Fellowship of Reconciliation condemns chemical weapons attacks and retaliation in Syria

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The Fellowship of Reconciliation understands and shares the outrage that people justifiably feel when told about a government deliberately killing its own people with outlawed chemical weapons. We do not believe in impunity for chemical weapons attacks. But the correct response is to hold to account those individuals who perpetrated the attack and those in the military and political chain of command who authorised and organised it.

We oppose retaliatory strikes, such as those carried out by the USA, France and Britain, on both principled and pragmatic grounds. Our conviction for over a century is that military force does not bring genuine peace. In practice, such escalation often multiplies the number of casualties and leads to more suffering. Moreover, the feeling that ‘we must do something’ should not mean that we do whatever is quickest or easiest, and especially when the stakes are so high we should think carefully of the consequences. We must not salve our outrage using the lives of others.

The Fellowship of Reconciliation was formed in the days before World War One to oppose war and to demonstrate that there could be another way. We hold fast to that message, and to the belief that the Christian way is to reach out, not to bomb, kill and maim. We want to break bread, not break bodies.