OPF Letter to President Obama

Mr. President,

The Orthodox Peace Fellowship is a worldwide organization within the Orthodox Christian community that seeks to bear witness to the wisdom of seeking all possible non-violent solutions to conflict in our effort to imitate Christ. Our largest and most active membership is in the US. We know you share our conviction that violence should always be a last resort, and only when it comes to us may we respond–with justice and all possible restraint.

We therefore submit our plea that you not authorize a military attack against Syria. (Full  Statement is attached.)

We stand beside you in prayer at this difficult hour, knowing you carry a heavy burden but not knowing all that informs your decision. May God truly grant you wisdom, strength, and courage, not only showing you what is right but making a way for you to do it.

Please remember to pray with us for all Syrians who have already suffered horribly and whose suffering would only increase at this application of more violence.

Chemical weapons use is an unspeakable evil which we all condemn. But the situation in Syria is far too complex to isolate this event as singly requiring a military response from the United States. Please consider all possible options short of military attack to punish or deter the use of these weapons. We believe any assault by the US will not only fail to deter chemical weapons use but may make their further use in desperation more likely.

We stand with the unprecedented throng of American Christians calling on you to consider other options at this time. We echo the calls, which we know you have heard, of Pope Francis and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well as those of our own Patriarch Bartholomew and the many US Orthodox Bishops.

We plead with you to support the 11th hour effort to avert a US attack should the Assad government surrender its chemical weapons to international actors.

We further support all non-military, legal, and humanitarian interventions to help end the violence and establish a just peace for all Syrians.

Sincerely yours,

Jim Forest, Orthodox Peace Fellowship International Secretary
Alexander Patico, OPF North America Secretary
Pieter Dykhorst, OPF editor of In Communion