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US delegates say sorry over Iraq

REPRESENTATIVES of the US Conference for the World Council of Churches described the Iraq war as a "mistake" and apologised to the ecumenical community for not raising a loud enough prophetic voice to prevent it.

Its moderator, the Very Revd Leonid Kishkovsky, said: "We lament with special anguish the war in Iraq, launched with deception, and violating global norms of justice and human rights."

The US had responded to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 "by seeking to reclaim a privileged and secure place in the world, raining down terror on the truly vulnerable among our global neighbours", the statement said.

"Our leaders turned a deaf ear to the voices of church leaders throughout our nation and the world, entering into imperial projects that seek to dominate and control for the sake of our own national interests. Nations have been demonised, and God has been enlisted in agendas that are nothing short of idolatrous."

The statement, in the form of a prayer, also expressed repentance for the US refusal to acknowledge its responsibility over global warming, its rejection of multilateral agreements aimed at reversing "disastrous trends", and its refusal to confront "the racism that infects our policies around the world".

The Revd John Thomas, president of United Church of Christ, said that an emerging theme in conversation with partners around the world was that the US was being perceived as a dangerous nation.

Coca-Cola boycott
A BOYCOTT of Coca-Cola was called for by Angelious Michael, from the Jeypore Evangelical Lutheran Church in India. He said that, at two villages in the southern state of Kerala, ground-water levels sank when Coca-Cola opened two factories. Waste products were also polluting the environment. The Assembly also heard of the entrenchment of the caste system in the Church in India. Dalits had become Christians in large numbers, said the Bishop of Chennai, the Rt Revd V. Devasahayam, of the Church of South India.

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