Hundreds of leaders of many faiths are banding around a petition that calls for a temporary ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine on Christmas. The statement has already gathered nearly 1,000 signatures and continues to grow as the holiday approaches.
Signatories of the petition are pointing toward the Christmas Truce of 1914, when British and German forces of World War I observed an unofficial truce over Christmas. During this ceasefire the opposing soldiers actually interacted and in some areas met in no man’s land to sing carols and compete in friendly sports activities.
Calling on the spirit of this historical show of peace and good will, the petitioner’s statement reads:
“As people of faith and conscience, believing in the sanctity of all life on this planet, we call for a Christmas Truce in Ukraine. In the spirit of the truce that occurred in 1914 during the First World War, we urge our government to take a leadership role in bringing the war in Ukraine to an end through supporting calls for a ceasefire and negotiated settlement, before the conflict results in a nuclear war that could devastate the world’s ecosystems and annihilate all of God’s creation.”
Dozens of the signatories appeared in a video that promotes the endeavor. As seen above, each of the religious leaders in the video read the statement and the video, which calls for a temporary halt of hostilities to allow people of all faiths to observe their religious practices of the season.
The petition was organized on the website of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) which coincidentally was founded in 1914, the same year as the Christmas truce. The organization noted that the unofficial truce of WWI was an unexpected development that was powerful in its message of peace. Furthermore, FOR stated that “negotiation and imagination” are key elements of a peaceful end to the war in Ukraine. They write:
“The way out of the war in Ukraine will not be a military solution. The path toward peace in Ukraine requires powers of a different sort: negotiation and imagination. As leaders of a diverse group of faith communities, we sign onto the petition below and pray that our leaders have the courage and conscience to use those powers instead.”
Visit FOR to see the full list of signatories and to learn more about this worthy call for a ceasefire in Ukraine.