By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
A letter urging Congress to do more to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon has been sent by a new coalition representing millions of Roman Catholic, evangelical and other Christian denominations.
“For the world’s most dangerous regime to obtain the world’s most dangerous weapons is something that neither the United States nor the community of nations can allow,” says the letter, written by Christian Leaders for a Nuclear-Free Iran and signed by more than 50 religious and conservative leaders.
“A nuclear-armed Iran is almost certain to initiate an arms race with other Middle Eastern and Arab nations who have reason to fear the religious, political and military ambitions of Iran’s extremist leaders,” the letter says. “As the world’s leading state sponsor of international terror, we must assume Iran will sell or give a nuclear weapons to extremist groups that are declared and demonstrated enemies to America and her allies.”
The letter urges Congress to take immediate action to “address Iran’s program to develop and deploy nuclear weapons by imposing economic sanctions on foreign companies that: export refined petroleum products, including gasoline, to Iran; help maintain Iran’s domestic refining capacity; provide ships or shipping services to transport such products; underwrite those shipments; or finance or broker those shipments.”
The letter was issued the day before Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York in which he said it was time for the world to “respond” to the Jewish state.
“How can crimes of the occupiers against defenseless women and children and destruction of their homes, farms, hospitals and schools be supported unconditionally by certain governments?” Ahamadinejad asked.
Even while whole delegations walked out on the speech, the Iranian leader continued his tirade, saying “It is no longer acceptable that a small minority would dominate the politics, economy and culture of major parts of the world by its complicated networks, and establish a new form of slavery, and harm the reputation of other nations, even European nations and the U.S., to attain its racist ambitions.”
Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, told CNSNews.com that the letter to Congress comes at a critical time.
“ . . . (W)e’re at a critical juncture here,” Reed said. “This administration set a Sept. 15 deadline for a substantive response from Iran regarding its nuclear activity. That deadline has now passed. This is a very delicate and timely moment for such a statement from the faith community to be made.”
Reed said a total embargo and a cut-off of exports of refined petroleum products, including gasoline, are firm yet peaceful measures against Iran, which is listed as one the world’s leading state sponsors of terrorism. Although Iran has large oil reserves, it has been unable to refine its petroleum products and is vulnerable to such sanctions, he said.
Reed believes their letter will be welcomed on Capitol Hill.
“Two thirds of the members of the Senate and the House are already co-sponsoring legislation that would achieve two of the aims mentioned in this letter – namely a total arms embargo on Iran and a cut-off of petroleum product imports into Iran.”
Some of the leaders who signed off on the letter include Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights; Pat Robertson of Christian Broadcasting Network; Southern Baptist Convention chairman and pastor Johnny Hunt; Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship; Richard Land of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; Dr. Michael Youssef of Leading the Way; Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America; Gary Bauer of American Values and John Hagee of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio.
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