Isaiah 58, a group of Lutherans working for peace and justice in the Holy Land, welcomes today’s vote by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to adopt a human rights-based investment screen for its social responsibility funds to ensure the church is not profiting from human rights abuses, including Israel’s nearly half-century-old military occupation of Palestinian lands. The overwhelming vote in favor took place at the ELCA’s triennial Churchwide Assembly in New Orleans.
“In our Affirmation of Baptism, one of the five promises we make as Lutherans is to ‘work for justice and peace throughout the earth,’” said Jan Miller, ELCA member and a leader of Isaiah 58 from the Rocky Mountain Synod. “By adopting this investment screen, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is taking an important step to ensure that we are not profiting from, or complicit in, injustice in the Holy Land and elsewhere.”
Yesterday, the ELCA approved a resolution calling for an end to US aid to Israel until the latter freezes the construction of settlements built on occupied Palestinian land in violation of longstanding official US policy and international law. Currently, the US gives more than $3 billion in military aid to Israel each year, without which it could not maintain its occupation of Palestinian lands, which entered its 50th year this past June.
The ELCA has long opposed Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise and supported nonviolent action in support of Palestinian rights. With today’s vote, the ELCA adds its own voice and approach to the growing number of US churches that have endorsed economic acts of conscience in support of Palestinian freedom and human rights, including the United Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), and the United Church of Christ, and others.
Isaiah 58 thanks ELCA voting members for taking a strong, principled stand in support of freedom, justice, and equality in the Holy Land and around the world, and looks forward to continuing our work towards achieving those goals.
Isaiah 58 is a group of ELCA Lutherans who advocate for a more engaged church response to calls from Palestinians for an end to Israel’s occupation and a just peace for both Israel and Palestine.
C2: Justice for the Holy Land Through Responsible Investment
Recommendation for Assembly Action
To receive with gratitude the memorials from the Sierra Pacific, Southwest California, Metropolitan New York and the Delaware-Maryland synods regarding Justice for the Holy Land through Responsible Investment;
To reaffirm the actions of the 2005, 2007, 2011 and 2013 Churchwide Assemblies regarding responsible investment in Israel-Palestine;
To direct the ELCA’s Corporate Social Responsibility review team to develop a human rights social criteria investment screen based on the social teachings of this church and, in the case of Israel and Palestine, specifically based on the concerns raised in the ELCA Middle East Strategy;
To encourage ELCA members, congregations, synods, agencies and institutions to increase positive investment in Palestine and other under-resourced areas where human rights abuses materially impact the well-being of all people; and
To encourage ELCA members, congregations, synods, agencies and institutions to engage in shareholder advocacy in support of human rights, exercising the right of a shareholder to submit resolutions at a corporation’s annual meeting.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a full communion partner of The Episcopal Church.
The photo is from the ELCA Churchwide Assembly Facebook page.