Racial militants won a major hearing from the World Council of Churches last month. They persuaded the thirty-eight churchmen attending a WCC consultation on racism to recommend that member churches encourage “reparations” and “all else failing … support resistance movements, including revolutions.”
The five-day consultation, held in London, had been called in an effort to update the World Council’s race policies. World Council spokesmen issued the usual disclaimers, saying that the consultation spoke only for itself and that the recommendations were merely for the consideration of the Central Committee, which meets in August.
Meanwhile, black-power radicals reveled in the publicity the World Council managed to attract for them. A number were outspokenly critical of the white Christian community as a whole, causing the meeting to have more than its share of tense moments.
Following a closed plenary session, U. S. Senator George McGovern, who chaired the consultation, told reporters what had been decided. The adopted statement suggested seven steps (see text following). Besides endorsing revolutions and reparations, the consultation sought to have the World Council and its member churches begin applying economic sanctions “against corporations and institutions which practice blatant racism.”
McGovern, a Methodist layman, had no qualms about the statement. “I am not a pacifist,” he said. “I participated in World War II as a combat pilot and I endorse the concept as stated in the recommendation.”
The Rev. Channing Phillips of Washington, D. C., a United Church of Christ pastor, was one of several blacks at the consultation who exchanged strong words with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Michael Ramsey. The titular head of the world ...1
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