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December 14, 2009

Conservative Christians urge sanctions on Iran

A coalition of conservative Christian leaders is lobbying the House of Representatives to pass “tough sanctions” to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

"Now that supermajorities in the House and Senate have made their support for sanctions known, and now that the Iranian regime has made its increasing defiance clear to the world, the time for Congress to act has arrived," Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, said in a statement.

The letter urges the House to pass 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 to Iran; or finance or broker those shipments, and to consider “other, targeted sanctions as may be required to demonstrate our seriousness to the Iranian regime.”

“As the clock runs out, we must remember that Iran remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, is funding Hezbollah and Hamas in Lebanon and Gaza, has sought to destabilize democratic and Western-leaning regimes throughout the Middle East, is currently arresting and detaining political opponents, actively persecutes its Christian citizens, has shot protestors in cold blood in the streets, and its president has denied the Holocaust and vowed to wipe Israel off the face of the earth,” the letter concludes. “We speak out today on behalf of millions of Christians who believe that the interests of peace and security would best be served by our elected representatives sending a powerful signal that this tyrannical Iranian regime shall never threaten the world with nuclear weapons.”

Signers include Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship Ministries and BreakPoint, Pat Robertson of Christian Broadcasting Network, Richard Land of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, Gary Bauer of American Values, Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, John Hagee of the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, and Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice.

The letter follows, after the jump.

• Hon. Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House of Representatives

• Hon. John A. Boehner
House Minority Leader

• Hon. Howard L. Berman
Chairman, House Foreign Relations Committee

• Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Ranking Member, House Foreign Relations Committee

December 10, 2009

Dear Member of Congress:

We write to you today as Christian leaders, deeply concerned about Iran obtaining nuclear weapons, and urge you to bring legislation to the floor of the House and Senate that will impose meaningful sanctions against the Iranian regime unless and until Iran abandons its efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

At the onset of his diplomatic effort with Iran this spring, President Obama said that "by the end of the year we should have some sense whether or not these discussions are starting to yield significant benefits,” and specifically held out the prospect of sanctions against Tehran "to ensure that Iran understands we are serious." That deadline is mere days away, and just as President Obama said, Tehran needs proof we are serious.

In a report issued November 26, the IAEA Director General reluctantly concluded that talks meant to steer Iran’s nuclear program away from weapons development had come to a dead end because Iran has repeatedly lied about the extent of its nuclear enrichment program. This was most recently demonstrated by the discovery of a secret Iranian nuclear facility, the existence of which Iran has repeatedly denied. The IAEA member nations that "there has been no movement on remaining issues of concern which need to be clarified for the agency to verify the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program," and that the IAEA has "effectively reached a dead end, unless Iran engages fully with us." As you know, the "issues of concern" to which the IAEA referred are the growing body of evidence that the Iranian regime has experimented with nuclear weapons programs, including missile-delivery systems and tests of explosives that could serve as nuclear-bomb detonators.

Powerful voices within the Iranian government have responded with defiance to the IAEA report and its resolution condemning Iran’s secret nuclear-enrichment plant in Qom. On November 30, the Speaker of Iran’s parliament, Ali Larijani, suggested Iran will withdraw from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. And, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, said that, as a direct response to the IAEA resolution, Iran intends to build an additional 10 nuclear enrichment facilities – which would give Iran a total of 500,000 centrifuges, enough to produce over 150 bombs a year.

The stakes are exceedingly high. 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. As the world's leading state sponsor of international terror, we must assume Iran will sell or give nuclear weapons to extremist groups that are declared and demonstrated enemies to America and her allies.

As demonstrated by their co-sponsorship of implementing legislation, an overwhelming, bipartisan consensus exists among your colleagues in the House and Senate in support of 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 to Iran; or finance or broker those shipments. Although these proposed sanctions are a serious start, we urge you to consider other, targeted sanctions as may be required to demonstrate our seriousness to the Iranian regime.

There is an overwhelming bipartisan consensus in Congress in favor of these sanctions. President Obama’s December 31 deadline is days away. And the IAEA has concluded that diplomatic efforts have reached a dead end. It is time for you to bring legislation implementing these sanctions to the floor for a vote. Additionally we urge you to make your actions and concerns known to the United Nations Security Council and our allies in the international community who share a common interest in preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

As the clock runs out, we must remember that Iran remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, is funding Hezbollah and Hamas in Lebanon and Gaza, has sought to destabilize democratic and Western-leaning regimes throughout the Middle East, is currently arresting and detaining political opponents, actively persecutes its Christian citizens, has shot protestors in cold blood in the streets, and its president has denied the Holocaust and vowed to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. We speak out today on behalf of millions of Christians who believe that the interests of peace and security would best be served by our elected representatives sending a powerful signal that this tyrannical Iranian regime shall never threaten the world with nuclear weapons.

Sincerely,

Dr. Pat Robertson, President of Christian Broadcasting Network
Chuck Colson, chairman, BreakPoint
Richard Land, President of Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention
Tom Minnery, Senior Vice President of Government and Public Policy at Focus on the Family
Dr. John Hagee, Cornerstone Church, San Antonio, Texas
Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America
Colin A. Hanna, President of Let Freedom Ring
Michael Little, President of Christian Broadcasting Network
Anthony Verdugo, Founder and Executive Director of Christian Family Coalition
C. Preston Noell, III, President of Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.
Micah Clark, Executive Director of American Family Association of Indiana
Michael Novak, Author, Scholar and awarded 1994 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion
Matthew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel
Dr. Benny Tate, Senior Pastor, Rock Springs Church, Milner, GA
Jack Rohrer, President of Virginia Faith and Freedom Coalition
Robert E. Reccord, President of Total Life Impact Ministries
Ron Shuping, Executive VP of Programming, The Inspiration Networks
William A. Donohue, President of The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
Ronald J. Rychlak, MDLA Professor of Law, University of Mississippi, School of Law
Diana L. Banister, Vice President and Partner of Shirley & Banister Public Affairs
Deal Hudson, Executive Director of Catholic Advocate
Mark A. Smith, President of Ohio Christian University
Dr. Richard Lee, President of There’s Hope America
Jack Whelan, Chairman of Culture of Life Foundation
Peter Huessy, President of GeoStrategic Analysis of Potomac, Maryland
Bobby Eberle, President of GOPUSA
Bud Hansen, Papal Foundation
Jeffrey Karls, President of Magdalen College
David R. Carlin, Professor of Sociology and Philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island
Al Kresta, Executive Producer of Ave Maria Radio
Cortes E. DeRussy, Bronxville, NY, Former Board Chair, Crisis Magazine
Dr. James Merritt, Senior Pastor, Cross Pointe Church, Duluth, GA
Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, Chairman of Traditional Values Coalition
Jordan Sekulow, Director of International Operations at American Center for Law and Justice
Gary L. Bauer, President of American Values
Jim Martin, 60-Plus

Posted by Matthew Hay Brown at 12:38 PM | | Comments (13)
        

Comments

IRAN IS VERY DANGEROUS

It is all BS. Iran is not out for A bomb. They know that. They want more war. Same BS as Irak.

You can almost get a connection to the ultra-right-wing Cult of Sun Myung Moon, by pairing up any name on the list above with his in a web search. A veritable who's who of fanatic right-wing Jesus freaks, who have forgotten the message their supposed savior charged them with when he instructed his followers in the meaning and practice of compassion for their fellow Human beings. Any list that has that fat pustulating spitter of bible couched hatred, John "Consumer of Bakeries" Hagee on it, isn't worth the match it would take to dispose of it.

Boy! Proboscis in national policies--gay rights, abortion rights--you name it the conservative right wingers are at the throats of women, gays and every one else they claim is against their Great Book of Wonders and miracles. Now they are jumping in the international fray, creating the specter of a nuclear Iran being a threat to Israel--they ooze love for Israel even as they claim that the second coming of the messiah is somehow tied to an international conflict wherein Israel will meet its demise--the demise is eagerly anticipated by the apocalypse lovers, because it is predicted to coincide with the rapture and the arrival of their savior, a god who they claim, will separate chaff from grain--non believers from believers. These men would love nothing better than an outright war with Iran--they would even say that Jesus would endorse the preemptive wars they want to fight as JUST Wars--that oxymoron of a term is no more than a pathetic facade for their aggression and their manipulation of American policies in a direction that will fulfill Biblical predictions--take us to the brink of the apocalypse, then tell us that the ancient prophecies are coming true--cynical is not the word for it--downright sinister is what I would call this unified conservative rant against Iran.
Ravensfan Anon

I agree with the letter completely. Iran is a threat to everyone, not just Christians and Jews. I personally feel that Christ will be back before it all goes down, and I will be taken up with Him. All of the unsaved, including many here, can dance around with Iran and all the other crazies. And you wonder why I complain about Obama's pro Muslim stance. It is really all about Muslim extremism more than Iran. There are many in Iran who want freedom. Abraham maybe shouldnt have sent that servant mom into the desert with her loud mouth jealous son. I guess Abraham didnt know that he would later try to blow everything up. He wont win though. God will see to it. What Abraham did do right was be willing to sacrifice the Jewish son when God tested him.

Clay - You are only embarrassing yourself by your continuing effort to show the world that you are clearly nuts. Everything you believe is a made-up fairy-tale and by dedicating your life to the absurd, you become nothing but a waste of skin.

There is nothing in your mythology of a Bible Clay to say that either Hagar or her son Ishmail were loud mouthed. Don't disparage the dead even if they only are fictional. You have an indescribable hatred for the Muslims--you will never be raptured even by Biblical standards--you love not your fellow men as your lord and master commanded you to do--instead every chance you get you throw aspersions at them and you accost them with suspicion and hatred who don't believe exactly as you do. I see you on the day of the rapture, "Why are you leaving me behind with Robert Littel and Ravensfan Anon lord--I have believed in you, witnessed for you, spread your word even when they mocked me, I have waited for you with bated breath and why O why are you casting me out with the non believers?" Thus you would plead with the lord. And the lord would reply, "Verily, verily I say unto thee Clay--you bore me--you have been too much of a goody, goody--you say the same things like a broken record. I want variety--I want some interesting people around me. Heaven is too monotonous to bear--Satan's having all the fun skewering and roasting people and I am having a yawn--I don't want to add to the length of my winding days by taking you up there with me--hence I am leaving you unraptured with Robert Littel and Ravensfan Anon! I may come back a third time to listen to Robert Littel because he makes me laugh but for you Clay I have a parable--it is easier for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle but not so easy for a man who spouts pieties and eternal nonsense to do the same. Verily, verily, I say unto thee--cut it out--give it a break--get thee some sense--good bye!" The tragedy in this story? Robert Littel and I will be stuck with you instead of the lord if it comes true--ah, what exquisite torture.
Ravensfan Anon

Well the bible says that Ishmael became jealous of Isaac and that it became a problem for Abraham. I also said nothing about his mother being loud mouthed. You guys are too proud to read the bible to find out what happened before making comments. If you dont believe, why do you even bother to make comments to begin with? I dont hate Muslims. I am telling you what happened and what is going to happen. I cant understand why you bother to make the comments.

Clay - If we did not comment to counter idiots who spout the crap you spread around these forums, then idiocy would be perceived as the norm. That you want us to shut up and let you have your way, is only a continuation of the traditional method of absolutist fascists to silence the voice of reason, formerly enforced by killing us. Aren't we lucky that we now live in a secular society where not only is your right to spew stupidity protected, but our right to point it out is also protected.

And I should have added that Iran's current dictatorship in power is loud mouthed and jealous of Israel. Some things dont change. But it will. Thanks.

I do not think it becoming of American christian leaders to publicly boast of their country's moral superiority. Frankly it makes America seem supremacist. Evangelicals should recognize how their rhetoric sounds to the rest of the (non-Evangelical) world.

Good Christians should strongly oppose harming innocent civilians to eliminate a political threat. Since when was massive collateral damage acceptable? The Iranian regime will hoard all the gasoline it needs to operate, while 70 million ordinary citizens will suffer without gas to get to work, and shortages of food and goods on market shelves. And let's not forget the loss of life and property with the inevitable gas riots.

Afterward the morally superior American conservatives will justify their actions of harming an inferior non-christian populous.

Anyone who is more worried about gasoline than living needs to make an adjustment, religion involved or not.

Gasoline is the equivalent of living Clay--you don't expect to be killed by Iran do you? By Pakistan more likely but by Iran? You are not planning to move to Israel in the near future are you? None of the terrorists who perpetrated 9/11 came from Iran--most of them came from Saudi Arabia our friend and they trained in Pakistan, our friend and ally. These pastors are nuts--they want to rewrite world politics to reflect the gospel according to the apocalypse and the rapture. Their only aim is to provoke war--a just war they will call it--we should make these pastors the lead phalanx in a war with Iran and Sarah--Pale Brain of Arc can carry their banner for them. Then we can all sit back and hope that the entire pack will disappear in the Iranian desert.
Ravensfan Anon

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About Matthew Hay Brown
Matthew Hay Brown writes and blogs about faith and values in public and private life for The Baltimore Sun. A former Washington correspondent for the newspaper, he has long written about the intersection of religion and politics. He has reported from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, traveling most recently to Syria and Jordan to write about the Iraqi refugee crisis.
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