Federal Churches Of Christ Appeal For Disarmament

October 20, 1921

Clarion Call To 150,000 Congregations For Special Services To Urge Abandonment Of All War

To 150,000 congregations, the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America this week sent what is intended to be a clarion call for the Christian forces of the country to put their united power into public sentiment that will make the coming Conference for Limitation of Armaments a pronounced success. The proposition is is laid down that large practical results must come out of the conference.

“We cannot be satisfied with a mild reduction of our military expenditures,” is the position taken in the message sent by the Federal Council, which represent 30 communions, with a total membership said to be 20,000,000. “Nothing less than a far-reaching reduction of armament on sea and land can suffice.”

“With harrowing memories,” said the message today, “of more than 10,000,000 men who laid down their lives in the awful holocaust from which we have just emerged, of the countless thousands bearing burdens of anguish and suffering, of the desolations and pestilence that have sprung up from the war and still ravage whole peoples, and most of all, of the aftermath of bitterness, suspicion and havoc which pervades all lands, let us insist far more vigorously than we ever have done before that war is an unmitigated curse to humanity and a denial of the Christian Gospel.”

The message goes on to say:

“In every war the Son of Man is put to shame anew, and every battle field is a Calvary on which Christ is crucified afresh. Let us not shrink from proclaiming unequivocally that war is not a necessity, that the pacific settlement of every international question is possible, that a warless world can really be achieved. Force is not the final arbiter among the nations, but justice, reason, and good-will can control their life as well as the life of individual man.

“Let there be throughout the church a fire of holy indignation, not only against war, but also against the mad competition in armaments, which has nourished suspicion, ill-will, and fear, and from which wars have always sprung and always will.  Let us not allow the reduction of armaments to be regarded as an economic issue alone. The question is at heart a moral and religious one. Let us repeat from one end of the nation to the other, our government’s official invitation to the conference: ‘Rivalries of armaments are not only without economic justification, but are a consistent menace to the peace of the world.’ ”

The Federal Council of Churches, it is explained, does not mean to try to dictate the terms of armament reduction, but is determined to insist, and to do all its power to arouse the church people to insist that rational and pacific methods of settling international difficulties must be found. And to make its insistence effective, it is preparing a special call to go out later to the churches suggesting special services, educational gatherings, and great public meetings. This program is being framed by the Council’s Commission on International Justice, headed by Dr. John H. Finley, now one of the editors of the New York Times, and Dr. Sidney J. Gulick.

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