Goals for Combating Apartheid
A Statement of The American Lutheran Church, 1981
Adopted by the ALC Church Council, 25 June 1981, as a first-phase response to the Tenth General Convention (1980) request for a "strategy... which will more effectively support the non-White population in southern Africa in its struggle for justice and representation, and which will lead to the reconciliation of all people in southern Africa" (CC 80.4.58). Vote tally: Yes-40; No-0. CC 81 .6.127.
In order to combat the evils of the apartheid system in South Africa and Namibia, to stand in solidarity with fellow believers and all people who suffer oppression in those lands, and to respond faithfully to our understanding of God's call to love mercy and seek justice, The American Lutheran Church promises:
1. To continue and seek to increase our support of all phases of the work done by the churches and agencies to which we are related in South Africa and Namibia, with prayer, personnel, and finances, according to the needs and requests identified by our fellow believers in those countries. Among such current needs we understand to be crucial the need to increase exchange visits, scholarship aid, and other educational support for developing leadership in South Africa and Namibia.
2. To develop a system for maintaining dialogue with U.S. Lutherans who are at work (through our governmental and business presence) in South Africa and Namibia. The purposes of such dialogue are (1) to help these expatriates to know the church's ministries where they work, and (2) to help the U.S. and South African/Namibian churches to benefit from their vocational experience.
3. To identify and develop resources for ALC congregational life in worship, education, and action pertinent to the need for justice and reconciliation in South Africa and Namibia. We ask that appropriate responses be made through determination by the Social Concerns Coordinating Committee of the national offices.
4. To repent of our complicity in the perpetuation of racism in U.S. society, to link the struggle for justice in southern Africa to comparable elements of racism at home, and to combat racism in all its forms everywhere. We accept our share of responsibility for both the internal racism of this nation and for the acceptance by our governmental and our economic institutions, present in South Africa and Namibia, of that form of racism known as apartheid. We pledge renewed efforts to implement aggressively the anti-racism actions of the ALC, including the recommendations of the ALC Committee on Racism.
5. To advocate with our own government that a variety of pressures toward elimination of the apartheid system be brought upon the government of South Africa. We particularly urge U.S. support for and implementation of economic sanctions as developed through the United Nations, in the quest for an end to the apartheid system and an end to South Africa's illegal rule of Namibia. We further recommend the following actions by our government in reference to South Africa, Namibia, and other parts of the region:
a. to appoint a Black American as ambassador and to increase the number of Black American staff among our diplomatic corps in South Africa
b. to insist that South Africa's visa policy be put on a genuinely reciprocal basis, reversing the present situation in which South Africans are free to travel in the U.S. while U.S. congresspersons, journalists, church leaders, academics, and Black Americans are regularly denied visas or are given restricted permits to visit in South Africa
c. to explore denial of foreign tax credits to U.S. firms operating in Namibia, as long as South Africa continues illegally to administer Namibia and to benefit economically from that illegal occupation
d. to provide humanitarian and educational assistance to liberation movements in southern Africa, such as the South-West Africa People's Organization and the African National Congress
e. to fulfill our government's commitments (including financial aid) to the new nation of Zimbabwe and to increase economic support of other front-line states (e.g., Zambia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Angola) which are affected negatively by their proximity to the conflicts in South Africa and Namibia
6. To encourage economic behavior by U.S. consumers and by U.S. business/financial entities which will reduce support for the apartheid system. We particularly support the following actions:
a. that the Board of Trustees be commended for its policy of withdrawing investments from companies doing business in South Africa when, in the buying and selling of securities, "the economic considerations are equal as between two or more securities issues under study" (Board of Trustees action 81M78, 14-15 May 1981)
b. that the ALC increase the sharing of information among our members concerning the response of U.S. corporations to requests by the ALC and other groups related to practices in South Africa and Namibia
c. that the ALC continue to discourage transactions by its agencies and members with U.S. banks that make loans to South African government or para-statal corporations
d. that ALC members be encouraged to refrain from purchase of South African imports, including Krugerrand gold coins or any form of South African gold and diamonds
e. that ALC members be encouraged to support the sports and entertainment boycotts of South Africa
f. that ALC members refrain from travel to South Africa in conventional tourism.