Presbyterians Approve Resolutions Condemning Apartheid In South Africa
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ In its strongest anti-apartheid position to date, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) urged its members to lobby for stiff economic sanctions against Africa.
The resolution Tuesday urged the nation’s 3.1 million Presbyterians to encourage U.S. lenders not to renew loans with South Africa.
The Assembly also approved a resolution calling on the U.S. government to apply direct economic and political pressure on South Africa, insisting on the total dismantling of apartheid.
″In the past we had said we were against apartheid but we had never called on members of the church in such detail to communicate with U.S. financial institutions involved in lending with South Africa,″ said group spokeswomen Marj Carpenter.
Following the vote, the Rev. Benjamin Weir, a former hostage in Lebanon who was elected leader of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) last week, led the assembly in a special prayer for the victims of apartheid.
″We pray at this hour for those who have suffered today and in previous days for matters of conscience,″ Weir said.
The South Africa resolutions were among a number of justice and human rights resolutions considered by the assembly before ending its nine-day meeting today.
The delegates rejected a move to reconsider the church’s pro-choice stand on abortion, turning down a measure which would have commissioned a study of the abortion issue.
The Rev. Bart Tarman of Santa Barbara, Calif., said the 281-266 vote was the closest margin on the issue in 16 years and proves anti-abortion forces within the church are gaining momentum.