On behalf of Christian Leaders for a Nuclear-Free Iran, an ad hoc coalition of evangelical, Roman Catholic and other religious leaders representing over 25 million Americans of faith, we write to urge immediate action to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and otherwise undermine peace and security.
We are gravely concerned that Iran's nuclear weapons program and its support for terrorism and other actions will further destabilize the Middle East, lead to an arms race, and threaten the United States and its allies. Thus, we are writing to respectfully ask that you to do everything you can to oppose the threat of Iran and to support real and lasting peace in the Middle East
Iran, with its terrorist proxies Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and others, is defiant, confrontational and aggressive. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently reported that “the agency remains concerned about the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed nuclear related activities…including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.” The Iranian regime ignores its international obligations and is taking advantage of the “Arab Spring” to expand its threatening reach. We need the help of all thoughtful nations to stand together against this threat.
While continuing to develop nuclear weapons, support terrorism and repress its own people, the Iranian government is also backing the brutal suppression of pro-democracy forces in Syria and backing a unilateral declaration of independence of Palestine at the United Nations as a way to sabotage real negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Indeed, Iran has already expanded its hegemony through its active support of Hamas. The recent agreement between Iran-backed Hamas and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would extend Iranian influence to the West Bank and threatens to deprive Israel of a peace partner. Iran already has immense power in Lebanon through its Hezbollah allies which now dominate the government. The Muslim Brotherhood may soon take a share of power in Egypt. Control of the West Bank by Islamic extremist fundamentalists would complete the encirclement of Israel and put major sites of importance to Christians and Christianity at risk.
The Iranian-backed Palestinians aim to do an end-run around direct negotiations with Israel by calling on the United Nations to preemptively declare Palestinian statehood. This will only embolden extremists and make lasting peace less likely. Their resolution may also call for an immediate right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendents into Israel – which would swamp Israel demographically and destroy Israel’s very nature as being the one and only homeland for the Jewish people. Indeed, under Israel’s control Christians have open, free and safe access to the Holy Places which was not the case before 1967.
We ask you to act now, for the sake of security, regional stability and hopes of an eventual Middle East peace, by using all the diplomatic means at your disposal to pursue security and peace. We urge you to work with America to isolate Iran and to persuade the Palestinians to reject terrorism, respect previous agreements and recognize Israel’s right to exist as a nation state of the Jewish people. When your country votes on these issues at the United Nations in September, as American Christian leaders we urge you to uphold these principles.
We look forward to hearing your views on these issues. Meanwhile, thank you for your consideration.
Dr. Richard Land, President of Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention
Dr. Richard G. Lee, President, There’s Hope America
John C. Hagee, Senior Pastor, Cornerstone Church, San Antonio, Texas
Dr. James Merritt, Senior Pastor, Cross Pointe Church
Dr. Mark A. Smith, President, Ohio Christian University
Elmer F. Hansen, Jr., Director, Catholic Leadership Conference
Dr. Jim Garlow, Chairman, Renewing American Leadership
Jordan Sekulow, Director of International Operations at American Center for Law and Justice
Paul F. Crouch, Jr., Chief of Staff, TBN
Deal Hudson, President, Catholic Advocate, Washington, DC
Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman, Liberty Counsel
C. Preston Noell, III, President of Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.
Gary J. Palmer, President, Alabama Policy Institute
Benny Tate, Senior Pastor, Rock Springs Church
William Donohue, PhD., President and CEO, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
Jerry Newcombe, D. Min., Christian author/TV producer
James Robison, President and Founder, Life Outreach International
Jim Martin, Chairman, 60 Plus Association
Barrett Duke, PhD., Vice President for Public Policy and Research, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
Dr. Jack Graham, Pastor, Prestonwood Baptist Church
Troy A. Miller, President, COO, National Religious Broadcast Network, Inc.
Colin Hanna, President, Let Freedom Ring
Dr. Robert E. Reccord, President, Total Life Impact Ministries
Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council
Dr. Rusty Hayes, Pastor, First Free Church, Rockford, Illinois
Anthony Verdugo, Founder and Executive Director of Christian Family Coalition
Gary Bauer, President, American Values
Garry Poole, Author and Minister, Willow Creek Community Church
Micah Clark, Executive Director, American Family Association of Indiana
Rev. Louis Sheldon, Chairman, Traditional Values Coalition
Michael D. Little, President and Chief Operating Officer, Christian Broadcasting Network
Penny Nance, CEO, Concerned Women for America
Jay Dennis, Author and Senior Pastor of Church at the Mall