The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Benny Witkovsky, West End Strategy Team

January 23-25 at PRINCETON: Nation's First Interfaith Conference on Drone Warfare

National religious leaders to discuss moral, spiritual dimensions of U.S. use of drones


Religious leaders and people of faith have long debated the morality of U.S. military action abroad; recently, U.S. use of drone warfare has become a central question for the faith community. From January 23-25, at Princeton Theological Seminary, people of faith from across the nation - including religious leaders from several denominations and religious organizations, and scholars of religion, law and foreign policy - will gather for the first Interfaith Conference on Drone Warfare.

As U.S. drone strikes continue in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq and Syria, the American faith community has yet to coalesce around a common understanding and strategy for addressing this critical moral issue. This conference is a first step toward that goal.

Participants will hear from experts in law, religious ethics and military policy; share insights from their various faith traditions as a means to reflect on the issue and guide the conversation; and work to develop policy recommendations to the U.S. government. The conference will also make recommendations to the religious community on how it should respond to the issue of lethal drones at the local, regional and national levels. The conference is facilitated by the Princeton-based Peace Action Education Fund.

The conference will include a variety of notable speakers and panelists, including:

  • The Most Reverend Richard E. Pates - Bishop of Des Moines, Iowa; former Chairman, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on International Justice and Peace
  • Professor Jeremy Waldron - New York University School of Law
  • Dr. Hassan Abbas - Chair, Department of Regional and Analytical Studies, College of International Security Affairs, National Defense University.
  • Rob Eshman - Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, The Jewish Journal in Los Angeles
  • Antti Pentikainen - Executive Director, Finn Church Aid; Chair, Civil Society Advisory Committee, United Nations Development Program
  • Professor Marjorie Cohn - Thomas Jefferson School of Law
  • Dr. George Hunsinger - Hazel Thompson McCord Professor of Systematic Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary
  • Rev.Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite - Professor of Theology, Chicago Theological Seminary

Rev. Richard Killmer, project director for the Conference said,"The issue of lethal drones presents an urgent moral concern to the religious community because the use of lethal drones makes it easier to enter into war. The goal of this conversation in the religious community is to look long and hard at the use of lethal drones and then make policy recommendations to the U.S. government. We will call on the religious community to do what it can to make the policy recommendations a reality."

The conference is open to media. Please RSVP to Benny Witkovsky at by January 20, 2015.

The Interfaith Conference on Drone Warfare is open to the public. Those interested in attending or seeking additional information can register at or contact Alesha Vega at the Peace Action Education Fund at or 609-924-5022.

The Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA) is a grassroots citizens organization which brings together people of all ages, backgrounds, professions, and political persuasions in support of three goals: global abolition of nuclear weapons, a peace economy, and a halt to weapons trafficking at home and abroad.