Friday, March 30, 2012

Post #229 - Wait for the Bombs, or Take Action

Mark Johnson, FOR executive director
In 1914, an ecumenical conference was held in Switzerland by Christians seeking to prevent the outbreak of war in Europe. Before the conference ended, however, World War I had started and those present had to return to their respective countries. At a railroad station in Germany, two of the participants, Henry Hodgkin, an English Quaker, and Friedrich Sigmund-Schultze, a German Lutheran, pledged to find a way of working for peace even though their countries were at war. Out of this pledge Christians gathered in Cambridge, England in December 1914 to found the Fellowship of Reconciliation. The FOR-USA was founded one year later, in 1915.

FOR has since become an interfaith and international movement with branches and groups in over 40 countries and on every continent. Today the membership of FOR includes Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, and people of other faith traditions, as well as those with no formal religious affiliation.

One of their newest campaigns is an Iran Pledge of Resistance. The pledge reads this way:
If the United States applies increased sanctions, invades, bombs, sends combat troops or drones, or otherwise significantly escalates its intervention in Iran or the region directly or through support of its allies, I pledge to join with others to engage in acts of legal protest and/or nonviolent civil disobedience to prevent or halt the death and destruction which U.S. military actions would cause to the people of Iran, the Middle East, our communities at home, and the planet itself.

FOR asks those who visit them on-line (at for identifying information, along with some questions:

Are you...

-- willing to participate in nonviolent civil disobedience and/or civil resistance?
-- willing to participate in legal protest to stop a war on Iran ?
-- interested in organizing with friends to form a local Affinity Group?
-- interested in connecting with other Pledge signers from my area?
-- interested in coordinating and/or initiating local organizing around the Iran Pledge of Resistance?
-- interested in hosting a public sign-on event in your community?

A related campaign was done around the Persian New Year, which falls near the end of March each year and signals the start of Spring -- the biological beginning of a new annual cycle of life. They say, in their public outreach:

Norouz mubarak! Norouz is the Persian/Iranian New Year. It represents love, life, and freedom. Norouz, which begins today, is based in the renewal of the earth. But crippling sanctions and the daily threat of war are not giving Iranian families the best opportunity to celebrate the rebirth of nature with our generous Mother Earth.

This Norouz, join with the Fellowship of Reconciliation; join hands with our Mother Earth to call for respect for life and rebirth. This Norouz join FOR to say Yes to Life and No to Death and Destruction.

Join the Fellowship of Reconciliation by contacting your congressional representatives to invite them to celebrate Norouz with you. Invite them to respect our Mother Earth’s demand for peace among all of her children.

This Norouz is an opportunity for a call for diplomacy. With the renewal of the earth, our politicians can revisit their policy on Iran. Call or write your representatives in the House of Representatives and the Senate -- our allies at FCNL have provided a toll-free number for this purpose: 855-NO WAR (855-688-6927)
Urge your legislators to respect life by finding ways to support diplomacy with Iran rather than issuing threats of war and increasing sanctions.

Download supporting materials from FOR’s website. We have assembled several resources into one simple and downloadable PDF document to help you engage your congressional representatives’ offices by phone, mail, or email. You will find talking points on the political conflict between our nations, a fact sheet on Iran, and a recent statement by FOR on Iran.

Leila Zand, FOR Iran Program director
We also encourage our supporters to support the campaign against war with Iran being led by United for Peace and Justice, of which FOR is a national endorsing organizational member, and to sign and join the Iran Pledge of Resistance initiative that UFPJ has launched.

P.S. Can you chip in $5 to support our campaign to prevent war with Iran? Please put “Iran Norouz” in the “In Honor Of” field — thank you!

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