United Methodist petitions cover range of issues
UMNS photo by Paul Jeffrey
Carol Winn Crawford, Louisiana, speaks
during a session of the church and society legislative committee
during the 2004 United Methodist General Conference.
May 13, 2004
By Linda Bloom*
(UMNS) - Delegates to the 2004 United Methodist General Conference
approved a number of legislative petitions that never came up for debate
during the April 27-May 7 assembly.
because the petitions - on topics ranging from domestic social concerns
to international issues to guidelines for church life - were voted on
as a group after being placed on a "consent calendar." Those items had
few opposing votes, either for concurrence or nonconcurrence, from the
legislative committees that processed them.
consent calendar items corrected, tightened or updated language
currently found in the Book of Discipline, the denomination's book of
law and Social Principles, or updated or replaced existing resolutions
in the Book of Resolutions.
petitions approved on consent dealt with the issues of war and
terrorism. Replacing and updating an existing resolution on terrorism
was one that condemns all acts of terror but also opposes the use of
indiscriminate military force to combat terrorism and policies, which,
in the name of combating terrorism, violate civil and human rights.
UMNS photo by Mike DuBose
Rev. Paul Matheri, traveled from his home in Naivasha, Kenya, to attend
the 2004 United Methodist General Conference in Pittsburgh.
new and related resolution on "Refugees, Immigrants and Visitors to the
United States" notes that the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, have
provided a basis for unjust treatment of some immigrants and made it
difficult for some visitors to enter the country. An obvious example for
United Methodists was the fact that some international delegates were
unable to obtain visas to attend General Conference.
language in the Social Principles, Paragraph 165.C, on "War and Peace"
now rejects war "as an instrument of national foreign policy, to be
employed only as a last resort in the prevention of such evils as
genocide, brutal suppression of human rights and unprovoked
new resolution opposes all unilateral first-strike actions and "calls
on the president and Congress of the United States to cease and desist
from such actions without ramification by, and collaboration with, the
United Nations." Another new resolution supports the development of a
Department of Peace by the U.S. government. A bill that would establish
such a department, H.R. 2459, has been introduced in the House of
voted by consent to retain the current resolution on "Responsible
Parenthood" in the Book of Resolutions. That resolution supports "the
legal right to abortion as established by the 1973 Supreme Court."
on abortion in Paragraph 161.J of the Social Principles was amended to
include the sentence, "We particularly encourage the church, the
government, and social service agencies to support and facilitate the
option of adoption." A new resolution, "Ministry to those who regret a
past abortion," encourages pastors and local churches to make referrals
and information available for those seeking help with "post-abortion
a 877-19 vote, delegates passed a resolution supporting compensation
for the Comfort Women of Korea, Malaysia, Burma, China, Taiwan, East
Timor, Indonesia and the Pacific Islands, who were enslaved by the
Japanese military during World War II. The delegates called upon the
United Methodist Board of Global Ministries to develop a strategy to
urge the Japanese government to acknowledge fully its responsibility and
liability. The board will report back to the 2008 General Conference.
Other resolutions adopted by consent call for United Methodists to:
- Address the problem of binge drinking on college campuses.
in further dialogue on issues related to homosexuality and unity of the
church "with the hope that our struggles with these concerns will take a
more civil character to the benefit of us all."
developments related to genetically modified plants and animals and
educate church members on concerns regarding this issue.
More information about the actions of the 2004 United Methodist General Conference can be found at www.gc2004.org, the assembly's Web site.
is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.
News media can contact Linda Bloom at (646) 369-3759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.