Below are excerpts from ten resolutions passed at GC06 committing TEC to direct political advocacy. These are culled only from those resolutions that were actually passed -- a number of more directly political resolutions did not get a chance to be voted upon. To be clear, I am not here taking a stand on any one of these political issues, one way or t'other. Some of them I favor, others I don't. What concerns me, though, and drives me to post these, is that I've heard Episcopalians often speak in the harshest terms of the alliance between church and state on the political/theological right (e.g. the Christian Coalition) and whine about how the US under Bush is one step from a becoming an evango-fundie theocracy; but they often fail to see how political their own Christianity is, and at its most fundamental levels. Again, to be clear, I don't necessrily oppose the marriage between church and state -- much good Gospel work has been done through that kind of alliance, in the grand scheme of Christian history. The church certainly has a responsibility to speak up about political issues that concern it from time to time (e.g. MLK, jr. on civil rights, Roman Catholicism on abortion). But let's have no imbalance in the criticism. All sides are political, and all sides have a right, perhaps a responsibility, to be so. The bold print below is mine own and highlights the specific clauses that call for political action, and usually on a specific side of an issue. For more on General Convention Resolutions, click here.
. . . Resolved, That in receiving and affirming the communiqué, the Episcopal Church call upon governments to pursue the achievement of the MDGs through:
1. significantly increased official development assistance to poor countries;
2. debt cancellation premised upon a country’s need for resources to meet the MDGs;
3. fair and open trade policies that allow developing countries to compete in international markets with rich countries;
4. policies designed to alleviate structural barriers and social injustices that exacerbate the effects of poverty in the developing world; and
5. policies that promote full accountability and transparency among developing countries for the use of resources derived through foreign aid while still allowing strategies for accountability and transparency to be dictated by developing countries themselves; and be it further . . .
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention encourage the dioceses of the Episcopal Church to urge their congregations and institutions to pray for our sisters and brothers in the Diocese of Jerusalem and the Middle East; to visit the Christian congregations in the Holy Land; to receive visitors from the Holy Land; to work for justice, peace, and reconciliation in the Holy Land with renewed commitment; and to urge elected officials and policy makers to seek solutions that will realize these goals for all.
And be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church deplore any action by the Government of the United States which unduly emphasizes enforcement, including militarization of the border between the United States and Mexico, as the primary response to immigrants entering the United States to work, and be it further . . .
Resolved, That this campaign call the church to commit to welcoming strangers as a matter of Christian responsibility, to advocate for their wellbeing and protection and to urge its members to resist legislation and actions which violate our fundamental beliefs as Christians, including the criminalization of persons providing humanitarian assistance to migrants.
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention reaffirm the Episcopal Church’s historical support of gay and lesbian persons as children of God and entitled to full civil rights; and be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention reaffirm the 71st General Convention’s action calling upon “municipal council, state legislatures and the United States Congress to approve measures giving gay and lesbian couples protection[s] such as: bereavement and family leave policies; health benefits; pension benefits; real-estate transfer tax benefits; and commitments to mutual support enjoyed by non-gay married couples”; and be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention oppose any state or federal constitutional amendment that prohibits same-sex civil marriage or civil unions.
Resolved, That Episcopalians strongly encourage state legislatures and state and local boards of education to establish standards for science education based on the best available scientific knowledge as accepted by a consensus of the scientific community. . . .
Resolved, That the Episcopal Church urge all worshiping communities, missions, parishes, dioceses, provinces, seminaries and educational institutions, boards and commissions to:
Educate their constituent members about HIV/AIDS with a goal of eliminating any stigma associated with the disease.
Educate their local, state and federal elected officials and representatives about HIV/AIDS with the goal of creating knowledgeable, compassionate, and sensitive public policy in educational services, support services, and medical treatment institutions.
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention affirm that Global Warming threatens the future of God’s good creation, and the effects of Global Warming disproportionately hurt the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable in the United States and around the world; and be it further
Resolved, That Episcopalians and The Episcopal Church at every level support efforts that seek to reduce Global Warming, including national and international legislation that increase the supply of clean energy and reduce consumption of fossil fuels; and be it further . . .
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention, affirming our commitments to become a transformed, anti-racist church and to work toward healing, reconciliation and a restoration of wholeness to the family of God, urge the Church at every level to call upon Congress and the American people to support legislation initiating study of and dialogue about the history and legacy of slavery in the United States and of proposals for monetary and non-monetary reparations to the descendants of the victims of slavery.
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention adopt the following statement:
The 75th General Convention of The Episcopal Church declares that efforts to criminalize homosexual behavior are incompatible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, incompatible with resolutions at successive Lambeth conferences including the 1998 Lambeth Resolution I.10, and incompatible with the Primates’ statement from Dromantine . . .
And be it further Resolved, That the Secretary of the 75th General Convention convey this resolution to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, all Primates in the Anglican Communion, the President of the United States, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Secretary General of the United Nations, Anglican Observer of the United Nations, heads of state of all nations represented by Bishops and Deputies, all U.S. Senators and Representatives and the Governors of all states or territories within the pastoral jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church.
. . . Resolved, That the General Convention establish the work toward the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals as a mission priority for the coming triennium . . .
. . . Resolved, That the General Convention endorse “The ONE Campaign,” the U.S. movement for the MDGs, through The Episcopal Church’s “ONE Episcopalian” campaign; call on all parishes, missions, congregations, and dioceses, and individuals to join the ONE Episcopalian campaign; and publicly endorse The ONE Campaign’s call for the United States government to annually spend an additional one percent of its budget to combat global poverty, and to be active advocates for the achievement of this work.