The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Dying for diamonds

To the average American, diamonds symbolize love and commitment. Not for the average person in Sierra Leone. In that war-torn country, people are dying because of the diamond trade.

The ELCA joined other religious groups in an open letter to American jewelers, expressing outrage over the continued trade in "conflict diamonds," which make up about 15 percent of the $56 billion annual world diamond trade. Diamonds from several African countries, including Sierra Leone, are of particular concern. Sierra Leone's most lucrative mines are controlled by rebels, who finance their armies with an estimated $25 million in annual diamond sales while continuing to abuse, kill, enslave, rape and mutilate civilians, even chopping limbs off children.

The Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs, Washington, D.C., urges ELCA members to contact Congress in support of The Clean Diamonds Act, which calls for diamonds sold on the international market to undergo a monitored international certification system..


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February issue


Embracing diversity