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Baptist Group Assails U.S. Policy on Central America

From Religious News Service

American Baptists denounced U.S. government policies toward Central American refugees and domestic minorities during their biennial meeting that concluded here this week.

The more than 3,000 delegates denounced the treatment of Central American refugees being held in federal detention camps on the Mexican-American border. “The biblical injunctions and U.S. laws are violated in the treatment of refugees streaming across the borders due to the tragic situation of war, poverty and oppression in many Central American nations,” the resolution says.

In approving the resolution, delegates called on congregations of the 1.6-million-member American Baptist Churches to educate local communities and express concern to legislators on the matter, channel aid to refugees through Baptist World Relief and consider the possibility of becoming sanctuaries for refugees.

On affirmative-action issues, the convention directed the denomination’s top leaders to express “outrage and concern” to members of Congress regarding recent Supreme Court rulings that have cut back on programs to aid minorities and to work with Congress to introduce legislation to strengthen affirmative-action laws.

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Denominational leaders were also instructed to write to President Bush and Secretary of State James A. Baker III to seek their help in obtaining the immediate release of children being detained in South African jails. Another resolution condemned the recent actions of the Chinese government in putting down student protests and called for the U.S. government to consider additional sanctions if oppression in that country continues.

The convention also called for legislative and judicial attempts to clarify the legal definition of obscenity and pornography and urged that the conscious choices made by a terminally ill person be followed on matters relating to death and dying.


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