The bishop of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America (the Antiochian Orthodox Church = the Greek Orthodox church of Syria) has called on his followers to contact congress members and urge them to vote against Barack Obama’s plan for bombing Syria, because he said he feared that this would be “yet another step in the extermination of our Christian presence in the Middle East.”
Metropolitan Philip Urges Faithful to Contact Congress on Syria Vote
His Eminence Metropolitan Philip writes:
Beloved Hierarchs, Clergy and Faithful of our God-Protected Archdiocese:
Greetings to you and your families as we begin a new ecclesiastical year. I pray you had a pleasant summer. I write to you today as our president and United States Congress contemplate military action against Syria. As those of us with deep roots in that land already know, more bombs and destabilization of the country will only lead to further bloodshed and devastation. In my opinion, based on a lifetime of knowledge in that area of the world, it serves neither the interest of the United States, nor the Syrian people (or the people of the Middle East at large for that matter) to bomb and further destabilize the country. Extremists groups such as Al-Kaeda are waiting in the wings to prey on any weakness in the Syrian government and infrastructure. The results of such a bombing would be yet another step in the extermination of our Christian presence in the Middle East, a presence that dates to the dawn of Christianity. Our Church has already suffered greatly and has new martyrs waiting to be glorified –we do not need any more!
Therefore, I urge all of you during the next few days to contact your respective senators and congress people to urge them to vote NO to any unilateral military action by the United States. Time is of the essence so please distribute this email to everyone you know as quickly as possible and share this message on your Facebook and other mass media sites.
According to Wikipedia, Christians represent 63% of all Arab Americans. This percentage should be even higher among Syrian and Lebanese Americans.
The Greek Orthodox church of Syria is also the Greek Orthodox church of Lebanon, they are one church. So this bishop’s appeal concerns also Lebanese Americans.
If other Syrian-Lebanese (and Egyptian?) churches issue (or have issued) similar calls, then this should theoretically mean that a majority of Arab Americans will be against Obama’s plan for bombing Syria.
The Catholic churches (especially the Maronite church) are particularly important in this regard, because according to Wikipedia most Arab Christians in America are Catholics.
The Maronite church of Lebanon covers also Syria, and it actually has tens of thousands of followers in Syria. So I assume that this church should be concerned with what happens to Syria.
The bottom line is that most Arab Americans (including Syrian Americans of course) will probably be against Obama’s plan, and some of them will contact Congress members to express this.
The American public in general is also opposed to Obama’s plan, as shown by polls.
I don’t know how the US Congress would vote for something that is opposed by the majority of the people.
Addendum: other Christians should also sympathize
If Arab Christian churches take strong stances against Obama’s plan, then I assume that other Christian institutions in the US will be affected and will perhaps try to foil Obama’s plan.
The Catholics in particular are most important. As far as I know, Greek Orthodox Christianity is not very influential in the US; but the Roman Catholics are influential. They have a central organization, so the different branches can probably influence each other more easily.
The Vatican has already expressed its strong opposition to military intervention in Syria.
By NICOLE WINFIELD Associated Press
The Vatican is ramping up its opposition to threatened military strikes against Syria as it draws attention to Pope Francis’ plans to host a day of fasting and prayer for peace this weekend.
The Vatican has invited all ambassadors accredited to the Holy See to attend a briefing Thursday on the pope’s agenda for the four-hour vigil Saturday night in St. Peter’s Square, and bishops’ conferences from around the world have announced plans to host local versions of the vigil as well.
Even the Vatican’s often dysfunctional bureaucracy seems to be on message with the initiative, Francis’ first major foray into international diplomacy since being elected in March.
The No. 2 of the Vatican’s justice and peace office warned earlier this week that military action in Syria could spark a world war. The head of its office for families wrote a letter to Catholics urging parents to offer their children an “austere and minimal lunch” Saturday to participate in Francis’ fast. And the cardinal in charge of the Vatican’s office for Eastern rite Catholics warned in an interview with the Vatican newspaper that Christian minorities in the region would suffer the most from any military intervention.
Francis himself on Wednesday urged Catholics and non-Catholics alike to participate in Saturday’s vigil, telling more than 50,000 people gathered for his weekly general audience: “Let the cry for peace rise up across the Earth!”