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Dear Mr. President: Words of Resistance, Reason, and Peace

Letter To Congress Urging Nonviolence
From NETWORK, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

September 14, 2001

NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby denounces the violence our nation experienced with the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. We pray for those who have died and those who are injured. We offer our condolences and prayers for the families, friends and colleagues of those who died. In this time of national sorrow, we find solace in the selflessness of our firefighters, police officers, rescue personnel, doctors, nurses and the hundreds of citizens who are assisting them. They represent humanity at its finest.

Such unconscionable violence, as we have experienced, generates disbelief, deep anger, and then is often followed by the desire to respond in kind. But we must resist this desire. Now is a time for self-reflection and restraint.

President Bush, the Administration and you, in Congress, are deliberating your response, for indeed response in the name of the people of this great nation is warranted. NETWORK urges that the nature of that response reflects the best of this nation a nation committed to the dignity and equality of each human being, to the protection of human rights, to freedom, peace and justice for all.

NETWORK urges that we not respond with violence. As a nation committed to democracy and human rights, our response should offer a model that can be utilized by any nation in the global community which suffers the horrible indignities of inhumane violence. Rather than issue declarations of war, let us use appropriate courts of law to try and punish those guilty of this violence.

Using the vehicles of justice, rather than those of retaliation and vengeance, would indeed punish the perpetrators and would call the entire world community to probe the roots of violence in our world. Self-reflection as a nation may lead us to probe the deeper questions; to examine why such hatred has been directed against our nation. We must develop new strategies for non-violence, reconciliation, and peace. Then, the people taken from their families, friends, and colleagues would be seen not only as victims of senseless violence, but as weavers of the fabric of new awareness and life.

We are aware of the heavy burden incumbent upon you during this critical time of decision making. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

from Network Lobby


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