Religious leaders protest Obama drone policy
March 28th, 2013
12:39 PM ET

Religious leaders protest Obama drone policy

By Dan Merica

A group of rabbis, reverends and priests has a message for President Barack Obama: stop the drone war.

In a video produced by the Brave New Foundation, a group that uses video and social media to protest against drones, Jewish and Christian leaders describe the practice as "assassination by remote control," which violates religious principles.

“From a New Testament point of view, drones are completely appalling,” the Rev. Paul F. M. Zahl, the retired Episcopal rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Chevy Chase, Maryland, told CNN. “The whole idea of killing a guy without giving the guy a chance to surrender is preemptive. That for me was completely contrary to the teachings of Christ.”

The video criticizes the Obama administration, stating that the use of war does not follow Just War Theory, which has Roman and Catholic influences. The theory includes criteria that legitimize war, including ensuring that war is a last resort and that it is being carried out with the right intentions.

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  1. Bangash

    Indeed it is very much encouraging to see Christian clergy raising voice against Drone attacks, calling it against the basic Christianity teachings, which in fact is denying the accused of right to defend or surrender. Exactly same Islam is telling and calling killing of single innocent, killing of all humanity. I am writing these lines from the area where drone attacks by USA are routine matter. We see this US war since last three decades and in beginning Christians, Jews and Muslims were united in fight against the communist USSR. Our Muslim clergy those days were calling Christian and Jews one and same in belief in God, prophets and revealed books and were terming the alliance justified against the atheist USSR. We in tribal area of Pakistan were made the frontline in this war of MUSLIMS, JEWS, and CHRISTIANS against the atheist USSR. We were feeling proud, for being a frontline which finally ended in the fall of atheists in 1992. For this we deserved reward from all these believers in one God but what we got today is daily drone attacks and a frontline in crusade between the Muslims and Christian-Jews when world media project our region as a stronghold of AL-Qaida while in fact 90% of our tribal do not understand the meaning and motive of Al-Qaida and hardly less than 1% are involved in war on terror. Most of these militants are either from foreign countries, like Uzbekistan, China, Tajikistan, USA, UK etc and Afghanistan or from the other parts of Pakistan.
    NOW with this background, WE THE innocent tribal are main victims in drone attacks and continued military operations which God sees and punishing all those having imposed their wars on us. Today same disintegrated atheist Ex USSR is at peace while we all believers in one God are at war against each other. God is God of all and every one therefore he makes justice on merit. No doubt we poor tribal have no mean or resources to counter this death game on our soil but we see the fate of all those having turned our region into a war front. Today no one of them is safe and are facing shameful situation at home. We the tribal feel thankful for the verdict of Christian clergy against the Drone attacks and criticism of USA for denying the rights to the accused to defend or surrender and have termed it AGAINST the basic teachings of the JESUS.

    March 30, 2013 at 6:12 am | Reply
  2. Travis

    Barack Obama and those creeps who operate those ungodly drones need to be indicted and brought before the I.C.C. at the Hague and prosecuted for crimes against humanity! Unfortunately, this won't happen because the right-wing thugs in Washington along with those in London, Moscow and Paris own this court, lock, stock and barrel!

    March 29, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Reply
  3. sly

    When it come to war, you will always find all kinds of tactic. So suicide bombers, drones, I E D, etc. are the same. So in regards to those spiritual leaders they should pay more attention to what is really wrong here. When will stop the war.

    March 29, 2013 at 11:47 am | Reply
  4. beware123

    Eric Holder gave Congress a little letter stating that he wouldn't use drones in USA soil. Congress was pleased with the letter but Obama's name was absent who is the Commander-in-Chief. What has bothered (and should bother every American) THERE ARE RUSSIAN TROOPS (camped in Kentucky) their purpose-to deal with terrorists or extremists on AMERICAN soil. Some tourists were in Gatlingburg TN when they saw TROOPS- their uniform with an eagle flag. They were asking questions about the SMOKEY MOUNTAINS-when asked--WE ARE RUSSIAN TROOPS OUR CAMP IS IN KENTUCKY–TRAINING IN DRONES AND VARIOUS WAYS TO TAKE CARE OF TERRORISTS AND OR EXTREMISTS!

    Obama went around Congress-and Eric Holder stated they would not use DRONES on AMERICANS on AMERICAN SOIL–however, THE RUSSIAN TROOPS WOULD DO IT-RUSSIAN AIRPLANES HAVE BEEN APPROVED TO USE OUR AIRSPACE.

    Everyone needs to contact Congress IMMEDIATELY and even RAND PAUL (who is from Kentucky) for the first time US SOLDIERS WILL NOT BE USED-BECAUSE THEY WOULD NOT KILL AMERICANS--WE HAVE A DUE PROCESS IN WHICH WE ARREST-INTEGRATE--BUT FROM WHAT THE RUSSIANS SAID-THEY WOULD BE IN CHARGED AS REQUESTED BY THIS ADMINISTRATION. I AM MAD AT THE ENTIRE CONGRESS FOR EVEN ALLOWING THEM INTO OUR COUNTRY--HOW MUCH ARE WE PRAYING THE UNITED NATIONS FOR THE RUSSIAN TROOPS WHO WILL BE POLICING AMERICA? Never has an American President not trusted the military in which he is Commander-in-Chief to protect Americans on US soil!!!!! The bigger question Russian are use to using force to control the crowds under the direction of PUTIN-PUTIN verbally stated he wanted OBAMA for 4 more years--the rumour has it Obama is looking beyond a 2 year term-Obama plans to be around awhile!

    March 29, 2013 at 11:23 am | Reply
  5. Final Spart4n

    Hey look what I found about this Rev Zahl. Belonged to a slave supporting church. CNN do your research before you put up spin from zealot right-wing extremists: >

    Associated Press
    > Religion Today
    > By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS , 06.01.2006, 12:13 PM
    >
    > The Episcopal Church is poised to apologize for failing to oppose
    > slavery, but making up for its 19th century inaction won't come
    > without 21st century controversy.
    >
    > At its national convention beginning June 13, the church is expected
    > to approve a resolution expressing regret for supporting slavery and
    > segregation. But the debate will likely get more heated when a second
    > resolution comes up, calling for a study of possible reparations for
    > black Episcopalians.
    >
    > .....
    >
    >
    > Yet the gay issues debate is so fierce it extends even to slavery.
    >
    > Some conservatives, who find themselves in the minority with their
    > opposition to gay marriage and clergy, see themselves as being
    > discriminated against. As the Rev. Paul Zahl, dean of the
    > conservative Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pa.,
    > puts it: "We just find it hard this moment to take it seriously, when
    > we ourselves feel like African-Americans did 50 years ago."

    March 29, 2013 at 10:28 am | Reply
  6. Brian of Nazareth

    Aj- so true. Sounds to me like Tony has a lot of "White Master" issues to work out before he/she/it posts again..

    March 29, 2013 at 9:35 am | Reply
  7. Tony

    Obama is a psychopathic personality who seeks fame by being an obedient servant.. same like Condi Rice, Colin Powel, Eric Holder and the list goes on... What a shame.. This man has a lot of complex conflicts cooking in his head.. the inferiority complex is number one, self hatred to black race ...servitude complex..Lack of selfesteem. He is the guy that a master want from as a servent. The AIPAC and neocons had castrated him and groomed him long time ago to serve as the first and the only elected black american president and no one else any more

    March 29, 2013 at 9:20 am | Reply
    • George Patton-2

      You forgot to mention Tony, that Obama has a burning hatred for Muslims as evidenced by the use of those ungodly drones against them. That is probably because Obama's father was a Muslim himself who deserted the family when Obama was a child. At any rate, can you imagine Jesus condoning the use of that kind of butchery? I cannot!!!

      March 29, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Reply
      • Black Girl

        These comments are extremely racists and should be removed immediately.

        March 31, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
  8. MazeAndBlue

    So we should strap on a bomb, go to Southport Seaport in Nyc, kill women and children? And that's ok. religious leaders
    should and are against killing period. Don't disguise the use of drones to promote your views against war.

    March 29, 2013 at 9:15 am | Reply
  9. MazeAndBlue

    War is War...the stupid idea that terrorists can't defend themselves by the use of drones. So ironic, that they can strap a bomb on then kill everyone in their mists.

    March 29, 2013 at 8:57 am | Reply
  10. Obamao is a squid

    Obama has killed many more baby's, kids ,teens, men and woman then terrorist's with his drones. Obama and the others he so rounds himself with to help him kill so many innocent are the worst people on earth!

    March 28, 2013 at 9:29 pm | Reply
  11. Joseph McCarthy

    I couldn't agree with those religious leaders more! Yes, the use of those ungodly drones are truly anti-Christian and violates the 6th Commandment as well as all decent principles. No true Christian supports the obscene butchery caused by these drones or Apache helicopters!

    March 28, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Reply
    • Jesus

      drones sound more like muslim problems, why Christians care?

      March 28, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Reply
    • sly

      So would you say its OK to strap a bomb to the body of children who would then walk into crowd of innocent men, women and children then detonate it is more accepted than a drone strike.

      March 29, 2013 at 11:35 am | Reply
    • JipJippity

      A true Christian should not believe in killing anybody, for any reason (self defense included), by any means. There was this whole thing on turning the other cheek, if I remember correctly. Killing anything is kinda' a big deal, and masking the intent with religious order is insane. A true and good Christian would never go to war voluntarily, and if drafted would play the conscientious objector card. Afghanistan made me a little atheistic I guess, and it was a good thing. At least I see war for what it is and don't need to hide behind a church to justify my actions. Drones are just another tool that happen to be very indiscriminate. I don't see why some people can't grasp the concept that killing more "terrorists" just creates more and more "bad guys" and general ill will towards western/US culture.

      March 29, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Reply
      • frespech

        I'm a little curious as to what you imagine the answer is to terrorists- sounds like we should just let them be if I am reading your post correctly as killing them just breeds more terrorist. I bet they are all in favor of your approach.

        April 1, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
  12. BigShiz

    Good for them,the drones are a lazy solution to a big problem.

    March 28, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Reply
    • AJ

      Funny you didn't hear a single conservative in opposition to drones until a black democrat took control of the program.

      March 28, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Reply

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