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Religious 'Peace' March Tonight Fails to Connect With Reality
Contact: Loralei Coyle 202-682-4131, 202-905-6852 cell, lcoyle@ird-renew.org; Radio Interviews: Jeff Walton, jwalton@ird-renew.org; both with the Institute on Religion and Democracy

WASHINGTON, Mar. 16 /Christian Newswire/ -- Several thousand activists are expected to protest the U.S. military presence in Iraq during a march on the White House tonight. "Christian Peace Witness for Iraq," organized by numerous religious left groups, including Sojourners/Call to Renewal and the National Council of Churches, seeks an immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and calls upon the U.S. to "stop threatening other nations and Iran." Following an ecumenical service at the National Cathedral and a march to the White House, several hundred of the protesters will perform acts of civil disobedience and risk arrest, which they term "divine obedience."

Mark Tooley, IRD's UM Action Director, commented:

"It is important to note that the march's organizers are not merely opposing U.S. involvement in Iraq. In their promotional literature they advocate 'the principles of pacifism upon which Jesus based his life and ministry.' Quite simply, these groups oppose U.S. military action of any kind, no matter what the circumstances. This is a pacifist rally and an anti-U.S. rally, not an anti-Iraq War rally."

"These 'Christian Peace Witness' organizers employ language about 'reconciliation' and 'understanding,' but they do not explain what to do about genocidal and autocratic regimes that care little for negotiation, save as a ploy to deflect international pressure. Amazingly, some of the march organizers recently returned from a visit with the Iranian president, and quickly accepted his assurances that Iran's radical Islamist regime does not seek nuclear weapons."

"The organizers of 'Christian Peace Witness for Iraq' see the U.S. as the exclusive culprit in all international crises. Their political and spiritual myopia offers nothing constructive to Christians and other people of faith who genuinely seek a peaceful and just world."

"At best, Iran and the United States are seen as equally belligerent in the eyes of the organizers, and America's involvement in Iraq is considered the main source of Iraq's problems. This is a radical over-simplification of the situation that lays all problems at the U.S. doorstep."

The Institute on Religion and Democracy, founded in 1981, is an ecumenical alliance of U.S. Christians working to reform their churches' social witness, in accord with biblical and historic Christian teachings, thereby contributing to the renewal of democratic society at home and abroad.