The Peacemaking and International Issues Committee of the Presbyterian Church (USA) is recommending that the denomination's 219th General Assembly should call on the US government to end combat operations in Afghanistan.
The committee voted 49-2 on the recommendation on Monday 5 July 2010. The PC (USA) has made no statement calling for peace in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001.
The action asks that all combat operations cease “except those to protect Coalition troops remaining, Afghani security force troops and humanitarian efforts.”
It also recommends expanded humanitarian aid and the creation of a consensus building process that includes all stakeholders.
“Whether we like it or not, people around the world associate what is going on in both Iraq and Afghanistan as a war of Christians against Muslims,” said Rick Ufford-Chase, a former General Assembly Moderator. Therefore, he stressed that it is important for the church to express its opposition.
The proposal was submitted by the Greater Atlanta Presbytery. Similar overtures were submitted by three other presbyteries Hudson River, Scioto Valley and San Francisco. The committee declared that those overtures were answered by the statement it approved.
The committee also recommended that the Assembly pass actions related to peacemaking in Sudan and on the Korean peninsula.
The move on Afghanistan is part of a growing movement of pressure on President Barack Obama from church and other peace groups.