Near the end of the day on Monday, the 220th General Assembly Social Justice Issues Committee had made headway on a lengthy docket.
The committee voted to recommend that the Assembly approve resolutions endorsing a fifty-year farm bill, supporting the work of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and a resolution calling for justice for survivors of sexual assault.
In addition, the committee is recommending implementation of an updated Safe Child Policy for the PC(USA), and a resolution to recognize the importance of prophetic witness in the church. A recommendation calling for positive discipline, rather than corporal punishment, will go to the full Assembly. The committee is also sending on to the Assembly “Renewing God’s Communion in the Work of Economic Reconstruction,” which is a framework of principles and actions for faithful response to the economic crisis.
The committee voted to recommend disapproval of an overture that would have called for reports on the corporate practices of for-profit prisons in the United States. The Rev. Susan Andrews, executive presbyter of Hudson River Presbytery, said in support of the overture: “There is more violence, sex abuse and escapes in these for-profit prisons. The higher the occupancy, the higher the profit. It is like the hotel industry. Profits for prisons has doubled.”
A motion to refer the overture for more study failed. The final vote was 23 yes, 25 no, and 3 abstentions.