Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The United Church of Christ has chosen to divest from Israel:

Today is a sad day in the history of the United Church of Christ. Today, the General Synod of the United Church of Christ has voted in support of divestment over the wishes of the committee assigned to discern the issue. The committee, which spent hours reviewing three different resolutions, drafted their own resolution titled "Resolution concerning use of economic leverage in promoting peace in the Middle-east" and clearly and intentionally removed any reference to the term 'divestment'. Members of the United Church of Christ National Office drafted an alternative resolution overnight without the input of the committee studying the issue and without consulting the Pension Boards whose funds this issue concerns. Specifically, Curtis Rueter, chair of the Wider Church Ministries board of directors, with assistance from Peter Makari, Area Executive for the Middle East and Europe of the Common Global Ministries Board, presented the General Synod with the last minute resolution that was voted on with less than an hour of discussion on the floor of the General Synod.

With this action, the United Church of Christ has effectively placed a wedge between itself and the Jewish community. The process of developing the divestment proposal essentially hijacked the discernment process and was done with the noted objection from committee members. The simple fact that National Office staff manufactured the resolution reflects a lack of leadership of John Thomas who refused to speak directly to the issue of divestment before General Synod and ignoring the concerns raised by our Jewish brothers and sisters.

On a personal level, I want to apologize to our Jewish brothers and sisters who will be most affected by this resolution. It is my hope that the UCC will understand the pain that it has caused and change direction.

James Hutchins

This is very sad. Although I am not of the same denomination as the UCC (especially because I'm a Weslyan/Armenian among other reasons), I see this as a poor decsion for the whole of the Christian community. The reasons for this divestment seem far more partisan, rather than led by those seeking God's will. Israel, although not perfect, has been vilified far beyond what they deserve...and this action shows the blind eye many have turned toward the actions of many Palastinians. All in all, I find this to be a very sad day.


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