(11:55 AM EST) In a surprise move, the Presbyterian General Assembly voted to add a "choice of conscience" option for pension holders who want to avoid investments in Caterpillar, Motorola, and Hewlett Packard. Anna Baltzer explains:
The assembly voted by 57% to accept a recommendation by the Board of Pensions (which supports divestment) for them to create a "choice of conscience" option for Pension holders troubled by investments in Caterpillar, Motorola, and Hewlett Packard, which would be voted on for approval at the next General Assembly.more
The significance, in my initial interpretation:
1. The approval illustrates that investment in CAT, Moto, and HP represent a crisis of conscience for the church.
2. This would be, essentially, an occupation filter.
3. This shows that GA members support divestment in theory, but are scared for their church to recommend it, likely, I believe, due to fear of losing Jewish relationships. This is no consolation to those suffering under Israeli oppression, but it's illustrative that people are not opposed, in principle, to divestment.
4. It's a reminder that the entire church is for divestment -- the Board of Pensions, Mission Responsibility Through Investment, Advisory Committee on Racial & Ethnic Concerns, etc. The Board of Pensions was so troubled by the votes that they tried to find a way ultimately to pursue divestment.
The exact wording of the proposal should be up at https://pc-biz.org/Committee2.aspx soon.