Global Support Comes from Humility, Moral Strength

On the evening of September 11, 2001, while visiting church leaders in Germany, I stood on the front steps of the Protestant Cathedral in Berlin receiving the embrace of hundreds of Berliners who had gathered in solidarity with America in a packed ecumenical service.  In the huge plaza in front of the cathedral that night, thousands of German young people stood in the rain.  As I emerged from the service with the bishops and cardinals, I heard the great civil rights hymn, “We Shall Overcome,

Five years later the international good will I experienced that night in America’s time of need has been squandered.  Rather than building on these hopes for global solidarity with people and nations of good will, the United States has embarked on its largely unilateral war on terror, fueled by the rhetoric of fear and justified with countless deceptions.  Now when I travel I hear the United States described as a dangerous nation.  And at the center of this new perception is the war in Iraq that deposed a dictator and ushered in a season of untold suffering for the Iraqi people and for countless grieving American families. That is why my statement in response to the President’s speech on Wednesday described it as “not only politically disappointing, but morally deficient as well.