American religious leaders urge action for peace in Middle East

 At a press conference on Tuesday in Washington, Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders urged the Bush administration and Congress to more actively engage in a peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. Senator Lincoln Chafee and Rep Amo Houghton came to the press conference. The delegation had sought, but was denied, a meeting with President Bush or National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. The delegation declared that it is united in support of a viable, independent, democratic Palestinian state alongside the existing state of Israel with enduring peace and security for both sides. They announced that they will mobilize their constituencies to press for US leadership in the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. Some of the leaders of the national churches and organization affiliated with CMEP are involved in the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative. Among the 32 Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious leaders that made up the group were: His Eminence, Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington; His Eminence, William Cardinal Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore; His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate, Greek Orthodox Church in America; Bishop Mark Hanson, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Bishop Sharon Zimmerman Rader, Secretary, Council of Bishops, United Methodist Church; The Most Reverend Frank T Griswold III, Presiding Bishop, The Episcopal Church, USA; The Rev John H Thomas, General Minister & President, United Church of Christ; The Rev Clifton Kirkpatrick, Stated Clerk, Presbyterian Church, USA Bishop Hanson said: "We have no choice but to come to Washington DC, today; for we believe working together for peace with justice in the Middle East reflects a central moral imperative of our common Abrahamic faith." Cardinal McCarrick said: "Israelis and Palestinians are the ones who must create a just peace, but the United States has a moral obligation to use its powerful influence to help them do this." Source: CMEP For further information visit: www.cmep.org