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Polity Committee disapproves overture to increase oversight of events at GA

Engages in spirited discussion of constitutional rights

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The 219th General Assembly (2010) Polity Committee voted Tuesday to recommend to the full Assembly disapproval of an overture to increase oversight of events that occur around a General Assembly.

Prompted by a More Light Presbyterians event in San Jose two years ago, the overture expressed concern about potentially unconstitutional behavior (by church standards) at an Assembly. Overture advocate Ruric Nye expressed concern over materials distributed and actions taken that may undermine the church’s current constitutional polity.

Committee members questioned whether the church could or should censor members’ rights of free speech or the right to gather peaceably. Others wondered if it would be possible to know about or control all surrounding events.

Nye said the overture was “not intended to prevent dissent, but intended to prevent acting-out behavior.”

After the vote to disapprove the item, the Rev. David Berge said he was not surprised by the vote, but went on further to say, “I do think the intent [behind the overture] was to say that we are being genuine in wanting to find a way to live together in these hard times.”