Friday, June 6, 2014

Peacemaking and International Issues Committee - Advocacy as Discipleship

This post is a continuation of Advocacy as Discipleship Pre-GA Issue. This edition of this publication seeks to provide an preview of the social justice business before the 221st General Assembly (2014) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Peacemaking and International Issues – Committee 11


Cuba is the focus of three overtures under consideration by this Assembly. Overture 11-03, sponsored by Long Island Presbytery, overtures the General Assembly to act and petition for the removal of Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, citing the country's international commitments to combat terrorism, sponsorship of peace talks in Colombia, expression of solidarity with the United States after the September 11 terrorist attacks, and collaboration with the U.S. in counter-drug traffic efforts.

Sponsored by St. Augustine Presbytery, item 11-05 overtures the General Assembly to petition the president of the United States, the U.S. Department of State, and other relevant agencies to remove all restrictions on travel by U.S. citizens to Cuba and to petition the U.S. Congress to repeal all laws restricting travel to Cuba.

Item 11-06, sponsored by Santa Fe Presbytery, overtures the General Assembly to direct the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP), in consultation with World Mission, to design and implement a consultative process to provide guidance and recommendations for the church's mission engagement and public policy advocacy in regard to Cuba.


There are two overtures regarding Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or drones, up for consideration by the Assembly. The first is Item 11-04, sponsored by Genesee Valley Presbytery, which calls on all countries to halt the use of drones as weapons of war for all activities, specifically calling on the United States to stop the use of drones on its borders "aimed at restricting the movement of peoples." The overture also calls on the UN Security Council to "authorize the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in peacekeeping operations only when such usage is restricted to decreasing military conflict and protecting civilians."

The Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP) sponsored item 11-10, which recommends that the General Assembly affirm several statements regarding drones, war, and surveillance. The Resolution specifically focuses on the morality of drone usage as well as the call for the U.S. Congress to pass legislation governing military and domestic drones and increasing accountability of surveillance agencies.

The Plight of the Church

Pittsburgh Presbytery sponsored item 11-02 to overture the General Assembly of the PC(USA) "to direct our attention to the plight of the church of Jesus Christ that is suffering due to sectarian violence and persecution in Egypt and other parts of the world" and serve as a call for all Christians "to unite in support and prayer" which "should be reflected in direct interaction with the persecuted church" and include numerous forms of demonstrated support.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo

Overture 11-12, sponsored by Boston Presbytery, calls on the General Assembly to "help remedy continuing tragic conditions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo" and to ensure the fundamental human rights of all people. Specifically, the overture calls on the United States government to work to end sexual- and gender-based violence, halt the recruitment of child soldiers, promote transparency in extractive (mineral) industries, and assist the government of the DRC to strengthen the country's educational system. It further calls for a study of what it would take to make the PC(USA) "conflict-free" in terms of investments in extractive industries. Finally, the overture encourages individuals, churches, and presbyteries to pray with and for the people of the DRC for justice and peace and participate in other means of advocacy.

Western Sahara

Item 11-08, sponsored by the Presbyterian Mission Agency, recommends that the General Assembly urge the appropriate parties "to continue to call upon the community of nations to support self-determination for the people of the region known as Western Sahara."

Haiti and The Dominican Republic

The Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns (ACREC) sponsored item 11-09, which addresses a decision made by the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic regarding Dominican citizenship and is resulting in increasing numbers of "stateless people." Overture 11-09 requests the General Assembly to advocate for the people affected by the Court decision and speak out against statelessness of and discrimination towards those impacted by the ruling, particularly those living in the United States.

Sexual Violence within the U.S. Military

The Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP) brings forth item 11-14 on sexual violence within the U.S. Military. The Resolution supports efforts of military chaplains to provide pastoral care and advocacy for service members of the military who have experienced abuse in any form. The Resolution also commends military and legislative leaders who are developing policies to eliminate sexual violence in the military and calls on the PC(USA) to support and advocate for these policies.

To read the complete items of business before the Peacemaking and International Issues Committee, visit the General Assembly's business website at