Condoleezza Rice faces anti-war protests at Christian college

By staff writers
May 25, 2006

Condoleezza Rice faces anti-war protests at Christian college

-25/05/06

As plans continue in the US and in Britain for troop reductions in Iraq, following the formation of a new government, United States secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, speaking in Boston, has claimed that the Bush administration's actions in Iraq are not in not conflict with Catholic teachings.

But Boston College theology professors David Hollenbach and Kenneth Himeshave joined students in protesting against the visit. Dozens of faculty and students turned their backs and waved protest signs when Ms Rice received an honorary degree

With the exception of the well-organised Christian right, churches across the world have overwhelmingly opposed the pre-emptive Western military invasion and occupation in Iraq, which critics say has stoked militant Islamism and contributed to an escalating cycle of injustice and violence.

But in her commencement address at Boston College on Monday, the secretary of state took a different view: "We have overthrown a dictator who brutalized his population.... Sometimes you have to get rid of really, really bad regimes", she declared.

The Jesuit school has been deeply divided over the invitation to the secretary of state to give the address. More than 200 members of the faculty signed a letter penned by two leading theologians, objecting to the college's invitation.

Peace activists held rally outside the commencement event. As happened during her recent visit to Europe, protestors have followed Ms Rice on many of her local visits.

"People have the right to say whatever they wish," Rice said. "That's the great blessing of living in a free country."

Human rights and peace campaigners have welcomed the removal of the brutal dictator Saddam Hussein, but point out that the premise of the invasion was not this but what turned out to be non-existent weapons of mass destruction.

They say that the means of Saddamís defeat, imposed from without, has opened up deep new wounds and additional suffering on the Iraqi people.

The Pope is among senior church leaders who criticised Western policy in Iraq. Both mainstream Catholic and ecumenical Protestant teaching has moved decisively towards a peacemaking and peacebuilding approach in recent years ñ recognising the distinctive contribution churches can make.

The most radical approach has been that of Christian Peacemaker Teams, backed by Mennonites and other historic peace churches.

[Also on Ekklesia: Christian peacemakers protest on third anniversary of Iraq invasion; 89 year old begins prison sentence after peace protest; Christians convicted after nonviolent protest; US churches apologise over Iraq war; Prime Minister faces backlash over speech about moral war with Iraq; Bishops call for post-9/11 rethink on force and freedom; Police seize Christian's anti-war placards; Prime Minister faces backlash over moral speech on iraq]

Condoleezza Rice faces anti-war protests at Christian college

-25/05/06

As plans continue in the US and in Britain for troop reductions in Iraq, following the formation of a new government, United States secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, speaking in Boston, has claimed that the Bush administration's actions in Iraq are not in not conflict with Catholic teachings.

But Boston College theology professors David Hollenbach and Kenneth Himeshave joined students in protesting against the visit. Dozens of faculty and students turned their backs and waved protest signs when Ms Rice received an honorary degree

With the exception of the well-organised Christian right, churches across the world have overwhelmingly opposed the pre-emptive Western military invasion and occupation in Iraq, which critics say has stoked militant Islamism and contributed to an escalating cycle of injustice and violence.

But in her commencement address at Boston College on Monday, the secretary of state took a different view: "We have overthrown a dictator who brutalized his population.... Sometimes you have to get rid of really, really bad regimes", she declared.

The Jesuit school has been deeply divided over the invitation to the secretary of state to give the address. More than 200 members of the faculty signed a letter penned by two leading theologians, objecting to the college's invitation.

Peace activists held rally outside the commencement event. As happened during her recent visit to Europe, protestors have followed Ms Rice on many of her local visits.

"People have the right to say whatever they wish," Rice said. "That's the great blessing of living in a free country."

Human rights and peace campaigners have welcomed the removal of the brutal dictator Saddam Hussein, but point out that the premise of the invasion was not this but what turned out to be non-existent weapons of mass destruction.

They say that the means of Saddamís defeat, imposed from without, has opened up deep new wounds and additional suffering on the Iraqi people.

The Pope is among senior church leaders who criticised Western policy in Iraq. Both mainstream Catholic and ecumenical Protestant teaching has moved decisively towards a peacemaking and peacebuilding approach in recent years ñ recognising the distinctive contribution churches can make.

The most radical approach has been that of Christian Peacemaker Teams, backed by Mennonites and other historic peace churches.

[Also on Ekklesia: Christian peacemakers protest on third anniversary of Iraq invasion; 89 year old begins prison sentence after peace protest; Christians convicted after nonviolent protest; US churches apologise over Iraq war; Prime Minister faces backlash over speech about moral war with Iraq; Bishops call for post-9/11 rethink on force and freedom; Police seize Christian's anti-war placards; Prime Minister faces backlash over moral speech on iraq]

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