First, let me acknowledge my full awareness: I am wading into treacherous waters. Yet I believe our General Assembly Resolution process requires delegates to jump in with courage and host on-going conversation.
GA-1540 was by and large the most political Sense-of-the-Assembly Resolution to make it to the floor for debate. The timeliness of our General Assembly and the political dialogue surrounding this Iran agreement was not lost on anyone; neither those in favor nor those against what is formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. GA-1540 is what is known as an emergency resolution falling within the 180-day provision for timely action and brought directly to the General Assembly.
The European Union and United Nations Security Council endorsed this Iran agreement on July 20, 2015, and lifted sanctions. As I understand it now, the agreement sits with the U.S. Congress who has 60 days to either endorse or not endorse; thereby binding United States action to what has been negotiated by the Obama administration. Providing the politics our pending Presidential Election, the lobbying activities of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the clear foreign policy divide between our two national political parties, one not should wonder at the fractious discourse surrounding this agreement. When GA-1540 was introduced to the Assembly floor, the twelve minutes of debate was crowded with passion on both sides.
Sometimes emotion and reason are presented as polar opposites. I do not believe this to be true. Both emotion and reason are essential to what it means to be human. I cannot fault those who intensely fear the concessions this compromise provides. Neither can I dismiss the optimism that this might be a legitimate opportunity to bring our two countries down from the brink of war – a reality of my entire lifetime and a reality I believe we are too comfortable existing within.
Though I’m in agreement with diplomatic solutions that truly deescalate tensions, and I believe the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action could succeed, I regret my support of GA-1540.
Sense-of-the-Assembly Resolutions can and should speak to domestic and foreign policies, and I maintain that the Christian Church in all its manifestations should support peace, never war. Regardless, a few days have passed since the vote, and I find myself in regret and ultimately agreeing with one of the speakers against GA-1540 who wisely and soberly said, “We simply have not had enough time to discern an appropriate consensus on this political agreement.”
I have contacted my Congressional representatives sharing my personal opinion on the Iran agreement, and no matter our concurrence I hope you will do the same. My wish for GA-1540 is that it is helpful for church-wide conversation on a wide rage of related subjects, but I fear it will only fracture ties between individuals within congregations and between congregations and the larger Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Nevertheless, I pray GA-1540 will help prove that our unity should never be based on political stance or theological agreement. The foundation our unity must be in the one essential: Jesus is the Christ.