Syria accepts oversight of chemical weapons, prayers continue


USA Today reports on the latest news on Syria and its chemical weapons:

The Syrian government has accepted a Russian proposal to turn over its chemical weapons to international control to avoid a military confrontation with the United States, Syria’s foreign minister said Tuesday.

“Yesterday [Monday] we held a round of very fruitful negotiations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and he put forward an initiative regarding chemical weapons. Already in the evening we accepted Russia’s initiative,” Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said after meeting with the speaker of the Russian parliament.


More on the story from Daily Kos

A group of senators is reportedly working on a proposal to authorize military force against Syria only if the removal of the country’s chemical weapons by the United Nations failed; meanwhile, White House press secretary Jay Carney called the preliminary chemical weapons deal between Syria and Russia “potentially a positive development” Tuesday morning.

Carney reiterated many of the key points made by President Obama in his barrage of interviews Monday, saying that pressure by the Obama administration had brought both Syria and Russia to this point

People of faith continue to pray for peace in Syria and other areas of the world. The Rev. Liz Zivanov, St Clement’s, Hawai’i, has organized an interfaith prayer vigil. She writes:

St Clement’s has invited all Episcopal Churches in Hawaii to participate in a one hour peace vigil for Syria. We’ve also sent an invitation through the interfaith network to Christian, Jewish, and Muslim congregations. I posted the same invitation on the HoBD list (a listserve of Episcopal Church lay and clergy leaders) and on Facebook and have been receiving interest queries from the mainland and as far away as Palestine. …

The one-hour service will begin with the ringing of the church bells for one minute. The service will include prayer, litanies for wisdom, humanity, and non-violence, music of peace, and readings from people like Bonhoeffer, Gibran, Gandhi, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Lincoln. There will also be periods of silence for meditation. The service will end at 1:00 p.m. with the ringing of the bells for one minute.

Diana Butler Bass reflects on President Obama’s study of Richard and Reinhold Niebuhr:

In 2007, New York Times columnist David Brooks asked Barack Obama if he had ever read the Christian ethicist Reinhold Niebuhr. “I love him,” the then-senator replied. “He’s one of my favorite philosophers.”…

(but perhaps Richard Niebuhr is Obama’s model now – ed.)

The elder Niebuhr argued to “dissuade Japan from her military venture” by whatever means necessary. Contra his brother, H. Richard Niebuhr suggested that doing nothing was the way toward peace. H. Richard outlined a theology of moral “inactivity.” Against the rush of events, an ethical nation must reflect upon the causes of the problem, form potential courses of action, and discern self-interest in the conflict — all within a framework of God’s intentions in history. This constructive inactivity is the moral opposite of immediate reaction, a response akin to what H. Richard compared to an angry parent who corrects bad behavior with a “verbal, physical, or economic spanking.” Unlike his brother, H. Richard thought that violence could not be reconciled with any sort of meaningful faith or “radical trust” in God.

Episcopal Relief and Development is offering relief to refugees – especially children displaced and wounded in this ongoing war.

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