Interfaith Witness for Peace in Iraq, March 7 in Washington DC

Sponsors: Olive Branch Interfaith Peace Partnership

Communities and individuals of all faith traditions and spiritualities who are committed to ending the war in Iraq are holding an interfaith witness in Washington D.C. on Friday, March 7, 2008 to demonstrate our unwavering commitment to the sacredness of human life. The world cries out for a common voice for peace from across religious traditions and paths.



1. Morning workshops March 7 on peace activism. Some of these will be held on Thursday evening March 6. In addition, on Thursday evening there will be a meeting of multifaith leadership to bring into fuller being the Olive Branch Interfaith Peace Partnership.

2. Separate religious services of the different communities, beginning about 11:30 in various locations in Washington and going till 1:30.

3. Gathering at 2:30 SHARP in UPPER SENATE PARK AT THE EDGE OF THE CAPITOL GROUNDS for an interfaith service and some speeches. Among those taking part: Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; Rev. Bob Edgar, former head of the National Council of Churches, now head of Common Cause; Asma Mirza, head of the Muslim Student Assn; Rev. Bill Sinkford, head of the Unitarian Universalist Assn.; Si Kahn, folk-singer.

4.For those who choose to do so, a nonviolent approach to the Capitol bearing petitions to end the war by people who are prepared to risk and if necessary to undergo arrest.

ONE YEAR AGO, A "CHRISTIAN PEACE WITNESS" BROUGHT ABOUT 3,000 CHRISTIANS to Washington, focused on the White House, for similar events. This year, it is IMPORTANT FOR THERE TO BE A SERIOUS INVOLVEMENT OF JEWS, MUSLIMS, BUDDHISTS, AND OTHERS, telling Congress to bring about an end this war.

I think it is especially important that Rabbi Saperstein, one of the most important and serious peace-and-justice advocates in and for the Jewish community, is taking part in this event. I think it is important for there to be a strong presence from the Jewish community.

There will be a Jewish service led by Rabbi David Shneyer, immediate past president of the OHALAH rabbinic association, Deb Kolodny, executive director of ALEPH Alliance for Jewish Renewal, and myself. Since there is no synagogue close to the Capitol, the Jewish service will be held at the Methodist Building at 11:00. PLEASE COME.


Together we can end the war in Iraq, bring our troops home, and give them decent care for their physical, emotional, and spiritual wounds. Together we can stand against fear and violence, and live into a longing for wholeness that unites us across all boundaries. Together we can offer a path toward reconciliation. Together we can learn to build security through right relationships.

There are five crucial commitments that we share: End the U.S. war and occupation of Iraq and support Peace with Iran; Support our troops; Support an Iraqi-led peace process; Say NO to torture; Say YES to justice. (Details on these are below.)

This is the moment in which we must show the greatest possible resolve in rescuing the fundamental values of respect for life and dignity from those who offer empty promises leading to a downward spiral of militarism and domination. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “A time comes when silence is betrayal, and that time has come for us.”

There are planning phone calls each Thursday at 1 p.m. Eastern time, and all are welcome. Please contact Rick Ufford-Chase at for more information.

As people of faith and spiritual yearnings, we are called to pray and act for peace and justice. At times, our faiths compel us to speak truth to power. Therefore we commit to work, witness and pray to:

End the U.S. war and occupation of Iraq and support Peace with Iran
We confess our complicity in this merciless violence in Iraq. We proclaim that security cannot be obtained through military domination, but through building just relationships with all people. We call our government to immediately begin an orderly process of withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, closing U.S. bases with a timetable supported by the Iraqi people, and to work toward a relationship of diplomacy and peace with Iran.

Support our troops
We pray for our soldiers and their families, will work diligently to bring them home safely, and will welcome them into our communities with respect and love. We call our government to provide generous support for veterans to heal their physical, mental and spiritual wounds and to rebuild their lives.

Support an Iraqi-led peace process
We repent of the devastation wrought. We will support relief efforts for Iraqis whose lives have been shattered by this war. We call our government to make reparations and to fund international reconstruction, with particular concern for refugees and internally displaced persons.

Say NO to torture
We commit to love our enemies, and call for a process of truth and reconciliation regarding the treatment of detainees. We insist that our government treat all enemy combatants humanely and that torture be unequivocally banned by all agencies of our government.

Say YES to justice
We commit to love our neighbors, to work to end poverty, racism, violence and injustice across the land, and to make the connections between war abroad and poverty at home and between local and global violence. We call our government to fully and justly fund human needs at home.