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Christians insulting Christians unhelpful


October 2, 2008
-Dan Dyck

Mennonite Church Canada represented at Ahmadinejad/Mennonite peace talks

The podcast of a related interview is available: Jack Suderman Interview with Golden West Broadcasters [20.8MB mp3 file - help with mp3 files] - Best with high speed internet

Winnipeg, Man —Mennonites and other faiths interested in pursuing peace through dialogue met with President Ahmadinejad of Iran in New York City on Sept. 25. The controversial dinner meeting saw Christians outside the hotel protesting against Christians inside the hotel.

Robert J. Suderman, General Secretary of Mennonite Church Canada, attended the event at the invitation of organizers. He observed how unhelpful and hurtful it was to have Christians name calling and hurling insults at other Christians as they entered the hotel.

“Somehow the assumption is made by the protesters that talking to each other means being allies in common causes. They seem to forget that peace ultimately needs to be brokered between enemies. It’s not necessary to do so between friends,” said Suderman.

Inside the event things were different, said Suderman. “There were representatives of the Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Christians, Iranis, and Americans . . . and all talked about peace as though that is their primary agenda. And all of them advocated non-violence in some way or another.”

Mennonite Central Committee, together with other religious groups, organized the event at the invitation of Ahmadinejad. This is the fourth time Mennonites and other historic peace churches have met at such an event. Suderman observed that it is difficult for the Irani and USA governments to talk to each other. “Although no incumbent high ranking senators and congress-folks attended, several former senators were there, as well as the President of the General Council of the United Nations, and the former Primer Minister of Norway,” said Suderman. Official diplomatic ties between the US and Iran have been severed.

To help the public understand the event better, Suderman spoke with Daryl Braun of Golden West Broadcasting in a wide ranging 30 minute interview about the event. “It is important for the church to take its faith and witness beyond church walls and into the public square,” said Suderman.

The interview will be broadcast in Southern Manitoba (including Winnipeg) at CST 6 pm on Sat., Oct. 4, and at 1 pm on Sun. Oct. 5 on CFAM 950, Altona, AM 1250, Steinbach, and CJRB 1220 Boissevain. A podcast of the event will be available here after Oct. 5th.

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