Religious Leaders Call on President Obama to Reconsider His Position on Drone Strikes

Six religious leaders from across the country joined together during the week of Easter to call on President Obama to reexamine his position on drone strikes. In briefings and explanations to the American public President Obama's administration has used Just War Theory to justify CIA and U.S. military use of drone strikes throughout the world. Joining forces with director and producer Robert Greenwald, these rabbis, reverends, and priests created a short video sharing why drone strikes in Pakistan violate Just War Theory.

Watch the video below from

"As a religious leader, I feel compelled to speak out against drone warfare because it is being presented to the American public as following Just War criteria," said Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, Professor of Theology at the Chicago Theological Seminary.  "It does not; there are too many questions concerning the continuing authority for a 'War on Terror,' to the protection of civilians, to the lack of transparency about the program, as well as others, to call this Just War. Drones are particularly dangerous as they tempt us, as well as other nations, to consider war 'easy' and 'cheap.' The age of drones, unless checked, will be an age of permanent war."

"While visiting Pakistan this fall I witnessed the anxiety and terror civilians face due to our drone strikes in the region," said Robert Greenwald, director and president of Brave New Foundation. "I went to investigate how these strikes, operated in secret by our Government, control and intimidate Pakistani civilians."

"The use of remote-controlled drones to assassinate targeted persons without charge, trial, or even at least the chance to surrender, is about as un-Christian a maneuver as I can imagine," said Rev. Dr. Paul F. M. Zahl. "I decided to protest this inhuman policy because it goes against the core principles on which I've built my life."

The film, released by Brave New Foundation's War Costs campaign on March 27, highlights the pillars of Just War Theory and religious leaders of various faiths break down why the Obama Administration's explanation and reasoning for drone strikes is not justified by the Just War Theory.

"The use of Just War Theory to rationalize drone strikes is a misuse of the central religious principle that honors the dignity of every human being," said Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb. "Drones that kill thousands of civilians cannot be justified in any moral universe. Especially when, 'collateral damage' turns out to be the precious lives of 178 children."

"For me, as a Catholic priest I urge Americans to ask 'Is this the country we wish to be and is this the type of people we have become?'" said Franciscan Friar Joe Nangle. "How can we hold our heads high when remote-controlled, killer aircraft-like drones are raining death and destruction on populations half a world away from our borders -- on women, men, and children who pose no threat to our safety and well-being."

To view What Religious Leaders Want to Tell Obama on Easter please click here. Brave New Foundation and War Costs will release two full-length films this year. The upcoming War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State  will be released on April 16th.  The other, Unmanned: America's Drone Wars, will be released this summer. Previous short films released by Brave New Foundation's War Costs campaign include Child Casualties As a Result of U.S. Drone Strikes and Living Under Drones. Brave New Foundation collaborated with Stanford Law School and New York University Law School to release the report "Living Under Drones." The full report can be found here.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.