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Social justice committee looks at wide range of topics

Passes measure to support U.N. Commission’s report calling for equal treatment of women

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A measure to “protest the blatant disregard for the sanctity of our Lord’s name in motion pictures and public broadcast by the entertainment industry” was approved Monday by the 219th General Assembly Committee on Social Justice Issues: Promotion of Social Righteousness.

The committee recommended the slightly modified overture after three hours of debate by a vote of 41-9 with two abstentions.

The committee also approved, with modifications, “Living Through Economic Crisis: The Church’s Witness in Troubled Times: A Social Involvement Report.”

The Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP) report deals with supporting the unemployed and underemployed. The committee recommendation calls for no more than $40,040 to be spent developing the study between now and the 2012 Assembly. The final vote was 30-16 with three abstentions.

Another ACSWP report on the denomination’s compensation policy, “Neither Poverty Nor Riches: Compensation, Equity, and the Unity of the Church,” attracted the attention of several top General Assembly Mission Council leaders to the committee’s discussion of salary ratios in the church.

The committee stripped from the report a recommendation that the GAMC establish a 5-1 ratio between its highest- and lowest-paid employees – in line with the ratio currently in place in the Office of the General Assembly.

The report also encourages a churchwide study to look at the theology of staff compensation at all levels of the church and recommends against excessive compensation. The revised report was approved 45-4 with two abstentions.

The committee adopted a resolution from the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns (ACWC), which recommends that “the Assembly direct the Stated Clerk to send a letter to the president and Congress calling on the U.S. government to ratify, without reservations, the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women’s Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).”

The 30th anniversary of the adoption of CEDAW was celebrated in December. To date, 186 countries have ratified the convention, committing themselves to the standards laid out by the document calling for equal treatment of women in all spheres of life, including education, employment, health care, and legal rights in confronting violence.

Only eight member countries in the UN have not ratified CEDAW, including Iran, Somalia, Sudan, and the U.S. The measure passed, 41-5 with five abstentions.