Journey to Belgrade: Religious partnership

Jesse Jackson would be the first to say that the religious leaders who accompanied him to Belgrade in late April were not just his props. While the media coverage didn't show the extraordinary breadth of our 15-member interfaith delegation, that breadth was our strength. And the key to the mission's success lay precisely in the solidarity that we—Christians, Muslims and Jews—shared with each other and especially with our Yugoslav counterparts, who had asked us urgently to come to Belgrade. By going, by putting ourselves ever so briefly under the same bombing they endure night after night, we believe we helped to strengthen their witness for peace.

We went because people in that country needed our support. We responded as we had responded to Desmond Tutu in South Africa and to other partners in other places. We stepped forward from our position of power and safety in order to give some strength to religious leaders in a difficult situation. Because communities of faith have ties that cross the boundaries of nation-states, we can still talk with each other even when our nations are at war with each other. There is a unique role that people of faith can play.

We rejoice in having won the three captured U.S. soldiers' freedom. We believe that their freedom opens a small window of opportunity for peace. We pray that the window will remain open long enough to give peace a chance.