The National Council of Churches (NCC) is leading an effort to collect signatures for an open letter to President Trump expressing “profound concern over the rise in tensions between the United States and North Korea.”
While not excusing the “unfortunate choice of language and careless posturing of [North Korean leader] Kim Jong Un, the letter insists that the president has “a responsibility to act with probity, tact, and care.”
It urges President Trump “to cease utilizing bellicose language and name-calling … and instead pursue diplomacy as befitting the leader of the free world.”
The National Council of Churches, founded in 1950, consists of 38 member communions, including 45 million members in more than 100,000 congregations. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is a founding member.
To sign on to the letter, go to: http://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/nkletter/
The full text of the letter:
Dear President Trump:
As people of faith, we write to you out of profound concern over the rise in tensions between the United States and North Korea. We recognize the unfortunate choice of language and careless posturing of Kim Jong Un. For the sake of peace, however, we urge you to cease utilizing bellicose language and name-calling in your public speeches and tweets and instead pursue diplomacy as befitting the leader of the free world.
Put simply, nuclear war must never take place. You are the leader of the world’s strongest nuclear superpower, and therefore you have a responsibility to act with probity, tact, and care. While we do not defend Kim Jong Un or condone the dangerous rhetoric employed by his regime, equally reckless talk by you could lead to a miscalculation in which millions of lives could be lost. Nuclear war that can destroy millions of people puts the whole world at risk and is fundamentally immoral. For this reason, we urge you to take the higher road, and thereby project strength that comes through silence.
Further, we urge you to launch a new, bold, and comprehensive diplomatic appeal to find a permanent solution to the problem of nuclear proliferation worldwide. Indeed, we are reminded of the words of President Reagan, who sought to abolish nuclear weapons while, at the same time, facing an existential threat from another nuclear power:
“I can’t believe that this world can go on beyond our generation and on down to succeeding generations with this kind of weapon on both sides poised at each other without someday some fool or some maniac or some accident triggering the kind of war that is the end of the line for all of us.”
—President Ronald Reagan, May 16, 1983
Mr. President, no threat of nuclear annihilation, nor even the limited use of nuclear weapons, can be justified by any form of moral thinking. We, as Americans of faith, urge you cease use of threatening speech, and redouble attempts to find peaceful and just solutions to the proliferation of nuclear weapons worldwide.
As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.”
—Luke 19:41–42 (NRSV)
Grace and peace,
The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA