Pubdate: Sat, 29 Jun 2002
Source: Charlotte Observer (NC)
Copyright: 2002 The Charlotte Observer
Author: Religion News Service


In this summer of religious gatherings, several denominations have taken 
stands on powerful issues:

Decriminalize drugs

Unitarian Universalists have called for decriminalizing drugs.The Unitarian 
Universalist Association (UUA), meeting in Quebec for its annual General 
Assembly meeting, passed a "Statement of Conscience" that called the 
American war on drugs a failure.

The denomination's president, the Rev. William Sinkford, said "the 
so-called war on drugs is creating violence, endangering children, clogging 
the criminal justice system, eroding civil liberties, and 
disproportionately punishing people of color. It's time for a cease-fire."

The statement is one of the strongest pro-drug stands by a major religious 

The Boston-based church pledged to work for:

. The decriminalization of all drugs, which would be available with a 

. Forcing insurance companies to pay for drug abuse treatment like it does 
"other chronic health conditions."

. Setting "a legal, regulated and taxed market for marijuana. Treat 
marijuana as we treat alcohol."

. Imposing criminal penalties on drug users only if they commit another 
crime, such as burglary or vandalism.

. Devoting current anti-drug resources to research, treatment and education.

The sin of slavery

The Presbyterian Church in America has confessed its involvement in the 
"heinous sins" of racism and slavery.

"The heinous sins attendant with unbiblical forms of servitude -- including 
oppression, racism, exploitation, manstealing and chattel slavery -- stand 
in opposition to the Gospel," stated a resolution passed at the 
denomination's General Assembly in Birmingham Ala. "We therefore confess 
our involvement in these sins. ... We therefore publicly repent of our 
pride, our complacency and our complicity. Furthermore, we seek the 
forgiveness of our brothers and sisters for the reticence of our hearts 
that has constrained us from acting swiftly in this matter."

The resolution concludes with a call for racial reconciliation, the 
creation of urban and minority congregations and the enhancing of 
ministries across racial, social and economic lines.

More conservative than the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the PCA is home to 
more than 300,000 members.

Salvation statement OK'd

At its General Assembly in Columbus, Ohio, the nation's largest 
Presbyterian church sidestepped a battle over salvation by approving a 
statement on salvation theology that appeared to satisfy liberals and 

Delegates of the 2.5 million-member denomination endorsed "Hope in the Lord 
Jesus Christ," a statement drafted by the church's theology and worship office:

"Jesus Christ is the only Savior and Lord, and all people everywhere are 
called to place their faith, hope and love in him. No one is saved by 
virtue of inherent goodness or admirable living."
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