Twenty of the 57 U.S. congressmen who are members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have criticized what they regard as liberal trends in the denomination’s 1985 general assembly.

The largely Republican group wrote in a letter to James E. Andrews, stated clerk (chief executive) of the 3.1 million-member denomination, that the church’s positions on human rights, U.S.-Soviet relations, strategic defense, and Central America are “based on misconceptions which have too often been accepted as truth.”

On U.S.-Soviet relations, the church earlier this year called on U.S. and Soviet leaders “to refrain from the rhetoric of implacable opposition” and to “abandon the pattern in which each interprets every problem or tension anywhere in the world as a demonically inspired work of the other.”

The congressmen called the church’s statement “ultimately self-defeating.” They charged that the position was “based on the inaccurate belief that we can expect perfection of countries” and the idea that “we are self-righteous and hypocritical if we denounce even the most atrocious actions of governments who declare themselves our enemies.”

The congressmen also charged that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) “has not shown adequate concern for religious freedom,” saying that it has failed to speak out against Nicaraguan and Soviet manipulation of churches.

On strategic defense, the congressmen defended President Reagan’s “Star Wars” plan. They quoted Catholic U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), who wrote in 1983 to the U.S. Catholic bishops that “peace without justice is moral violence.” The congressmen added that “peace at any price cannot be real peace.”

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s position on strategic arms is that the use of nuclear weapons “can ...

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