Spiritual guidance for anyone seeking a path to God. explorefaith.org


Explore God's Love Explore Your Faith Explore the Church Explore Who We Are  

  Home > In the News

In the News

Join our mailing list
Join our mailing list
Send this page to a friend

Support explorefaith.org

Give us your feedback


Politics and Religion:
Living Spiritually in an Arguing World

Faith and Politics
The intersection of our political and spiritual lives
An interview with Marcus Borg

More stories
In the News

Questions of Faith and Doubt

Featured Themes and Authors


Signpost: Daily Devotions

Oasis: Take a Moment to Meditate

Send a card from explorefaith.org

November 22, 2005

Speaking of War: Joint Resolution 55
by Jon M. Sweeney

People of faith are deeply conflicted about the concept of a “just war.” What conditions must be met in order for war, or the use of military force, to be morally justified? This is not a Republican vs. Democrat issue. And the conflict in Iraq—the War on Terrorism—has only made the issues muddier for many of us.

But there are some religious groups for whom war is always wrong, regardless of the consequences of pacifism. The Quakers, for instance, do not vacillate in their abhorrence of all war and their rejection of any war as “just.” For them, the growing strength of Joint Resolution 55 is cause for celebration.
It was first introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on June 16, 2005, by a bipartisan group of seven congressmen and women: Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Walter Jones (R-NC), Ron Paul (R-TX), Martin Meehan (D-MA), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), and Barbara Lee (D-CA). It begins: “Joint Resolution: Requiring the President to develop and implement a plan for the withdrawal of United States Armed Forces from Iraq.”

Supporters call it “Homeward Bound.” The resolution continues: “This joint resolution may be cited as the ‘Withdrawal of United States Armed Forces from Iraq Resolution of 2005—a Homeward Bound.’”

Its purpose is stated clearly in section three: “Congress declares that it is the
policy of the United States—(1) to announce, not later than December 31, 2005, a plan for the withdrawal of all United States Armed Forces from Iraq; (2) at the earliest possible date, to turn over all military operations in Iraq to the elected Government of Iraq and provide for the prompt and orderly withdrawal of all United States Armed Forces from Iraq; and (3) to initiate such a withdrawal as soon as possible but not later than October 1, 2006.”
While there were only seven original supporters of the Joint Resolution, as of late October 2005, there were reportedly 56, according to the American Friends Service Committee magazine, “Quaker Action.” In addition, Congressman Dennis Kucinich keeps a running tally of supporters on his website, and according to the site (which does not appear to be updated frequently), that number has reached 58. The 58 are all listed there, Democrat, Republican, and Independent. As of press time, according to other reports, the number of supporters has reached at least 62.

Most of the visible support has come from non-religious groups, in particular, the more liberal corners of the Democratic Party. For instance, the Berkeley (CA) Daily Planet reported on November 11 that one of the Bay-area’s largest Democratic activist groups, the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club, “has been soliciting donations for an extensive newspaper ad campaign in support of House Joint Resolution 55…. The Wellstoners intend to place full-page ads next month in the Oakland Tribune, the Tri-Valley Herald, the Hayward Daily Review, and the Berkeley Daily Planet. The ads will thank local Congressional co-sponsors—Representatives Miller, Lee and Stark—and urge readers to encourage elected officials and bodies to support the resolution.”

But in addition, various organized groups of military wives, retired military, and other organizations are also lining up behind Joint Resolution 55. For example, the complete text for Joint Resolution 55 can be found on the website www.bringhometheguard.org, which is dedicated to ending use of National Guard troops in Iraq.

The staunchest international supporter of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, has also begun talking as if he supports a version of Joint Resolution 55 for his own country, his own troops. On November 14, The Guardian newspaper quoted him as saying: “I think it’s entirely reasonable to talk about the possibility of withdrawal of troops next year but it’s got to be always conditioned by the fact that we withdraw when the job is done.”

Neither Tony Blair nor President Bush have ever been willing to talk about timetables for troop withdrawal in the past. Blair’s comments, the American public's growing dissatisfaction with the ongoing Iraqi situation, and the broadening support for Joint Resolution 55 show that the pressure to do so may soon become too great for the White House to resist. For Quakers, at least, The Resolution's passing would be a way of atoning for the sin of having gone to war in the first place.

© 2005 Jon M. Sweeney.

—Jon M. Sweeney is a writer and editor living in Vermont. He is the author of several books, including his new memoir, BORN AGAIN AND AGAIN: THE SURPRISING BENEFITS OF A FUNDAMENTALIST CHILDHOOD.

More by Jon Sweeney.

(Return to Top)



Send this article to a friend.

Copyright ©1999-2007 explorefaith.org