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Summary: War lurks on the horizon for the United States. The talk of war and peace is deafening as the lines are drawn in our own nation by those who believe we should "act" and those who believe we should "wait." In 2 Chronicles 20:1-19, King Jehoshaphat took a

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“Before You Go To War…”

2 Chronicles 20:1-19

There’s talk on the streets. Talks of war. Talks of peace. Talks of protests. Talks of support. There’s lots of talk going on in the cafés, country clubs, break rooms, boardrooms, and bedrooms of America and around the world.

People are gathering and everywhere they gather they are talking. Talking about Saddam Hussein. Talking about George Bush. Talking about bombs and bullets, oil and genocide, terrorism and truth. If you take the time to listen to the people talking then you can end up really confused about who is right. Let me give you a sampling of what I am talking about.

Just last weekend there were anti-war protests in 38 countries around the world according to the International Answer, an anti-war and anti-racism organization that is acting as the brainchild behind the protests. The Washington Post reported on some of those protests:

A look at anti-war demonstrations Saturday in U.S. cities and around the world:

–Washington: At least 30,000 marched, part of a far larger crowd that rallied outside the Capitol, in the day’s cornerstone protest. Signs branded America a "Rogue Nation," and demanded, "Disarm Bush."

–San Francisco: Tens of thousands packed downtown streets, holding signs that read "Peace for All Nations" and "Patriots for Peace," in an action that, like Washington’s, drew people from far away.

–Florida: "Smart Bombs Dumb Move," said at a sign at a St. Augustine protest that drew 200 people. "It’s great to see an army for peace instead of an army for death and war," said activist David Thundershield Queen. About 400 people assembled in Venice. About 500 in Tampa rallied outside the gates of MacDill Air Force Base, home to U.S. Central Command, which would coordinate an Iraq war.

–France: In the third nationwide anti-war demonstration since October, 6,000 shouting protesters in Paris shouted in English "Stop Bush! Stop War!" and set off firecrackers.

–Turkey: Communists demonstrated outside a theater showing the latest James Bond movie to protest the U.S.-British alliance that they claimed was planning to make war on Iraq.

–Russia: Outside the U.S. Embassy, Russians chanted "U.S. hands off Iraq!" and "Yankee, go home!" A banner read: "Iraq isn’t your ranch, Mr. Bush."

–Ireland: Protesters converged on Shannon Airport to protest its use as a refueling stop for U.S. military aircraft.

–Netherlands: Hundreds marched the streets of Rotterdam, Nijmegen and Leiden. In Uden, police detained 90 activists for trying to invade an air base where U.S. and Dutch forces are stationed. (Washington Post, The Associated Press Saturday, January 18, 2003)

Protests in thirty-eight countries around the world. Lots and lots of people crying out, “Smart Bombs, Dumb Move!” “Bomb Texas They Have Oil,” and “Grannies For Peace.” Now if that doesn’t convince you that what America is doing is wrong then I don’t know what will.

If you need a little more convincing then you need to know that at the Mall in Washington D.C. there were such notable speakers as Vietnam veteran, Ron Kovic, the subject of the movie, “Born On The Fourth of July,” actress Jessica Lange, the Reverend Al Sharpton, actress Tyne Daly, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, and former congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney. All of these people were speaking in defense of peace, urging the President to stop his aggression on Iraq.

You haven’t heard the last from the activists for peace. There will be protests coming to a city near you in February. International Answer has organized world wide non-violent protests that will culminate on the anniversary of the assasination of Malcolm X, on February 21. The website of International Answer outlines the plan and gives instructions for our young people for the protests on February 21.

Take to the streets to fight war and racism on the anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X. Coordinated Day of Resistance, including student anti-war walk-outs from hundreds of high schools and colleges, and other acts of non-compliance. Youth and students have marked this important anniversary with militant protests on a range of issues for the last thirty-five years. Malcolm X embodies the spirit of struggle against militarism and the racist establishment. Honor his life and legacy the right way: Resist! Youth and Student A.N.S.W.E.R. will be providing leaflets, posters, stickers and other resources for the February 21 actions.

For those of you who are now convinced: You have marked your calendar for resistance on February 21, you are looking for the next anti-war protest in our own city, and you now see the fallacy of all of this war talk -- Let me share some additional information with you.

First, for every one of the protesters that you see on the evening news there is at least one other person who can passionately enunciate the reasons why action is better than inaction.

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