Mid-East peace, racism among topics for General Synod 2015 resolutions
Finding peace in the Middle East and dismantling institutional racism are two of the topics that United Church of Christ delegates will tackle during the upcoming General Synod, as the church continues to address justice issues with a bold, public voice.
Sixteen resolutions have been proposed for consideration by the General Synod during the four-day gathering from June 26 to 30 in Cleveland, but Lee Foley, UCC chief administrative officer and General Synod administrator, said delegates probably won’t address all of them.
“These resolutions are now being researched by the Board of Director’s Committee on Disposition and its staff, before consideration by the full Board of Directors in March,” Foley said. “Any resolution must meet all of the requirements of the Standing Rules (Rule 12). So the Board of Directors will decide in March whether these resolutions meet those requirements and make a determination as to their disposition.”
In some cases, similar resolutions with slightly different wording, such as two resolutions calling for divestment from companies profiting from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, could be combined.
“[Those resolutions] have the same title and are virtually identical in wording, but are just enough different that the Committee on Disposition will need to consider them separately,” Foley said.
Both proposals, submitted by five different conferences of the UCC, which share the title “A Call for the United Church of Christ to Take Action Toward a Just Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” call on UCC members and numerous settings of the church to divest from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and to boycott goods produced by Israeli companies in the occupied territories. The resolutions also ask the church to engage in interfaith dialogue among the three Abrahamic faiths—with emphasis on congregation-to-congregation interaction and conversations.
A third resolution dealing with the Middle East from the Northern California Nevada Conference is calling the church to recognize the “Israeli government’s domination system inside the West Bank and on the borders of the Gaza Strip as having met the International Criminal Court’s definition of the crime of apartheid.”
Just as advocates aim to mobilize church members for Middle East peace, another set of resolutions aims to focus the church to address institutional racism and economic injustice by mass incarceration.
One of the proposed resolutions, submitted by a mix of conferences, associations and Justice and Witness Ministries, will ask the church to “identify the New Jim Crow as a critical human and civil rights issue in the United States.” It calls on the church to eliminate racism in all forms by ending the War on Drugs and stopping mass incarceration because they disproportionately affect communities of color, end bias in arrests and sentencing, and restore voting rights for people who have completed their prison sentences.
Another resolution, “Dismantling the New Jim Crow,” comes from five different conferences and also asks the church to name mass incarceration as a civil and human rights issue because of its disenfranchisement of people of color, youth and people with limited economic means.
Finally, the Central Atlantic Conference is asking the church to pressure the National Football League and the Washington, D.C. franchise to change the team’s name from the racially derogatory term “Redskins.” The resolution also calls on the church to boycott the team’s games—eight of which are on the road in other NFL cities—and team merchandise bearing the team name and logo.
Read up on all the proposed resolutions on the General Synod website.
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