NCC Statement on Religious Minorities in Iraq, ISIS, and Killing of James Foley

Washington, August 22, 2014- The National Council of Churches USA grieves for the plight of Christians and other religious minorities, including Yazidis, Turkmen, and Shabaks, in Iraq. In the early part of the last decade, there were some 1.5 million Christians living in that country. Today, it is estimated that less than 400,000 remain, with the numbers dwindling in the midst of ongoing unrest. The evolving disappearance of the Christian community from that ancient landscape, as well as the displacement of neighbors of other faiths and traditions, is a cause for great alarm.

The suffering of the Iraqi people is not limited to religious minorities. Already long-oppressed by the harsh rule of Saddam Hussein, and still impacted by sectarian conflict after the misguided US-led invasion and war there, all people of Iraq are now suffering horrific violence caused by extremist elements, especially the “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” (ISIS). There is absolutely no justification for this kind of extremist violence, and the NCC denounces it in the strongest possible terms.

In doing so, we condemn the killing of James Foley, the courageous journalist who was recently beheaded by ISIS. His killing demonstrates the utter depravity of violence motivated by corrupted religious fervor. We pray the captors will not carry through with their threat to kill another journalist still held, Steven Sotloff.

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NCC Statement Regarding the Death of Michael Brown

Washington, August 18, 2014 – The National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA deplores the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown at the hands of a police officer in Ferguson, MO on August 9 and supports a complete investigation of the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Brown.

Further, the Council expresses grave concern over the recent killings by police of several other African American men including on July 17, 43 year old Eric Garner in Staten Island, NY; on August 5, 22 year old John Crawford in Beavercreek, OH; and on August 11, 25 year old Ezell Ford in Los Angeles, CA.

“These killings, as well as those of hundreds of other Americans each year at the hands of increasingly militarized police forces is of great and growing concern. A peaceful, healthy society requires trust and positive relationships between citizens and law enforcement. That can best occur in circumstances in which deep-seated social problems such as racism and inequality are being addressed,” said Jim Winkler, NCC president and general secretary.

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National Council of Churches welcomes appointment of Rabbi David Saperstein as religious freedom ambassador

Washington, July 26, 2014 – Officers and staff of the National Council of Churches praised President Obama’s appointment of Rabbi David N. Saperstein as ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.

“David is a longtime friend and colleague as well as one of the nation’s leading voices for justice and religious freedom,” said NCC President and General Secretary Jim Winkler. “We applaud the selection of this skilled, sensitive, and eloquent leader for this important post.”

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National Council of Churches joins religious and human rights groups to call on Congress to protect fleeing children at the U.S. border

Washington, July 24, 2014 – A wide coalition of Protestant, Catholic, evangelical, Jewish groups, and human rights and development groups called on Congress yesterday to address the humanitarian crisis of tens of thousands of children from Central America who have been apprehended and detained at the U.S. border.

“The humanitarian crisis of unaccompanied children and families from Central America who have been apprehended and detained at the U.S. border has shined a glaring light on the violence, poverty and extreme desperation that the people living in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras confront daily,” said more than 40 human rights and faith groups, including the National Council of Churches.

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The NCC is a community of communions called by Christ to visible unity and sent forth in the Spirit to promote God’s justice, peace, and the healing of the world.

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August 22, 2014 15:19

August 22, 2014 11:46
Our friends at Faith in Public Life are spearheading a clergy sign on letter addressed to the people of Ferguson, MO. Clergy, click the link to add your name!

August 20, 2014 13:12
Michael Kinnamon, former General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, has a new book entitled "Can a Renewal Movement Be Renewed? Questions for the Future of Ecumenism". He argues that the ecumenical movement, which has given such energy and direction to the church, needs to be reconceived in a way that provides renewing power for the church in this era - and shows how this might happen. Click below to learn more and purchase the book!