Methodist President reflects on Madrid terror

The British Methodist Church shares the widespreadrevulsion at the March 11th bombings in Madrid, andunequivocally condemns them. Nothing can justify the destruction ofinnocent civilian lives, and the Church, by its prayers andpractical help, wishes to identify with the victims of thisatrocity, and their families.


Such an event makes our world seem more fragile andinsecure. Though it is critical that we protect the people ofBritain from further acts of terrorism by tightening security,there is another important step we must take: The Methodist Churchurges Western political leaders, and the peoples of Western Europeand North America, to engage in some self-criticism.


The perpetrators of the Madrid bombings, and theirparticular motivations, have not yet been identified. But what isincontestable is that global terrorism, of which Spain is the mostrecent victim, is bred by injustice and deprivation. Westernnations, therefore, need critically to examine their foreignpolicy.


A revised approach to the Israel-Palestine situation isurgently needed. Until equal pressure is exerted on both Israel andPalestine, and peaceful co-existence established, the Middle Eastwill continue to generate and to export violence.


Also, we need to monitor what contemporary fears andconflicts are doing to us. Our increasing fear of terrorism mustnot be allowed to compromise Christian values. We cannot, nor everwill, defeat violence by violence.


The Methodist Church recognises that religion has become akey factor in international unrest, and our responsibility asChristians is to engage in the debate, bearing witness to theuniversal Creator who is all-loving and all-compassionate. It isthis love and compassion which are the hallmarks of all authenticreligious devotion.


Rev Dr NeilG Richardson

Presidentof the Methodist Conference