News Release

Dissenting Voices At a Time of War and Faith


Program associate at the North Carolina Council of Churches, Mattern said today: “Christians have a ‘just war’ teaching that in theory can be used to judge any war. In practice, the teaching serves to bless rather than judge wars. For example, the U.S. Roman Catholic bishops recently invoked the ‘just war’ teaching with regard to Afghanistan. In their hurry to support the president, they failed even to mention one of the main criteria for a just war: that it can be declared only after every other effort has failed. It has yet to be revealed, I think, what the U.S. tried and failed before it began bombing.”

Potorti, who lost his brother in the World Trade Center attack and recently completed a peace walk from the Pentagon to New York, said today: “The phrase ‘Just War,’ used in reference to the battle being waged in Afghanistan, is resonating, but not as a deep philosophical concept…. War, to the increasing exclusion of everything else, is almost the only thing that America collectively cares about anymore…. We direct our attention and our resources into what we do best: war.”
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Al-Marayati is founder of the Muslim Women’s League. She said today: “America pays lip service to things like human rights, that makes it a source of hope, but when we don’t walk the walk, that leads to resentment…. We should not sacrifice our freedoms in the name of this war. The crackdown on various religious charities feels like an attempt to limit the American Muslim community’s activism on behalf of legitimate causes like the suffering of Palestinians, especially during Ramadan.”
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Director of the Shefa Fund’s Torah of Money project, which deals with Jewish ethics on finances and socially responsible investing, Liebling said today: “We have to find a way of getting beyond the levels of despair and misunderstanding that grip much of the world. Despair makes a populace rife for an opportunistic leadership that easily divides the world into good and evil, leading to bloodshed. The focus on defeating evil rather than on improving living conditions leads to more people raised in despair. We need to rekindle hope. That comes from working for real change.”
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A priest with the West Side Jesuit Community in New York City and adjunct professor of ethics at Fordham University, Harak has been in the Mideast many times. He said today: “After Sept. 11, we began to ask questions about our place in the world, including asking the question, Why? But this was short-circuited. We were provided with the meaning, rather than taking time for serious reflection. We were given a name and a target and that was supposed to provide the answer.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; Norman Solomon, (415) 552-5378