Positions on Social Issues
Diocesan social positions are established by vote of the delegates in the Diocesan Convention and inform the actions of diocesan staff and committees. Those presented below stretch back over the course of some years, during which emphasis may have changed, but principles have not. The 2010 through 2014 files also include resolutions related to other matters such as the diocesan budget. Recent resolutions may be found using the links to the right of the page.
Abortion, Needs of the Poor, Aging
AbortionThe Diocese supports freedom of choice in abortion. The Diocesan Council in 1969 endorsed “repeal of all laws governing the performance of an abortion by a licensed physician.” Convention in 1972 gave support to New York’s new law permitting prospective mothers “to choose to give or not to give birth to a child.” Convention in 1974 (reaffirmed in 1986) endorsed the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court “allowing women to exercise their own conscience in the matter of abortions.” The Diocese is an affiliate of the New York State Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights.
Advocacy; Needs of the PoorHolding that the Church should be a major advocate for the poor, the homeless, and the hungry, the Convention has called upon congregations (1984 and 1986) and Regions and Interparish Councils (1973) to develop advocacy programs in aid of those “less able to articulate their needs” to Congress, state legislatures, and municipal authorities. This should involve monitoring of the delivery of human services (1982). (See also Hunger & Homelessness, Social Services)
Support for a federal health and hospital insurance program (now known as Medicare) was voted by Convention in 1963. In 1986, Convention called on clergy and congregations to recognize “the growing need for the Church to consolidate and coordinate its strength and resources for ministry to a burgeoning population of persons over sixty years of age.” The Diocese is an affiliate of the New York State Coalition of the Concerned for Older Americans.
AIDS, Alcohol & Drugs, War Resisters
In 1983, 1985, and 1987, the Convention recognized “with love and compassion the tragic human suffering and loss of life involved in the AIDS epidemic;” called upon the federal government to release “much needed monies for research into the cause and cure of AIDS and to the care of people with AIDS;” affirmed that AIDS was to be viewed as a concern of Christian people, calling for their ministry and their intercessory prayers; and repudiated any and all statements which “condemn or reject the victims of AIDS” or label AIDS as “God’s punishment upon gay men.” In 1987, Convention recorded its opposition to routine or mandatory HIV Antibody Testing of “our most politically vulnerable populations” or as a condition of “employment, insurance, housing, medical care, or any other form of discrimination.”
Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Convention in 1965 recorded its conviction that “alcoholism is an illness of mind, body, and spirit,” called upon its clergy to equip themselves to “take their place with Alcoholics Anonymous and the medical profession in a combined healing ministry to alcoholics,” urged all Churchpeople to help develop “within the Church and the community the healing environment within which alcoholics may be helped to recover,” and called upon government at all levels “to appropriate the funds needed to establish and maintain adequate programs for alcoholics’ rehabilitation.” In 1988, the Convention recognized that the same understanding and healing ministry should be extended to all chemically dependent persons, including drug abusers, and to their families. (See also Narcotics Addicts)
Amnesty for War Resisters
Through a memorial to General Convention, the Convention in 1973 called on “the appropriate civil authorities to grant amnesty to all who have refused military service in Vietnam for reason of conscience.” In 1975, the Convention called on the President “to declare a general and unconditional amnesty for all those in prison or under threat of prosecution for draft evasion or desertion.”
Anti-Semitism, Bail, Religious Bigotry
The Convention in 1975 and again in 1990 and 1992 denounced anti-Semitism and called upon the people of the Diocese to cause this form of prejudice and discrimination to disappear from our national and personal lives. Detecting a rise in frequency and violence in acts of anti-Semitism at home and abroad, the 1982 Convention urged the people of the Diocese “to search for and find ways and opportunities to stand shoulder to shoulder with our Jewish friends and neighbors against the evils of discrimination and prejudice.” A 1985 Convention resolution called on “diocesan clergy and laity, parishes, and other institutions to further dialogue between Christians and Jews,” urging each parish to form a committee to work on “instituting a structured dialogue between Christians and Jews” and directing the Diocese to “take a more active role in supporting the work among Christians and Jews already under way within its boundaries.”
Bail: Release of Accused Persons
In 1965 and again in 1971, Convention endorsed the practice of releasing without bail (in the custody of responsible persons or on their own recognizance) all accused persons except when such release would endanger public safety. Both resolutions noted the plight of those accused persons “imprisoned solely because they are too poor to raise bail.” The 1971 resolution took note of the “understaffed and overcrowded conditions of our courts and prisons.” Council in 1973 endorsed in principle the establishment of a Diocesan bail bond fund for the indigent, the capital (gifts and/or loans) to come from congregations and individuals.
In 1992 the Convention resolved to address specific areas of religious bigoty and ignorance, particularly as in relations between Christians, Jews and Muslims. In 1997 Convention expressed concern at the rising level of religious persecution worldwide, and noted the increase in anti-Christian violence.
Birth Control, Death Penalty, Children
Birth Control: Contraceptive Devices
Taking note of General Convention statements in support of family planning and freedom of information about birth control, Convention in 1965 went on record opposing “such laws as may now exist that serve to prevent or inhibit the dispensing of birth control information and contraceptive devices by licensed physicians, hospitals, and medical clinics.” This applied to both married and unmarried persons, and included support for the use of government funds for such purposes (for example, “making birth control information available to welfare recipients”).
Capital Punishment: Death Penalty
Following the action of General Convention in 1958, the Diocese has since its 1960 Convention opposed the death penalty for any crime, pressing actively for legislative abolition of capital punishment. Convention resolutions in 1973, 1975, and 1990 have reaffirmed this stand.
The 1994 Convention supported legislative action “that addresses the critical needs of children in early childhood programs, in public schools, and in programs for adolescents at risk.”
Church State Separation, Compensation Inequities, Cuba
Church/State SeparationConcerned that elected officials not use the power of the state to move in any way toward an establishment of religion or to prohibit in any way its free exercise, the 1984 Convention affirmed that this separation of Church and State is “especially necessary as the soil in which is nurtured invigoration of each and the integrity of both.” (See also Parochial School Aid)
Compensation, Inequity inThe 1998 Convention noted the increasing inequity in compensation in the global economy, and urged review of all compensation ratios in diocesan and parish employment policies.
In 1992 the Convention called for an end to the U.S. interdiction of trade with Cuba, and the normalization of relations.
Dying, Domestic Partners, Domestic Violence
Deferring Death; Dying
The 1975 Convention stated its belief “that life should not be arrogantly and futilely prolonged in those instances where there is no reasonable expectation of genuine hope of recovery.” Its resolution declared that “in consultation with their physician and priest, persons (or members of the family when the patients are incompetent) may rightly request that no heroic or extraordinary measures be employed to defer death, and that physicians and others responsible for the care and comfort of these patients are morally obligated to be attentive and give respectful consideration to the wishes and requests of these patients.”
The 1996 Convention directed “the diocesan administration to seek the means to extend all financial benefits, for which the Diocese has administrative responsibility and which pertain to the spouses of married employees, to same-sex partners of single employees.”
See also Same Sex Civil Marriage, Homosexuality
The 1988 Convention called on its member congregations “to become involved in measures for the prevention of family violence and sexual abuse, and to offer support for the victims of such violence,” urging congregations to assist the work of community shelters and other service agencies with financial contributions and encouragement. In 1990, the Council adopted a memorial to General Convention calling upon “the Church at every level … to address violence in every sector of society.”
Economic Justice, Employment, Energy
Economic JusticeThe 1999 Convention supported the 1998 Lambeth Resolution on International Debt and Economic Justice, noting the existence around the world of communities burdened by debt, its concerns for people burdened by debt incurred without their approval and/or without their participation in the decision process, and its serious objections where debt-encumbered funds have been used to make purchases unrelated to the economic needs of local peoples.
Employment and Training
Taking note of the “current economic depression” and its repercussions, including high unemployment among urban youth, Convention in 1975 urged government and voluntary organizations to make “gainful employment and training available to all,” further urging the federal government to act as “an employer of last resort when necessary” by organizing constructive programs of employment.
Energy: Sources and Cost
Convention in 1979 urged those seeking alternative means of production, release or storage of energy to do so “in love of God and man, as acts of stewardship with responsibility,” with no extended use of an energy-producing system until it is fully understood and will produce no waste products which cannot be satisfactorily disposed of “with no danger to the world or its peoples.” The 1979 Convention also called for federal and state legislation to help those with marginal incomes meet the rapidly rising cost of home heating oil.”
Delegates at the 2008 diocesan convention approved a resolution that “endorsed the Earth Charter as a declaration of global ethics consistent with the social, political, environmental and economic justice principles of the Diocese of New York and the Episcopal Church, and called upon the Council of the Diocese and the Social Concerns Commission to develop action steps that the diocese, parishes and individuals may take to implement the principles of the Earth Charter locally, nationally and internationally.
Basic Living Standard, Equal Rights, Extremists
Entitlement to a Basic Living StandardThe 1981 Convention recorded its “strong, resolute support” of the principle of entitlement — “that Americans are entitled by law and right to a certain basic standard of living (food, clothing, shelter, legal representation, health care, education)” — and called for its implementation at every level of government. An earlier Convention (1975) had called upon the federal government to “devise and initiate a broad program of corrective action” to insure the availability of these basic necessities. (See also Hunger & Homelessness, Advocacy)
Equal RightsEarlier Convention statements of support for the achievement of basic constitutional and human rights for women, for blacks, and for “other minorities similarly affected” were reaffirmed in an omnibus Convention resolution in 1978.
In 1963, the Convention condemned extremists “both of the Right and of the Left who often resort to false witness, slander, distortion and over-simplification” and whose activities have “often aroused suspicion, mistrust, and confusion within the Church,; reminding Churchpeople to “examine carefully charges of disloyalty and subversion brought by extremist groups, and the over-simplified appraisal of our situation which they promote.”
Foreign Aid, Funerals, Gambling
Foreign AidRecognizing a responsibility for “the well-being of our brothers in the economically under-developed countries” where necessary capital cannot be raised locally or “through the normal channels of private investment from abroad,” Convention in 1962 urged that “an increased appropriation of mutual security funds be devoted to economic aid and technical assistance.” A 1983 Convention resolution called upon the governments of the United Sates and the U.S.S.R. to work with all countries that are “trying to better their standard of living and civil liberties, no matter what form of government they choose,” but that foreign aid be withheld from those countries where these standards are not being met.
Funeral Practices; Christian BurialA 1965 Convention resolution urged people of the Church to “consult with their clergyman and perhaps with a funeral director about desired arrangements for their own burial, registering their burial wishes in writing with their next-of-kin and with the parish.”
Convention voiced opposition to legalized off-track betting in 1965, to state-operated lotteries in 1966, and in 1979 to the establishment of gambling casinos in New York State. The 1966 resolution expressed opposition to “any proposal through which state or municipal governments would encourage further gambling by the general population to increase support of public services.”
Guns, Hate Crimes, Health Insurance
Gun ControlTaking note of the number of “gun-inflicted killings” and the “impossibility of relying on local gun control laws” given the flow of handguns across state lines, Convention in 1975 called upon Congress “to enact legislation to control the manufacture, importation, sale, interstate and intrastate shipment, ownership, possession, registration, and use of all guns, parts and ammunition.” In 1996 Convention affirmed and supported “the continued ban on sales and importation of assault weapons, parts, and ammunition.”
Hate CrimesIn 1996, Convention strongly condemned the rash of church arsons that had taken place in the preceding year, and offered specific support to one of the churches thus burned. The 1999 Convention supported “legislative efforts deploring hate crimes in our country and urging passage of legislation that will render such crimes illegal,” and requested governmental authorities at all levels to “implement a plan of action which includes orientation and ongoing training of all police officers, corrections officers, state troopers and federal law enforcement authorities, and that the objective of the training program must mandate the need for equal treatment of all persons regardless of race, creed, gender, age, sexual orientation or disability,” and further demanded that “governmental authorities who cannot adhere to the concept of equal rights for all, not be permitted to function as police officers, corrections officers, state troopers or federal law enforcement officers.”
Health Insurance, National
The 1994 Convention supported the implementation of a national health insurance plan “that is truly universal and permanent.”
Homosexuality; Private Sexual Morality
The 1978 Convention memorialized the General Convention, stating that the effect of the sexual preference of a candidate for ordination on fitness for ministry be left to the discretion of the Diocesan Bishop; that the Standing Committee and Commission on Ministry ought not raise the issue in their consideration of a candidate’s fitness; and called on the Bishops for pastoral counseling to the individual.
The 1983 Convention noted the use of the AIDS crisis to “perpetuate prejudice and to fan hatred against gay men?” and rejected seeing AIDS as “God’s punishment upon gay men and others as put fort by proponents of the New Right and the sects.”
The 1988 Convention requested the Bishop to appoint a task force on sexuality, heterosexism and homophobia.
The 1991 Convention expressed dismay over increased police violence against a number of groups, including gay and lesbian people.
The 1995 Convention affirmed the Koinonia Statement in acknowledgement of the “reality that already exists in our Diocese.” The same Convention called upon Diocesan stockholding entities to urge companies in their portfolios to “prohibit employment discrimination based on marital status and sexual orientation,” inform employees of this prohibition, and provide anti-discrimination training to personnel officers. The Convention also supported the passage of an amendment to the New York State Anti-Discrimination Laws that would outlaw discrimination against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation.
The 1996 Convention directed “the diocesan administration to seek the means to extend all financial benefits, for which the Diocese has administrative responsibility and which pertain to the spouses of married employees, to same-sex partners of single employees.”
The 1998 Convention supported “an official presence of the Diocese in the Parade, and urges parishioners from the Diocese to participate in the Parade and in the liturgical events incidental to it, as an indication that the motto, “The Episcopal Church Welcomes You” applies to absolutely everyone.”
In response to Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Convention, the 1999 Diocesan Convention affirmed section (c) of that resolution, recognizing “that there are among us persons who experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation,” and that states, “We commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptized,, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.” The Convention affirmed “the traditional understanding of the Anglican Communion that Scripture, tradition, and reason together provide the basis for our discernment of God’s will in our lives,” and rejected that portion of the Lambeth resolution (section d) “rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture.”
Housing, Hunger/Homelessness, Integration
Housing; Urban RenewalConvention actions in 1963, 1965, each year from 1970 through 1974, and 1978 recognized a continuing shortage of decent housing for low-income and middle-income families in all parts of the Diocese, but especially in New York City. Support was voted for a comprehensive New York City housing code centrally administered; for urban renewal “based on considerations of further social justice as well as improving the municipality’s physical plant and economic vigor;” for a moratorium on the demolition of sound housing structures that might be rehabilitated; for repeal in New York City of the Vacancy Decontrol Law and the Maximum Base Rent Law; for a variety of laws and programs designed to spur rehabilitation of old housing as well as construction of new; and for a variety of laws and programs seeking to enforce or foster integration in housing and urban renewal. The 1970 resolution led to the creation of the Episcopal Housing Corporation of the Diocese. A 1983 Convention resolution called for New York City executive and legislative action to halt all single-room occupancy hotel conversions and all condominium conversions; to increase the number of tenants needed for co-op conversion to 51%; to set new requirements for renovation and for new construction to ensure the inclusion of low- and moderate-income units, and priority for displaced tenants; and speed the process through which abandoned buildings are taken over.
Hunger at Home and Abroad; HomelessnessCongregations and Churchpeople were urged by the Conventions of 1978, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984, and 1986 to initiate and support feeding programs for the hungry in their communities, and to contribute to the Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief to help feed the hungry in other countries. Each resolution called for parish programs to foster an understanding of the causes of domestic and world hunger. Each affirmed that feeding the hungry and housing the homeless were Christian priorities. Each called on Churchpeople (in the words of the 1984 resolution) “to establish a continuing relationship with their senators and representatives at both state and national levels, to remind them that feeding hungry people and eliminating the causes of hunger at home and abroad is a constant concern; and (in the words of the 1982 resolution) should be “a major priority of our government.” (See also Advocacy.)
In addition to adopting a variety of resolutions on specific civil rights measures, Convention has given support to achieving quality integrated education in New York City (1964), to active promotion of racial integration in housing and urban renewal (1963 and 1972), and to efforts to end apartheid in South Africa (1965).
Legislative Activity, Literacy, Marijuana
Legislative ActivityConvention in 1965 directed that the Diocese be represented by an appointee of the Bishop at all regular meetings of the Legislative Commission of the New York State Council of Churches. The same resolution stated that “between meetings of the Convention, the Council of the Diocese (is) empowered to formulate and state the position of the Diocese on legislative issues if the Convention has not already acted on such issues.” (See also Racism.)
LiteracyThe Convention (1994) called for cooperation with the New York State Department of Education in developing literacy programs in schools and communities.
“Support for the immediate decriminalization of the possession in private of marijuana for personal use” was voted by Convention in 1975. The same Convention committed the Diocese to support “a model of strict state-regulated control of marijuana sales to adults.” Earlier, in 1973, Convention had memorialized General Convention to call upon civil authorities to grant pardon and/or clemency to “persons who are currently incarcerated for mere possession and use of marijuana.”
Migrant/Agricultural Workers, Military Service/Veterans' Benefits, Narcotics Addics/Drug Abusers
Migrant Workers; Agricultural WorkersCalling the plight of migrant workers and other agricultural workers “a scandal in a generally affluent society,” Convention in 1968 urged the New York State Legislature to bring these laborers under the State Labor Relations Act, to raise their wages to existing state minimum wage standards, and to extend to them coverage under the Workmen’s Compensation Law as well as unemployment insurance coverage. Congress was urged to bring such workers under the National Labor Relations Act.
In 1992 the Convention decried “those laws and regulations which deny farmworkers the same rights, benefits, and compensation afforded other laborers.”
Military Service; Veterans’ BenefitsIn its 1973 resolution dealing with amnesty for war resisters, Convention also recognized and commended “those who in obedience to conscience and the call of their country chose to follow the law of the land and serve in Vietnam or wherever called upon to go.” A 1975 Convention resolution requested the President and Congress “to offer due and proper recognition of the honorable service of Vietnam veterans by upgrading education and insurance benefits to the equivalent of those provided those who served in World War II.” New York’s Governor and Legislature were urged to continue funding New York State’s County Veteran Service Agency offices and to “provide other benefits commensurate with recognition of those who honorably served in their country’s Armed Forces” in Vietnam.
Narcotic Addicts; Drug Abusers
“Humane treatment of the addict, including the addicted seller of narcotics, as a person needing rehabilitation rather than as a criminal needing punishment” was called for by Convention in 1964. This was reinforced by Convention endorsement in 1966 of programs which “serve to facilitate the realistic, socially acceptable re-entry of the narcotic addict into the community.” That 1966 resolution expressed “deep concern for the moral, constitutional, and practical implications of mandatory civil commitment of non-criminal addicts;” it also supported rehabilitation programs for those addicted to or abusive of non-narcotic drugs.
The 1999 Convention called for the repeal or revision of the Rockefeller Drug Laws, and called for “a more cost effective and humane route of treatment in the community, and, if the offender should be incarcerated, ensure that adequate treatment is available.
See also “Marijuana.”
Nicaragua, Nuclear Disarmament, Parochial School Aid
NicaraguaThe 1983 and 1985 Conventions registered opposition to “efforts of the United States government to overthrow the Nicaraguan government.”
Nuclear DisarmamentThe 1981 Convention called on the President and Congress to propose to the President and the Politburo of the U.S.S.R. “an immediate mutual freeze on the testing, production, and deployment of nuclear weapons, and of missiles and new aircraft designed to deliver those weapons.” Convention resolutions in 1983 called upon the two governments to negotiate similar freezes on laser and particle beam satellites and weapons systems, and on biological weapons. A 1983 resolution called on the U.S. government to delay for one year the deployment of Cruise and Pershing II missiles, and to intensify arms reduction negotiations during that period. In 1984, Convention declared its opposition to “first use” policies and concepts of deterrence. A 1987 Convention resolution urged continued adherence to the terms of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the 1979 Salt II treaty, supported a comprehensive test ban, and opposed the development and deployment by any nation of space-based or first strike weapons.” In 1991, Convention called for the cessation of “the manufacture and testing of all nuclear weapons.”
Parochial School Aid
Convention in 1971 expressed its belief that “none but public schools should be supported with public monies,” and urged that Article XI, Section 3, of the New York State Constitution be retained with its “clear and unequivocal prohibition against providing religious and sectarian schools with public monies for anything except examination or inspection, and the transportation of children.” (See also Church/State Separation, Public School Education)
Persons with Disabilities, Police Violence, Poverty
Persons with DisabilitiesThe needs of persons with disabilities were addressed in two resolutions of 1992, which called for the formation of at least one “Open Congregation” in each Interparish Council (and for the implementation of accessibility guidelines at the Cathedral), and for the inclusion of training for ministry with persons with disabilities in seminary curriculums.
Police ViolenceIn 1991Convention expressed “dismay over the increase in police violence in the cities and communities within our Diocese, especially violence against African-American, Latino, Asian, Gay and Lesbian people, Native American people and the destitute,” and called “upon local law enforcement officials to halt this destructive development.”
The 1999 Convention, in response to the killing af Amadou Diallo, deplored the actions of the police officers involved and the failure of City officials to repond appropriately. The Convention protested the failure of City leadership to acknoweldge the existence of “racial profiling” and called on the New York City Police Department “formally to adopt strong policies and procedures that prohibit racial profiling and to work closely with its personnel and community leaders to eradicate race as the basis for interventions by police.” (see also Hate Crimes)
Support of anti-poverty programs of the federal government, especially Community Action Programs and legal services for the poort, was voted by Convention in 1967, 1968, and 1973, and by Council in 1970. (See also Advocacy; Hunger)
Prisons/Prisoners, Public School Education, Puerto Rico
Prison, PrisonersConvention in 1971 urged immediate administrative and legislative action to ease understaffed and overcrowded conditions in New York’s prisons. It also gave support to “increased appropriations for rehabilitation services to prepared the prisoner to re-enter society, such as educational projects aimed at making all inmates at least functionally literate.” In 1975, it urged “the development of a new approach to crime and punishment designed to rehabilitate, wherever possible, and to provide humane control in other cases.”
Public School EducationAffirming that the “maintenance of free elementary and secondary public schools of the highest quality should continue to be the main objective of local, state, and federal governments in their educational policies,” the 1961 Convention called for federal financing of high quality public education “where local or state financing is demonstrably inadequate.” Convention in 1964 urged the State Legislature to “raise the ceiling in the state aid formula to at least the state-wide average expenditure per child.” It called on the people of the Diocese to “recognize and accept the need for increased state taxation if the urgent needs of our public education system are to be met.” A 1978 resolution of Convention called for the development of classroom teacher accountability where pupils’ performance fell short of expected levels.
Puerto Rico, Autonomy
In 1992 the Convention called for the amnesty for all “Puerto Rican prisoners of conscience (as defined by Amnesty International) and political prisoners” as well was for advocates of independence in exile, as a show of good faith in the process of self-determination for Puerto Rico.
Racism, Refugees/Immigration, Replacement Workers
In 1991 Convention called for a Racism Audit and reaffirmed that hiring and funding practices “should reflect the cultural diversity and richness of God’s creative hand.”
In 1992 Convention addressed what it called “Environmental Racism” and called on City officials to stop the operation of a Bronx medical waste facility that had been constructed without community involvement or approval.
Convention (1999) expressed its belief that “racial profiling” by the police department is an example of insitutional racism, and called for reform of such practices. (See also Police Violence, Hate Crimes.)
Convention in 1981 “strongly” urged the President to declare amnesty for all undocumented people (illegal aliens) living in the United States. It also urged the President and Congress “to revise the rules and laws governing the granting of refugee status so that people fleeing countries like Haiti will be treated like refugees instead of criminals.” In 1974, Convention urged that political refugee status be granted to 400 Haitians then being detained in Florida and facing possible deportation. Convention urged parish support and sponsorship of resettlement of Indochinese refugees (1979) and Haitian refugees (1980). A 1960 Convention resolution supported immigration laws free of “injustices and racial and ethnic discrimination.”
The 1995 and 1998 Conventions opposed the hiring of replacements for striking workers.
Same Sex Civil Marriage
A resolution approved at the 2008 diocesan convention calls upon the Governor and the Legislature of the State of New York to ensure civil marriage equality in this state by enacting the necessary legislation to permit same-sex couples to marry.
See also Domestic Partners, Homosexuality; Private Sexual Morality
Service Corps, Sexual Exploitation, Social Programs
Service Corps. (National, New York State)The 1991 Convention called on Congress and the State Legislature respectively to create and fund a National and State Service Corps, “enlisting people to serve in hospitals, mental hospitals, prisons … and other service and conservation projects.’ There would be training and compensation.
Sexual Eploitation, Discrimination, or HarrassmentEarlier Convention resolutions had condemned discrimination based on sex. A Convention resolution in 1990 stated that the “Diocese of New York does not condone or tolerate harassment of any person … or any occurrence of sexual exploitation of any person.” and outlined a projected protocol.
Social Programs (Federal Funding); Social Services
Opposition to the allocation of federal budget funds to the military at the expense of social programs was recorded by the 1981 Convention and reaffirmed vigorously by the 1985 Convention and the 1991 Convention. Earlier, Convention had expressed its concern about welfare budget cutbacks in New York State (1970) and about federal cutbacks in social services support (1973). Increased funding of the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) was voted by Convention in 1987 and again in 1990. Convention opposed Federal cutbacks in social service programs in 1995.
Church Investment, South Africa, Taxation of Religious Institutions
Social Responsibility in Church InvestmentConvention resolutions in 1965 and 1968 (supplemented by Council actions in 1965, 1973, 1974, and 1975) called upon all Diocesan units and all congregations to exercise social responsibility in investments, in construction contracts, and in the purchasing of supplies. In progressive steps, Convention urged that Church bodies use stockholder voting rights, the placement of bank accounts, the selection of contractors, and the selection of suppliers to advance such goals as equal opportunity in employment and in housing, an end to apartheid in South Africa, ghetto self-improvement, and protection of the environment. Participation in Project Equality was approved by the Council in 1965, and positive votes on a variety of social responsibility resolutions appearing in corporate proxy statements were urged by Council in 1973, 1974, and 1975.
South AfricaIn broad terms in 1960, in more concrete terms in 1965 and 1978, and in very specific terms in 1985, Convention has declared its support of those working to end “South African racist policies,” called upon the federal government to seek multilateral cooperation in an embargo on arms and oil shipments and on scientific and cultural exchange, and called for withdrawal of U.S. investments in South Africa, finally urging massive disinvestment (private sector and New York State) and the adoption by Congress of major sanctions. The 1982 Convention affirmed its support of the Rt. Rev. Desmond Tutu in his Christian witness for justice and reconciliation, and deplored his harassment by the South African government. Taxation for Social Improvements
Conventions on several occasions have urged Churchpeople “to recognize and accept the need for increased taxation” by the federal government and/or by New York State in order that certain social improvements being advocated by Convention might be made possible.
Taxation of Religious Institutions
While opposing the taxation of property clearly used for religious purposes, Convention in 1970 and 1971 urged the public disclosure of financial information by religious institutions, holding that the public has a legitimate interest in knowing the financial extent of “various forms of tax exemption provided by federal, state, and local governments.” Church units were urged to “undertake to pay the proper taxing authorities annual real estate taxes whenever the uses of (their) properties do not entitle the same to exempt status.” The 1982 Convention urged all taxing authorities to continue to exempt from taxation all church property used primarily for religious and charitable purposes.
War and Peace, Welfare Reform
War and PeaceConvention in 1970 stated that “Through the Lambeth Conferences since 1930 the Anglican Communion has affirmed that “war as a method of settling international disputes is incompatible with the teaching and example of our Lord Jesus Christ’; it is the clear duty of Christians everywhere to repent, to forgive, and to love in the pursuit of peace.” Convention adopted resolutions on the Vietnam War in 1967, 1967, 1968, 1971, and 1972. (See also Nuclear Disarmament.)
Welfare ReformThe 1998 Convention opposed participation in programs such as New York City’s “Work Experience Program” and insisted that any alternative to welfare must “a) provide remuneration sufficient to lift the recipients above the federal poverty line, b) include the right to collective bargaining over the terms and conditions of employment, and c) include skills-development training and assessment.”