Resolution on the War in Afghanistan

2011 Church of the Brethren Resolution

Whereas: in 2001, the Church of the Brethren General Board called for the end of military operations in Afghanistan, saying, “We are deeply concerned that these strikes will cause further death and destruction, and will exacerbate the problems confronting those working to feed and care for millions of suffering Afghan people. We also urge the US government to refrain from similar military strikes against other nations”i;

Whereas: the Church of the Brethren has issued no further statement addressing the continuing war in Afghanistan;

Whereas: this September 11 will mark 10 years since the terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania;

Whereas: in 2010 the National Council of Churches of Christ, USA, of which the Church of the Brethren is a member, called “upon the President of the United States to negotiate a withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan to be completed as soon as possible without further endangerment to the lives and welfare of US and NATO troops, Afghan troops and Afghan civilians”ii;

Whereas: the Church of the Brethren has consistently spoken to the sinfulness of war—of the human cost both in lives lost and lives irreparably changed, in the financial cost and the priority that military spending is given over humanitarian efforts, and in the cost to our souls as we rely on violence for our security rather than the vision of God;

Whereas: at the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation of the World Council of Churches, to which the Church of the Brethren sent a representative and additional delegation, held in Kingston, Jamaica, in May of 2011, the convocation community stated, “We are unified in our aspiration that war should become illegal” and that “History, especially in the witness of the historic peace churches, reminds us of the fact that violence is contrary to the will of God and can never resolve conflicts”iii;

Therefore, be it resolved that the Church of the Brethren:

  1. Calls on the President of the United States and members of Congress to begin an immediate withdrawal of all combat troops from Afghanistan, and instead to invest resources into the development of the Afghan people and infrastructure;
  2. Calls on the denomination to continue to support the ministry of Church World Service in Afghanistan, and to explore the possibility of new relationships and possibilities for Brethren Volunteer Service placements in Afghanistan through Global Mission Partnerships;
  3. Calls on the denomination, districts, congregations, and individuals to continue to support the work of groups like Christian Peacemaker Teams, seeking to provide an alternative to violence;
  4. Calls on districts, congregations, and individuals to actively minister to those affected by the war in Afghanistan: returning veterans of the military, those serving in noncombatant roles, peacemakers seeking an alternative to armed conflict, and their families;
  5. Calls on districts, congregations, and individuals to engage openly in interfaith and intercultural dialogue to create a culture of conversation and respect;
  6. Calls on congregations and individuals to study documents and actions of the Church of the Brethren’s historic peace stance, along with resources on just peacemaking from a biblical, theological, social, and political context; and
  7. Calls on churches and individuals to pray for and pursue a world of just peace.

References and resources

The concept of “just peace” is a relatively new term, particularly for the Church of the Brethren. Growing out of the World Council of Churches Decade to Overcome Violence, there are a number of resources for congregations seeking to study and apply the meaning of just peace, including:

Resources are also available for ministering to veterans and those affected by conflict and war:

Resources are also available for preparing oneself and congregation and then entering into an open space of interfaith and intercultural dialogue:

Church of the Brethren’s Statements that address issues of war and violence particularly relevant to the war in Afghanistan:


“The Mission and Ministry Board at its meeting on Saturday, July 2, 2011, adopted the Resolution on the War in Afghanistan by unanimous consent, and forwards it to the 2011 Annual Conference for adoption”

Standing Committee, meeting in regular session, Saturday, July 02, 2011, recommends to the 2011 Annual Conference that the Resolution on the War in Afghanistan be adopted.

Action of the 2011 Annual Conference: Annual Conference accepted the recommendation of Standing Committee that the Resolution on the War in Afghanistan 2011 be adopted.

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