Joel Hunter, Jim Wallis, and 49 Other Christian Faith Leaders Send Letter to Congress Urging Acceptance of Iran Nuclear Deal

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif shakes hands on January 14, 2015 with US State Secretary John Kerry in Geneva. (RICK WILKING/AFP/Getty Images)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif shakes hands on January 14, 2015 with US State Secretary John Kerry in Geneva. (RICK WILKING/AFP/Getty Images)

The following press release was sent out by the Friends Committee on National Legislation:

51 Christian leaders representing dozens of denominations and Christian organizations sent a letter to Congress today, urging lawmakers to vote in favor of the Vienna agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program.

The letter, signed by leaders from all the major streams of Christianity in the United States— Roman Catholic, evangelical, mainline Protestant and Orthodox, warns lawmakers that “rejection of this deal would be a rejection of the historic progress our diplomats have made to make this world a safer place.”

“Faith communities are mobilizing en masse to urge lawmakers to vote for the Iran deal, to support diplomacy as an effective foreign policy approach,” said Diane Randall, the Executive Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation. “When members of Congress cast their vote, we want them to know that Christians from diverse traditions will support a vote for peace over risking war.”

The signatories include leaders from diverse Christian denominations and include the support of various Baptist, Catholic, evangelical, Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopal, Orthodox, Mennonite, Quaker and Church of the Brethren organizations.

The full text of the letter and signers are listed below.

Christian Leaders Urge Congress to Vote for Diplomatic Agreement with Iran

Dear Member of Congress:

As Christian leaders in the United States, we are writing to urge you to vote in support of the negotiated settlement over Iran’s nuclear program. We live by God’s call to “seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14). After decades of hostility, the international community has crafted a nuclear accord to limit Iran’s nuclear program and prevent the United States from moving closer toward another devastating war in the Middle East.

The July 2015 diplomatic agreement with Iran will dramatically shrink and impose unprecedented constraints on Iran’s nuclear program. In exchange, the international community will begin to lift sanctions on Iran. It also establishes the most robust monitoring and inspection regime ever negotiated to verify Iran’s compliance with the restrictions on its nuclear program.

As Christians, we feel called to speak out for the possibility of peace. As faith leaders from the only country that has ever used nuclear weapons in war, we have a particular responsibility to speak boldly when opportunities arise that lead to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation at home and around the world. This historic accord moves us one small step closer to a world free of nuclear weapons.

This agreement helps de-escalate tension in a region that is already suffering the effects of war and violence in ways unimaginable to most of us in the United States. It is also a testament to the effectiveness of diplomacy to take countries from the brink of war and resolve concerns peacefully.

This is a moment to remember the wisdom of Jesus who proclaimed from the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9).This agreement moves us further away from the possibility of war and another nuclear-armed nation. There is no question we are all better off with this deal than without it. Rejection of this deal would be a rejection of the historic progress our diplomats have made to make this world a safer place.

The stakes on this matter have never been higher. That is why more than forty national organizations, including more than a dozen faith-based groups, wrote a letter earlier this year urging lawmakers to vote in support of this deal. The groups noted that this “will be among the most consequential national security votes taken by Congress since the decision to authorize the invasion of Iraq.”

As people of faith, we urge you to support the international agreement with Iran and reject legislation to undermine the deal. We will be praying for you.


Paul Nathan Alexander, PhD
Director, The Sider Center
President, Evangelicals for Social Action

Rev. Donald H Ashmall
Council Minister
International Council of Community Churches

Archbishop Vicken Aykazian
Armenian Orthodox Church

Bishop Warner H. Brown
President, The Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church

Rev Julia Brown Karimu
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ

J Ron Byler
Executive Director
Mennonite Central Committee

Sister Patricia Chappell
Executive Director
Pax Christi USA

Simone Campbell, SSS,
Executive Director
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

Patrick Carolan
Executive Director
Franciscan Action Network

Shane Claiborne
Red Letter Christians/The Simple Way

Rev. Paula Clayton Dempsey
Director of Partnership Relations
Alliance of Baptists

Shan Cretin
General Secretary
American Friends Service Committee

Marie Dennis
Pax Christi International

Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer
General Minister and President
United Church of Christ

Rev. Thomas De Vries
General Secretary
Reformed Church in America

Adam Estle*
Executive Director
Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding

Rev. Raymond Finch, MM
Superior General
Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers

Very Rev. Jim Greenfield OSFS
Conference of Major Superiors of Men

Sr. Antoinette Guntzler, MM
Maryknoll Sisters

John Hartley*
Executive Director
Pathways for Mutual Respect

Nathan Hosler
Director, Office of Public Witness
Church of the Brethren

Jon Huckins*
Co-Founding Director
The Global Immersion Project

Dr. Joel C. Hunter*
Senior Pastor
Northland A Church Distributed

Rev. Linda Jaramillo
Executive Minister
Justice and Witness Ministries, United Church of Christ

The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori
President Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

Francis E. Kreps
Presiding Bishop Elect
Ecumenical Catholic Communion

Rev. Carlos Malave*
Executive Director
Christian Churches Together

Ed Martin*
Center for Interfaith Engagement
Eastern Mennonite University

Rev. John L. McCullough
President and CEO
Church World Service

Sister Patricia McDermott RSM
President Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

Rev. Dr. Roy Medley
General Secretary
American Baptist Churches USA

Rev. Dr James Moos
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ

Bishop W. Darin Moore
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

Very Rev. Kevin Mullen, OFM
Provincial Superior, Holy Name Province

Rev. Timothy Mulroy, SSC
U.S. Regional Director
Missionary Society of St. Columban

Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness

Stanley J. Noffsinger
General Secretary
Church of the Brethren

Rev. Grayde Parsons
Stated Clerk
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Diane Randall
Executive Secretary
Friends Committee on National Legislation

Fred Rotondaro
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good

Colin Saxton *
General Secretary
Friends United Meeting

Stephen Schneck
Director, Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies
Catholic University of America

Rev. Dr. Stephen J. Sidorak
Ecumenical Staff Officer
The United Methodist Church

Sam Stanton
Maryknoll Lay Missioners

Joan Marie Stedman, CSC
Executive Director
Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Rev. Kristin Stoneking
Executive Director
Fellowship of Reconciliation

Bishop Mary Ann Swenson
Ecumenical Officer of the Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church

Bishop Geevarghese Mar Theodosius
Diocesan Bishop
Mar Thoma Church

Jim Wallis
President and Founder

Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins
General Minister and President
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Jim Winkler
President and General Secretary
National Council of Churches

* Affiliation listed for identification purposes only

SOURCE: Mondoweiss

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