Conference on Security, Religion & Civilian-Based Defense

Final Statement issued by the Conference on Security, Religion, and Civilian-Based Defense Meeting at Westwood United Methodist Church, November 21-23, 1997

The participants in the Conference on Security, Religion, and Civilian-Based Defense, meeting at Westwood United Methodist Church in Los Angeles, November 21- 23, 1997, declared their agreement with the following statement:

· Substantial evidence exists to believe that some, and perhaps most nations could gradually achieve national security through nonviolent, civilian-based defense, under which policy they would deter and, if necessary, resist aggression from abroad as well as undemocratic seizures of power from within, by preparing their populations to engage in massive, organized withholding of the cooperation an enemy would need to govern.

· Both the desire for a morally acceptable kind of national defense and the numerous historic examples of the practicality of nonviolent forms of struggle provide basis for the further exploration of civilian-based defense by people of faith. Therefore, we call upon religious communities throughout the world:

1. To teach their people the practicality and the desirability of controlling abusive power at all levels, including the international level, by skillful use of nonviolent resistance rather than the use of violent force.

2. To question, challenge, and gradually withdraw their support from governmental defense policies which provide for security only on the basis of being prepared to counter violence with greater violence.

3. To witness to their preference for nonviolent national defense by beginning fo provide funding, personnel, and programs for research and development of civilian-based defense.