Local News

Churches Have Mixed Opinions About Potential War With Iraq

Posted February 27, 2003

— Religious leaders are staking out their positions on a potential war with Iraq. Even members of the same faith can disagree about when war is justified.

The peace movement is uniting some people of diverse faiths in a common belief: waging war on Iraq violates the teachings of their different religions.

The Rev. Jack McKinney leads Pullen Memorial Baptist in Raleigh. He said most Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and Muslim leaders have spoken out against a war in Iraq.

"If the church feels the government is over-reaching, we have to stand up and say we don't think this is wise," he said.

However, not all religious leaders are on the same page.

"I think there is just cause for war with Iraq right now," said Paige Patterson, president of the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Patterson and other Southern Baptist leaders call action against Iraq a "just" war. While mainline religions do not usually advocate war, evangelical Christians believe it can be a moral necessity.

"We've seen crimes against Iraqis and Kuwaitis. One can only allow this to go so far, we have to intervene on behalf of the Kurds, for example," Patterson said.

In 1991, President George Bush used the "just" war philosophy to explain the morality of the Persian Gulf War.

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