Father John Gerth
Catholic Campus Ministries
Remarks on the Decision of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to Divest
Doug McMahon July 22, 2014
At its General Assembly in June 2014, the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted to divest from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions, three companies conducting business in Israel and the Palestinian territories. This vote represented a decision to selectively divest from three companies and does not mean that the church has chosen to divest from all companies doing business in Israel or from Israel as a nation. We are writing today to clarify that this decision of the Presbyterian Church (USA) does not represent the position of Eckerd College or its Center for Spiritual Life. Furthermore, we recognize and regret the tremendous hurt the church's action has caused the Jewish community in the United States and throughout the world.
Since it founding in 1958, Eckerd College has been related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and values its ongoing relationship to the larger church. In addition, Eckerd is a member of the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities. The College, however, is an independent entity and, as such, is not bound by the decisions of the Presbyterian Church (USA). While the church and the College maintain a relationship characterized by mutual respect, the positions of the church on various social and policy matters are not always reflective of the positions of Eckerd College.
While we recognize that there are vitally important issues to be addressed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Eckerd College urges continuing dialogue rather than actions such as selective divestment, which only serve to foster further divisiveness.