From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
ABCUSA: VIEQUES ADDRESSED
06 Feb 2001 13:00:31for <@conf2mail.igc.apc.org,conf-wfn.news>; Tue, 6 Feb 2001 13:03:56 -0800 (PST)
AMERICAN BAPTIST NEWS SERVICE
Office of Communication
American Baptist Churches USA
P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851
Phone: (610)768-2077 / Fax: (610)768-2320
Richard W. Schramm, Director
MINISTERS COUNCIL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
CALLING FOR REMOVAL OF U.S. MILITARY
PRESENCE IN VIEQUES
Meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico, members of the
Executive Committee representing the Ministers Council of
American Baptist Churches USA voted unanimously on Jan.
27 to adopt a resolution against continued U.S. military
presence on the island of Vieques.
According to the Rev. Kate Harvey, executive
director of the Ministers Council, the Executive Committee
had learned of the 60-year occupation of Vieques by the
U.S. Navy from an article in an issue of Home Mission
Today, published by The American Baptist Home Mission
Societies/National Ministries. The article (Spring, 2000)
detailed the consequences of the Navy's presence as well
as the involvement of Puerto Rico Baptist churches in
protesting the resumption of military exercises on the
island. Two members of the Ministers Council Executive
Committee also visited Vieques.
During its winter meeting Jan. 25-29 the entire
Executive Committee met with San Juan pastors for a
forum for justice on Vieques led by Dr. Luis Rivera Pagan
of the University of Puerto Rico. The meeting was hosted
by the Baptist Churches of Puerto Rico. "The issue of
obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ has united all the
churches of Puerto Rico as never before in history,"
The statement begins with that commitment: "In
obedience to the Gospel, and in response to the
continuing struggle for social and economic justice by the
residents of Puerto Rico (especially the island of Vieques),
the ABC Ministers Council Executive Committee urges all
American Baptists to pray for peace and justice and to
contact President Bush and their Congress persons in
support of the removal of the U.S. Naval presence from
the island of Vieques. Due to environmental damage,
including contaminated water supplies, the destruction of
fishing grounds, coral reefs and mangrove trees, and an
abnormally high incidence of cancer, we will continue in
solidarity with these protests until there is a complete
decontamination of the island by the U.S. Navy."
In December 1990 the American Baptist General
Board adopted a Resolution on Self-Determination for
Puerto Rico. Suggested actions related to Vieques are
included in a Faith In Action Alert prepared by National
Ministries staff in the American Baptist Office of
Governmental Relations. To obtain a copy of "Vieques:
Seeking Peace and Justice" or for more information about
Vieques call 1-800-ABC-3USA/x2451 or visit National
Ministries Web site at
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