A coalition of United States faith leaders are circulating a petition signed by more than 1,000 ordained clergy members and requesting a Christmas truce in Ukraine.
"As people of faith and conscience, believing in the sanctity of all life on this planet, we call for a Christmas truce in Ukraine," the petition by the Fellowship of Reconciliation USA organization said. "In the spirit of the truce that occurred in 1914 during the first world war, we urge our government to take a leadership role in bringing the war in Ukraine to an end through supporting calls for a cease-fire and negotiated settlement, before the conflict results in a nuclear war that could devastate the world's ecosystems and annihilate all of God's creation."
The petition, announced on Dec. 20, includes the names of prominent faith and peace activists in the United States including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Bishop William Barber, the Rev. Jim Wallis and Cornel West, the organization said.
"As my family and I, whose ancestors are from the region, are kindling our Hanukkah lights this week, we are recalling a miracle of past days and praying that the land, which in 1941 experienced the Baba Yar massacre of more than 33,000 Jews, may experience a reprieve from the violence over this holiday season," Ariel Gold, executive director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation USA, the oldest interfaith peace organization in the United States, said in a press release. "As the war in Ukraine drags into its tenth month, with 14 million displaced, hundreds of thousands killed, humanitarian impacts being felt across the globe and the risk of nuclear annihilation, there no time more urgent than the present."
Other peace-seeking organizations such as National Council of Elders, CODEPINK and the Peace in Ukraine Coalition have joined the initiative as well.
"Negotiation is not a euphemism for capitulation, nor is it a rationalization of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's aggression," Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK said in the release. "It is simply a recognition that the end of this war cannot be achieved by more war. Any prospect for a pause in hostilities should be acted on."
The organization states: "The Christmas truce for Ukraine is inspired by the miraculous Christmas truce of 1914, in which 100,000 German and British soldiers ceased fire and participated in a brief and spontaneous peace along the Western Front. Emerging from their trenches, soldiers ventured into the 'no man's land,' where they shared food and drink; they sang Christmas carols and even played soccer together. It was a potent example of how the human spirit can be a powerful force that transcends hate and division in the promotion of peace."
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