Bishop Frade’s Pastoral Letter – The Cure is Worse than the Sickness

“And let Thy grace, O Lord, control

Our minds and hearts, that none

Should make a sport, that kills the soul,

Of evils war hath done.

‘T is Thou alone who from Thy throne

Canst rule us thus, and save us!”

The Chorale Book for England, 1863

“La cura es peor que la enfermedad.” That’s and old Spanish saying that reflects our government’s proposed solution to show the Syrian regime our opposition for their alleged sarin attack of August 21, 2013.

We claim that President Bashir Assad’s regime is responsible for killing over 1,429 Syrian civilians and military rebel personnel and that requires for us to unleash an attack on the Syrian regime that is bound to provoke a similar amount of casualties of innocent Syrian civilians as well as military personnel.

In recent days our Archbishop of Canterbury speaking at the House of Lords against the military intervention by the British government addressed his peers reminding them that the rational law is based on “the Christian theory of Just War that says the step up of opening fire is one that must be taken only when there is no possible alternative whatsoever under any circumstances.”

“Any intervention must be effective in preventing any further use of chemical weapons. I have not heard that it has been adequately demonstrated as likely,” said the Most Reverend Justin Welby. He also stated, “any intervention from abroad would declare ‘open season’ on Christian communities of the region.”

My concern as Bishop of your diocese is that we seem to be repeating the mistakes of recent years if we respond in such a hawkish way to the so called “intelligence reports.” They just remind us of similar intelligence reports of weapons of mass destruction that led us to the death of thousands of Americans and many more innocent Iraqi civilians in recent years past.

We refer to President Assad of being a thug and a murderer, but we may end up backing equally or probably worst thugs and murderers as the extremist Islamic faction of the Free Syrian Army that has been the real bulk of that rebel force.

We also have completely ignored a recent well documented Russian report accusing the rebels of firing a missile containing the nerve agent sarin at the town of Khan Al- Assal on March 19, by an Al Qaeda linked group called the Bashair al-Nasr Brigade, which caused the death and injury of over 100 innocent civilians and military personnel.

But for me, the most worrisome fact is that even if we give our so called “intelligence reports” the benefit of the doubt and say, “well go ahead and unleash a precision missile attack” then we have to take in consideration that our precision attacks in the past have not been as precise as we wanted. Point in fact is the date May 7, 1999-we unleashed a similar precision attack that blew up the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade destroying their building and killing three non-belligerent civilian reporters that had taken refuge in their embassy thinking they were going to be safe.

I thank our President, who regardless of his personal opinion is willing to consult with our Congress. But still it doesn’t make any sense to give the people of Syria this bitter medicine as punishment for the killing of over 1,400 rebels and innocent civilians. Our medicine is bound to kill just as many or more military and innocent civilians and, as the Archbishop of Canterbury predicts, it will only unleash an anti-Christian reaction in the Middle East. Unfortunately our prestige as a civilized country will not be better than the one ruling the Syrian regime.

I call upon the clergy and laity of Southeast Florida regardless of their position on this matter to pray for peace and to encourage our government to continue finding a peaceful alternative to assure that chemical weapons will not be used by either side in the Syrian conflict. I also encourage our members to contact their Senators and Representatives to do their upmost to make sure that our actions may serve to preserve peace and not exacerbate the drums of war that seem to have been sounding louder and louder in our country.

May our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace hear our prayer and bring peace.

Amen.

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