A national association of black churches has issued a strongly-worded condemnation of President Barack Obama's use of unmanned aerial drones in the War on Terror.
Colorlines reports that the National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), which is comprised of 34,000 churches representing some 15.7 million black Americans from 15 different denominations, slammed President Obama's drone policy as "evil in the Christian tradition."
"NBCI... calls Obama's policy on the right to kill Americans who are associated with terrorist organizations either at home or abroad murder, which constitutes evil in the Christian tradition," a statement from NCBI President Rev. Anthony Evans said. "The Holy Scripture says, 'Thou shalt not kill.'"
"I do not know what to say after the pronouncement of his evil policy," Rev. Evans' statement continued. "This policy has led me to a life of prayer for the soul of this administration and for this president. Anyone who has anything to do with formulating a policy like this either in the Bush or Obama administration will have to answer before God one day. May God have mercy on their souls."
While the use of unmanned aerial drones in the War on Terror began during President George W. Bush's tenure, the Obama administration has dramatically increased reliance upon drones for surveillance, reconnaissance and attacks. Along with increased use of drones comes a rise in the number of those killed by the remotely piloted aircraft; just last week, leading Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham acknowledged that some 4,700 deaths are attributable to US drone strikes.
Many of those killed by US drone strikes have been innocent civilians. The London-based Bureau for Investigative Journalism estimates that as many as 1,119 innocent civilians, including up to 237 children, have been killed by drones in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia-- three nations with which the United States isn't even at war.
Drone strikes terrorize civilian populations where they occur, breeding great resentment and hostility toward the United States and quite possibly sowing the seeds of future anti-American terrorism. Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who once commanded all US forces in Afghanistan, recently acknowledged that drones are "hated on a visceral level" and fuel a "perception of American arrogance that says, 'we can fly where we want, we can shoot where we want, because we can.'"
The use of drones may also constitute a violation of international law, and the United Nations has launched an investigation of possible US war crimes involving drone strikes.
Still, the drone war rages on, with Obama even authorizing the use of the unmanned aircraft to assassinate American citizens believed to be associated with al-Qaeda and affiliated groups. These targeted assassinations occur without charge, trial or any due process of law. They have also resulted in the accidental killing of an innocent American child. Additionally, President Obama has deceptively redefined the term 'militant' to mean all military-age males in a drone strike zone in an attempt to deflate the civilian death toll from drone attacks.
Perhaps most shockingly of all, John Brennan, President Obama's nominee to head the CIA, has not ruled out using drones to assassinate Americans on US soil, again, without due process of law guaranteed in the Constitution.