Responding to California's AB 2844--moving now through the State Legislature--and bills/action in up to 21 other states, leaders from Christian communities across the country issued a statement today. Together, we resist an unconstitutional (and expensive) effort to intimidate individuals and communities who exercise key rights to organize against injustice through economic measures. See the full statement here: http://www.globalministries.org/employing_economic_measures.
From today's statement on "Employing Economic Measures":
"Churches and church-related organizations have employed such nonviolent tactics in many instances of injustice, both domestically and globally, over the decades. The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the boycott of products made by slave labor are some historical precedents. Some more recent examples include:
- Support for the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to seek fair wages for farmworkers who pick tomatoes used by major restaurant chains. The churches have affirmed boycotts of Taco Bell and Wendy’s in support of the farmworkers.
- Support for United Farm Workers (UFW) who pick the cucumbers used by Mt. Olive Pickle Company, as well as those who pick grapes and lettuce, through consumer boycotts, until it, and other growers, agreed to pay a fair wage.
- Opposition to the use of racially offensive names and logos by professional sports teams through boycotts.
- Participation in the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility to promote socially responsible practices by various companies through shareholder activism.
- Divestment to oppose the policy of apartheid in South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s.
- Corporate engagement with and/or divestment from fossil fuel companies in the context of the climate change debates.
"The current effort to penalize or criminalize such use of economic leverage in the specific case of Israel-Palestine is therefore offensive and disturbing. It strikes us as an attempt to remove a responsible, powerful, and legal method of public witness as an option. To target economic measures in any way on one specific policy issue—Israel-Palestine—is selective and inconsistent. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld, without dissent, the right to boycott (1982).
"As churches and church-related organizations, we may not endorse all aspects of the Palestinian civil society BDS movement; nor do we all have similar policies on the use of economic leverage in the context of Israel-Palestine. However, we all share a hope and desire for an end to occupation, and we continue to advocate for that. If we choose, through debate and reflection, to employ our economic leverage to advance that policy objective, as we do many others, we understand it as our right to do so. It is an assertion of our right as stewards of our financial resources to spend and invest as we choose, and to do so responsibly, according to our theological and moral conviction, expressed in our denominational or organizational policies.
"We must be clear: such an assertion of this right is an effort to change unjust Israeli policy toward Palestinians, not to delegitimize the State of Israel, nor to marginalize or isolate our Jewish neighbors, or their enterprises. Our choices to purchase and invest responsibly, and to advocate with corporations or governments, including our own, are motivated by our firm commitments to justice and peace for all people, without discrimination or exclusion.
"As churches and church-related organizations, we reject any efforts by the State to curtail these rights, and will continue to exercise them, as appropriate and in accordance with our faith and policies.
American Friends Service Committee
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Church of the Brethren, Office of Public Witness
Conference of Major Superiors of Men
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ
Justice and Witness Ministries, United Church of Christ
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Pax Christi International
Pax Christi USA
Presbyterian Church (USA)
United Church of Christ
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society