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Iraqi Christian politicians denounce church's intervention in politics

Statements from the Christian clergy and political blocs in Iraq show a conflict between the church and Christian political parties on controlling the Christian political discourse.
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BAGHDAD — Christian activists and politicians recently have been objecting to the greater involvement of religious leaders in Iraqi political affairs. 

Following the redeployment of Iraqi federal forces in Kirkuk, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako issued a statement Oct. 19 calling on Iraqi leaders in Baghdad and Erbil to proceed with genuine national reconciliation to put the political process on track. He stressed that it is important to preserve human beings and not oil wells, in reference to the recent dispute over the Kurdish independence referendum, which ended with federal government control of Kirkuk. The title of the statement, "An Appeal to Iraqi Leaders," shows the nature of the patriarch's view of his role as a national and moral guide for politicians on all sides, and his view of himself as a leader of Christians amid a Christian political split over the referendum and its results.

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