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Members of the Kansas City Interfaith Council invite you, as a prominent religious leader, to join them in issuing the following Call to Prayer. We must act quickly. Please email vern@cres.org, call 913 649 5114 and leave a message, or call me at my desk at 816 753 1633 or cell 816 679 1633, with your comments, questions, or consent. Thank you. Vern Barnet (Oct 2, 2002)

A Call to Prayer

Dear Fellow Citizens,

This is a critical time for our nation. Please join us in prayer as war becomes a grave danger.

How can the international community compel Iraq to end both internal repression and threats to its neighbors? How can we ensure that Iraq ceases support for terrorism, abandons efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction, and complies with UN resolutions?

We are praying that we as a people are able to discern --

  • whether we have exhausted all alternatives to war, including the arrest and trial of Saddam Hussein for crimes against humanity,

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  • whether a new strategy of preemptive attack or a tradition of containment best achieves the goals of justice and security, and provides an example for other nations to follow,

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  • whether our actions are likely to provoke the use of biological and chemical weapons against other states in the region and unleash new terrorist forces against us in our own land,

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  • whether focus on Iraq will distract us from continuing a vigorous search for Osama bin Laden, from destroying the terrorist network, from rebuilding our intelligence agencies, from addressing mounting economic problems which especially affect the poor, from correcting the corporate scandals that have weakened our moral fiber, and from other domestic issues which require attention if we are to remain a free, just, and secure people,

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  • whether occupying and "rebuilding" Iraq would lead to long-term stability or encourage others to portray us as neo-colonial occupiers seeking control of Iraqi oil resources, and

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  • whether our nation can come together by singling out one person amongst the evil persons in this world against whom to direct our might, our resources, and the lives of our young people.
  • We believe every religious person has the duty toward one another and to our country, to seek divine guidance through prayer and to make our values known to our leaders in government, that we may be rightly guided to fulfill the sacred American role serving justice, equity, and peace. Please join us in prayer for our nation.


    2003 March 19
    A Personal Statement on the War
    by the Rev Vern Barnet, DMn, CRES minister in   residence

                People of all faiths are praying for peace. For those of us who use the word "God," we need to remind ourselves as we say God Bless America, that God is Sovereign of the whole world. We need to expand our prayer to say God Bless All Nations and All Peoples. We must bring those of all faiths into understanding of our human kinship and interdependence. We must see that weapons unjustly held or used by any nation, group, or individual violate God's love.  War is a horrible failure which we must somehow redeem by surrendering our pride and selfishness to the Power moving in history toward justice, peace and universal community.