon Whitaker, Durham, NC
Mel Williams, Durham, NC
Barry Bowman, Bronx, NY
Stephen Sundquist, Peterburg, IL
Terry L. Brooks, Chapin, SC
Diane Merrill Pomeroy, Warrenville, IL
Jan Lee, Ottawa, KS
MaryJane Coursen, Richmond, IN
Anne Drennan, Durham, NC
Ashley C. Smith, Stephentown, NY
Carol Eklund, Concord, CA
Dwight M. Lundgren, King of Prussia, PA
Ray Hughey, King George, VA
Ruth Bagwell, Charlotte, NC
Paul Bliss, Brookings, SD
Dorothy Vance, Walnut Creek, CA
Gail Greener, Crystal Lake, IL
Markus Eklund, San Diego, CA
Timothy D. Bates, Noank, CT
Deborah W. Bates, Noank, CT
Beverly Donald, Belle, MO
Patricia Wilbur, Noank, CT
Joseph Tamborini Czolgosz, Park Ridge, IL
Stuart J. Mitchell, Rochester, NY
David J. Frenchak, Chicago, IL
Miriam Kelm, Highland Park, IL
Jacki Belile, Chicago, IL
Roger Loftesness, Sioux Falls, SD
Carrol A. Turner, Old Forge, NY
Joyce E. Turner, Old Forge, NY
Virgil Nelson, Ventura, CA
Lynn Nelson, Ventura, CA
Kathy Donley, Bloomington, IN
Mary Schlott Repenning, Arlington Heights, IL
Lynne Kelley, Arlington Heights, IL
Lloyd Beachy, New London, CT
Michael Crane, Niantic, CT
Calvert W. Audrain, Chicago, IL
Sue Levins, Walnut Creek, CA
Jerome Scholle, Chicago, IL
Shirley DeMott, Geneseo, NY
Janice E. Robinson, Geneva, NY
Lowell Fewster, Windsor, CT
Priscilla E. Eppinger, Lamoni, IA
Samuel S. Fuller, Suffield, CT
Grace T. Lawrence Shirk, Smoketown, PA
Glenn Loafmann, Oberlin, OH
Gordon Swan, Needham, MA
France Nohling, St. Charles, IL
Mary Brown, Concord, CA
Doug Brown, Concord, CA
Jerrod H. Hugenot, Kansas City, KS
Susan Panek Polizzi, Norwich, NY
John L. Hoekwater, Chicago, IL
Peter Brick, Chicago, IL
Dorothy Fletcher, Lake Bluff, IL
Sarah Greenfield Culp, Rochester, NY
Yvette Indovina, Rochester, NY
Willie J. Seals, Jr., Rochester, NY
Nancy Tripp-Leport, LeRoy, NY
Miriam Ganze, Rochester, NY
Thomas Conner, Nashville, TN
Tasha Huffsmith, Fairport, NY
Brian Koho, Nashville, TN
Georgia Sims, Lexington, KY
John W. Laney, Brentwood, TN
Joseph Maurici, Scottsville, NY
Donald Beech, Rochester, NY
Lane Simpson, Antioch, TN
Elizabeth Ewell, Rochester, NY
Bill Carpitella, Rochester, NY
Kreis White, Nashville, TN
John H. Ganze, Rochester, NY
Thomas E. Elwell, Rochester, NY
Edward Carey, Rochester, NY
Carol Laverne, New York, NY
Suzanne Gangemi, Fairport, NY
April Baker, Nashville, TN
Amy Mears, Nashville, TN
Lenita Shumaker, Clayton, CA
Alan G. Newton, Rochester, NY
Jean Aurio, Rochester, NY
Barbara Lacker-Ware, Rochester, NY
Lynne A. Stewart, West Henrietta, NY
Robert L. Morgan, Rochester, NY
Beverly Maville-Letter, Webster, NY
Angela C. Sprock, Hays, KS
Lawrence Hargrave, Rochester, NY
H. Darrell Lance, Rochester, NY
Loyd Nolen Dunaway, Oklahoma City, OK
James A. Braker, Rochester, NY
Richard Rose, Batavia, NY
Connie Spear-Stone, Bolingbrook, IL
Mark E. Ballard, Rochester, NY
Erle K. Adrian, Jr., Boerne, TX
Trevor Ewell, Rochester, NY
Lawrence Hargrave, Rochester, NY
Madeleine Dewar, San Antonio, TX
David R. Wood, Lincoln, VT
Don Haas, Richardson, TX
Greg Ledbetter, Walnut Creek, CA
Paul Winston, Decatur, GA
Holly Miller, Nashville, TN
Val Fitzgerald, Grand Prairie, TX
Meg Hillert, Dallas, TX
Sheila M. Foreman, Dallas, TX
Lura Bublitz, Concord, CA
Candy Fowler, Dallas, TX
Densley H. Palmer, Anacortes, WA
Renee Georgulas, San Bruno, CA
Scott Hayes, Shelby, NC
J. P. Miller-Evans, St. Petersburg, FL
Ann Cunningham, Rochester, NY
Jean Bartlett, Pittsford, NY
Daniel M. Schweissing, Arvada, CO
Lucas L. Johnson, Macon, GA
Ken Pennings, Madison, WI
Rebecca Kornick, Chicago, IL
Paul Davis, Brentwood, TN
Donald Bickford, Brooklyn, NY
James Ruggles, McMinnville, OR
William Davis, Rochester, NY
Lois Davis, Rochester, NY
Karen Stoddard, Webster, NY
Anthony Malone, Latham, NY
Bruce L. McNeely, Bettendorf, IA
John M. Fischer, Portland, OR
Julie Blythe Peterson, Westwood, KS
Rick Lane, Jefferson City, TN
Marcia B. Bailey, Wayne, PA
Toni Kasko, Baltimore, MD
Douglas M. Donley, Minneapolis, MN
Marilyn Sharbach, Groton, CT
William M. Salyers, Springfield, OH
Jim Lowder, Asheville, NC
Peg Rivers, Piscataway, NJ
Ray Gingerich, Harrisonburg, VA
Peggy Malone, LaGrange, OH
James H. Holmes, Jr., Decatur, GA
Jane Esdale, Lumberton, NC
Eric Orndorff, New Cumberland, PA
Joanne Huffsmith, Fairport, NY
George Huffsmith, Fairport, NY
Miguel A. De La Torre, Denver, CO
Sally Askew Mir, Winston-Salem, NC
Susam Feiler, Chicago, IL
George V. Hudgins, Chicago, IL
James Hill, Jr., Jefferson City, MO
Robyn E. Espinoza-Henderson, Chicago, IL
Justin Thornburgh, Chicago, IL
David R. Feiler, Chicago, IL
Jeph Holloway, Marshall, TX
David L. Chapman, Wickliffe, OH
Jean Anne Feiler, Charlotte, NC
Stacy Deyerle, Richmond, VA
Amy Bussey, Abingdon, VA
Carlos Mir, Winston-Salem, NC
Gerald Kersey, Lawrenceville, GA
David Hawes, Shelby, NC
Shirley DeFlaviis, Andover, CT
Michael Kear, Enid, OK
Michael Banister, Charlotte, NC
Pete Myer, Thornville, OH
Dr. & Mrs. William J. Bickers, Memphis, TN
O. Ray Kerley, II, Murray, UT
Kristine Fowler-Geis, Zanesville, OH
Ann Morton, Macedon, NY
Steve McGlamery, Hawkinsville, GA
Kenneth Cauthen, Rochester, NY
Susan Maybeck, Pittsford, NY
Kenneth Dodgson, East Rochester, NY
Sally Dodgson, East Rochester, NY
Patricia V. Dodge, Hartford, CT
Victor Eyth, Mentor, OH
Victor Scott, Asheville, NC
Diane Scott, Asheville, NC
Wallace W. Bubar, Iowa City, IA
Thomas S. Coursen III, Louisville, KY
Ray S. Robinson, Cascade, VA
Rheanolte LeBarbour, Hilton, NY
Annie Marie LeBarbour, Hilton, NY
Vernon Thayer, Rochester, NY
Bing Thayer, Rochester, NY
Alice Santiago, Rochester, NY
Ramona Tascoe, Oakland, CA
Joanna Barr, West Chester, PA
Wilard A. Brown Jr., Raleigh, NC
Rod Lawall, Towson, MD
Georgia Lawall, Towson, MD
Kathleen B. Stayton, Wayne, PA
Lee Boucher, Portola Valley, CA
Lois Cowan, Alpine, CA
Susan Schantz, Marlton, NJ
Mike Broadway, Durham, NC
William F. Barr, Saint Davids, PA
Henry N. Smith, Sequim, WA
William E. Virtue, Pompano Beach, FL
James G. Munro, Wayne, PA
Debbie Bennett Reynolds, Rush, NY
John A. Jones IV, Milwaukee, WI
Sam Duncan, Wayne, PA
Nancy Rock Poti, Midlothian, VA
Eugene W. Allen, Shakopee, MN
Anne H. Barker, Fort Worth, TX
Frank McAuley, Lansing, MI
Fred M. Madren Jr., Indianapolis, IN
Kent Harrop, McMinnville, OR
John Walsh, Redlands, CA
Grace Goodman, New York, NY
Bethene Trexel, New York, NY
Steve Marston, Glen Oaks, NY
David Mark Blythe, Brooklyn, NY
Reathel Bean, Montclair, NJ
William C. Altham, New York, NY
Randy Jones, Allentown, PA
Martha R. Gotwals, New York, NY
Margaret L. Wise, New York, NY
Gary W. Harris, Beverly, MA
Ronald C. Quay, Rock Island, IL
Alice Garrard, New York, NY
Gretchen Blythe, Kansas City, MO
Susan Blythe-Goodman, Silver Spring, MD
Everett Gill, Weaverville, NC
Brian Dixon, San Francisco, CA
Bill Woolf, Decatur, GA
Karen Thomas Smith, Rineyville, KY
R. LaMon Brown, Albertville, AL
Warren Woolf, Atlanta, GA
Barbara J. Davis, Decatur, GA
Ken Lake, Fort Mill, SC
Don Skinkle, East Jordan, MI
Roger A. Bullard, Wilson, NC
Charles Kiker, Tulia, TX
Bill Godwin, Desert Hot Springs, CA
Josie Zanfordino, Ithaca, NY
Michael Robertson, Conyers, GA
Suzanne Ball Pollitz, Cleveland Heights, OH
Rick Goodman, Silver Spring, MD
Bill Allen, Winston-Salem, NC
Betty Edson, Randolph, VT
Richard Lewallen, Pompano Beach, FL
Scott Hobbs, San Francisco, CA
Alan Beim, Pacifica, CA
Martha Bradshaw, North Stonington, CT
Richard V. Pierard, Beverly, MA
Ben Boswell, Washington, DC
Marti Borleau, Port Angeles, WA
Chris Grapentine, Ann Arbor, MI
Marvin Friesen, Lake Oswego, OR
Betty Friesen, Lake Oswego, OR
Carol McVetty, Chicago, IL