Church leaders urge public to unite vs US intervention

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

CHURCH leaders from different countries called on the public to unite against the United States (US) interventionism in the affair of sovereign nations.

At least 30 bishops from the Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches of six countries gathered for a one-week conference on US interventionism from January 13 to 18 in Davao City.

Right Reverend Bishop Felixberto Calang of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente said the ecumenical bishops' conference is a gathering of bishops who have the critical observation on the situation of human rights and peace in each land.


Calang added that the conference is their response to what they believe is culpable US foreign policy of exporting its financial crisis to other sovereign nations including Sri Lanka, India, and Philippines.

"We are here to share and discuss how the US interventionism in sovereign nations affects not only the nation but also its people, and hopefully to come up positive or proper results on the issues discussed," Calang said.

Foreign markets, mining and commercial plantations, among others, were tackled as well as external policy and measures, deployment of troops and the economic crisis in the US resulting to a global crisis.

Thomas Heffner, a political analyst and owner of Compass USA, in a letter, cited at least two major indicators to underscore the gravity of the crisis, one, most people can no longer produce what they need to sustain for themselves.

"We import more than we export, and we're selling our assets and taking on massive debts to sustain a standard of living we can no longer afford," Heffner said.

"Second, we're failing even to acknowledge predatory foreign trade practices under mining US industry. Instead, we'd encourage US manufacturers to design, engineer, and produce in third world markets like Mexico and China," he added.

Heffner said any economic disturbance in US as being the lone world power affects other countries, as US addresses its crisis through implementing internal measures and intervening with other sovereign states.

This holds true as Bishop Dennis Drainville of Anglican Bishop of Quebec in Canada, in a separate interview, said he observed the domination of the foreign powers in few other nations.

"Like the situation here (in the Philippines) wherein international corporations have more power than the Filipinos because the government allows them (the foreign companies) to be here and to take the land of the people," Drainville said.

"I came from Canada and I'm ashamed to say that Canadian companies are among in the forefronts in extracting natural resources from other states around the world, they pollute and use paramilitaries to push people off from their land," he added.

Drainville said he is ashamed of the current situation of the country, the reason he joined the conference in solidarity with those from other countries affected by the US interventions.

"I believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ in which we're all called to live in peace and harmony. If we love God and if we love our neighbors then we must response to the injustices that is happening around us. We must be united," Drainville said.

Bishop Greevrghese Mor Coorilos of Syrian Orthodox Church in India said they are reflecting, discussing and trying to address the US interventionism issue. He added that the people must be preached and reminded with the wisdom of God.

"One of our moral responsibilities is to preach and spread the gospel of justice, of love, and of integrity of creation. It is also our task to call for justice in conflict in various countries, bring these into forum and have a suggestion," Coorilos said.

Calang said the struggles that occurred in this land and other sovereign nations will be spread around the world so that people will comprehend and have the courage to sustain the solidarity and come up with the best resolution to end US intervention.

"The call of the church is the promise of our Lord God that all these people will live in abundance, in harmony, and in just and lasting peace. We would like to share this all over the world," Calang said.

He added that the forum was made after Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte has rejected a US proposal to put up a drone program that is supposed to be mounted at the city's old airport in Sasa.

"We are really thankful to the city mayor. And we want him to know that we in the Ecumenical Bishops Forum (EBF) support his stand against the US drone program," Calang said.

The EBF, spearheaded by the international conference, was attended by church leaders from Canada, Norway, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, India, and Philippines. (Ivy C. Tejano/Sun.Star Davao)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 18, 2014.

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