Joint Statement by Bishop George Browning (Anglican), The Revd Dr Thorwald Lorenzen (Baptist), Archbishop Frank Carroll (Catholic), The Revd Wendy Snook (Uniting) and Pastor Sean Stanton (Pentecostal Churches)
[Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn] As leaders of the Christian community we write out of great concern for the peace and justice of our world.
We share with all Australians concern about the possibility of war with Iraq and of the potential for Australian involvement.
We assure the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and all political leaders of our prayers in a time when decisions will weigh heavily on hearts and consciences.
We are dismayed by the callous disregard shown by the leader of Iraq for his own people, their welfare and security and for the peace and security of the world. We recognise the responsibility of the world community to respond to the threat this imposes both to the people of Iraq, as well as the people of the world.
However, we also reaffirm the following:
- We believe that war is always the worst possible option
- We do not believe that all diplomatic avenues to avoid war have been explored
- We do not believe that Australia can or should be involved in any overseas conflict without the express permission and direction of the international community through the United Nations. To do so undermines the authority of the United Nations and consequently makes it even more difficult to solve similar problems in the future
- We believe that involvement in this war may not be in Australia's interest and could have detrimental effects on our relationships with our near neighbours in Asia
- We greatly fear the consequences of war for innocent civilians in Iraq and for the stability of the region
- Finally we simply do not understand. We assume there must be a reason that has not yet been revealed. We believe Australians and the world community must have this reason made plain
Again, this statement comes with genuine assurance of prayers both for our leaders and for Australian troops.