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Don't bomb Syria, say growing numbers of Baptists 

Baptists who oppose the bombing of Syria have mobilised on social media to form a petition expressing their doubts

The House of Commons gathers on Wednesday (2 December) to debate and vote whether to extend air strikes against Isis in Iraq to Syria

On Tuesday afternoon members of the Baptist Collaboration Facebook Group discussed whether Baptists had a common mind on this issue.  

After much discussion, at 7pm, Joe Haward, minister of This Hope Baptist Church in Newton Abbot, published an agreed statement in the Group expressing opposition to the proposed air strikes. 

"Dropping bombs cannot and will not destroy an ideology, it simply strengthens, fertilises and enables such beliefs to grow," the statement read.

It encouraged people to like, share and sign. By 11pm the petition had been shared more than 50 times, liked by more than 80 and signed by almost 100. 

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To view the petition and sign it follow the link: ow.ly/VlMym

See the comments box at the bottom of the page for early signatories.

Here's the wording of the petition: 

Statement from the Undersigned Baptist Christians in the United Kingdom in regard to proposed air strikes in Syria. 

Tuesday 1st December 2015

On Wednesday 2nd December 2015 we call upon MPs to vote against air strikes on Syria.

We recognise the complexity and difficulty of the situation in the Middle East and the barbarity of the acts committed by ISIS/Daesh, yet we believe that dropping bombs in Syria will do nothing to weaken their resolve or to solve the international reality of terrorism.

The Western so called ‘War on Terror’ has increased recruitment for terrorist groups, furthered resentment amongst certain groups and further destabilised regions in the Middle East. 

Dropping bombs cannot and will not destroy an ideology, it simply strengthens, fertilises and enables such beliefs to grow. If war was a solution then the ideologies of those such as Tamerlane, Stalin and Hitler would have died with them.

War is not the passage to peace but the seedbed for hatred and fear.

In complex times such as this we need to develop robust and imaginative diplomatic, economic and international solutions to what we all agree to be incredibly painful and challenging times. As such then we need to be a people of extravagant love, unbounded imagination and fearless creativity. We need to foster this, not only within ourselves, but in our children and future generations. Dropping bombs on other countries where their own future generations are killed creates the fear and hatred we all so desperately want to eradicate.

As Christians we follow the One who is called the Prince of Peace. At this time of Advent we are reminded that at the birth of Jesus some of the first words spoken were, ‘Peace on earth’. Indeed, at the resurrection of Jesus some of his first words to his disciples were, ‘Peace be with you.’ We believe then, that peace cannot be achieved through war but, following the example of Jesus, in radical enemy love and subversive acts of nonviolence; not fight or flight, not inaction, but, as Martin Luther King Jr said, through nonviolent actions that strip the oppressor of their power.

We urge MPs to vote against the Prime Minister’s proposal for air strikes in Syria.

The discussion also highlighted some Baptist support for air strikes. Following Joe Haward's statement, Phil Hill, a former lecturer at the Nazareth Evangelical College, published a post in the Collaboration Group urging Baptists to message their MPs to support military action.  By 10am on Tuesday morning that discussion thread had received more than 50 comments. 

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Baptist Times, 01/12/2015
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