Sweeney Issues Statement on Cycle of Violence in the Middle East
On December 2, Ian Sweeney, president of Seventh-day Adventist Church in the UK & Ireland released the following statement about violence in Iraq and Syria.
A CALL TO END THE CYCLE OF VIOLENCE
2nd December 2015
The increasing levels of violence and numbers of displaced people resulting from atrocities in Iraq, Syria and other war torn parts of the world fill our hearts with sorrow. We stand in solidarity with those who have lost loved ones, livelihoods and homes. Our fervent prayers are with all those who suffer.
Today (2 December), the UK Parliament has voted for our armed forces to engage in air strikes in Syria. While there is full recognition that the issues surrounding the fight against terrorism are complex and nuanced, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is nevertheless committed to pursuing and exhibiting peace.
As a Church we express our grave concern about the ongoing violence in Syria which continues to bring loss of life, misery and suffering to innocent men, women and children and the displacement of some 3 million Syrians.
We call on all sides engaged in the Syrian conflict to cease military activities and resort to peaceful methods of resolving the conflict. It is our belief that dialogue and negotiations, however difficult, are preferable to violence and war.
While we understand that peace cannot be found in official statements, we will nevertheless seek to bring some measure of peace, wherever we can, to those whose lives have been touched by war.
The belief that violence should be repaid with violence is against our Christian biblical understanding and does not deliver the intended results. We endorse the sentiments of the late Dr Martin Luther King Jr when he said,
“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”