CHURCHMEN in the United States, Australia and New Zealand have this week expressed concern over the war in Vietnam. And in Geneva members of the World Council of Churches have been asked to raise about £34,000 for the relief of 3,000 Montagnard refugee families---a tribal people—in Vietnam, for whom assistance programmes have been organised by the East Asia Christian Conference.
The EACC in Vietnam has already asked for about 1.7,000 from members to help meet the initial needs of the refugees. To date it has raised nearly £3,000 from the Australian and New Zealand Councils of Churches and £200 from the Church of Christ in Thailand.
A number of leading Protestant
clergy in Australia have written to the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, saying that they fear he is leading Australia into a "tragic escalation" of the Vietnam war.
The letter, which has been published throughout Australia, deeply deplores what it calls Australia's policy in Vietnam as declared by the Prime Minister in statements made abroad.
An American churchman, Episcopal Bishop William Crittenden. of Erie, Pa., said last week that the people of Vietnam are being "dehumanised" by the war there. Members of some families were fighting on opposite sides without knowing why, he added.
In New Zealand, the Catholic newspaper Zealandia said that instead of arguing about sending an artillery battery to fight alongside American forces in Vietnam. New Zealanders should find practical ways of helping in the situation.
Dr. Charles R. Stinnette. of the University of Chicago Divinity School, said in WaShington that America's moral obligation in South Vietnam precludes any withdrawal.
"It is not simply a matter of national interest, it involves keeping a covenant," he said,
But in Ocean Grove, New Jersey, a resolution on the International situation adopted by the annual conference of the Church of the Brethren, declared that U.S. policy in Vietnam had turned a breadth and depth of world opinion against America.
An inter-religious group which went to Vietnam under the sponsorship of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, says it found no indication of an early end to the war through military victory on either side.