President Obama, formerly of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, is currently looking for a new spiritual home. In the meantime, he is reportedly taking religious counsel from several pastors, including the Rev. Jim Wallis.

How much counsel the president is taking from the president and chief executive of Sojourners magazine and key player in a Washington-based activist network that takes the same name remains to be seen.

But we can only hope that Obama is listening to Wallis on the question of how the United States should proceed in Afghanisatn.

Here is the pastor’s latest call to action regarding that issue:

Today is the sixth anniversary of the Iraq war. Six years of violence, hundreds of thousands of deaths, countless billions of wasted funds, and endless sacrifice on the part of our military families. We commemorate this day with prayer and heavy hearts, but also with thankfulness that the end of this war appears to be in sight.

Afghanistan is a different story. The war there has dragged on for more than seven years and, by all accounts, is getting worse. We believe only a surge in funding for diplomacy and development — not more military escalation — will bring long-term peace to the troubled region.

Tell the president you believe that escalation of the war in Afghanistan will not bring peace and stability.

Now is the right time to support solutions that could lead to a lasting peace. Some economic development activity is already taking place in Afghanistan, and we applaud the president’s budget request to Congress to increase non-military assistance, providing additional funding for governance, reconstruction, and other development activities that will help counter extremists.

However, instead of increasing our military profile, the U.S. should shift funding from military offensives to providing security and protection for civilian efforts to erect schools for young women, strengthen civil society institutions, promote traditional justice mechanisms that encourage the rule of law, help to remove old weapons and land mines, foster local agricultural projects, and make similar efforts. Providing a better life for the people will provide greater stability than sending additional military forces.

Take action with me today to voice your support for full funding of development assistance to Afghanistan, and oppose continued offensive military strikes.

I encourage you to keep the people of Afghanistan and our troops in your prayers.


Jim Wallis