The PCUSA’s Salem Presbytery has decided to postpone voting on a resolution apologizing for…well, what a bunch of other people did. According to the Greensboro News and Record:
Area Presbyterian Church USA congregations have postponed voting on a resolution calling for apology, or “acknowledgment of wrongdoing,” for the Nov. 3, 1979, killings in Greensboro.
The procedural motion—whether to vote on an amendment to the resolution or to postpone that vote—was debated as strongly as a vote on the resolution itself might have been. But delegates voted 99-83 to postpone debate until July 21.
The original resolution, presented in February by the Rev. Jim Dollar of Greensboro’s Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, called for apologies, not just acknowledgments.
As part of the postponement motion, delegates called for a broad commission to study the issue and report back.
Because nothing is really known about what happened that day and the Presbyterian Church’s role in the murders.
The amended resolution calls on the Salem Presbytery, about 150 congregations in north-central North Carolina, to acknowledge wrongs done to residents of the Morningside Homes community and the city on Nov. 3, 1979.
On that date, Klansmen and Nazis clashed with Communist Workers Party organizers planning a march and rally.
Five CWP workers were killed and an additional 10 people were injured. All defendants subsequently were acquitted in criminal trials. A civil jury found the city and some Klansmen liable for one wrongful death.
After the vote, Dollar said he was just glad the resolution was still alive.
“I thought it was dead as the discussion was taking place,” he said. “If we just keep talking, a shift will happen and a transformation will take place.”
Perhaps Presbyterians will stop killing Communists, or shooting back at Nazis, or invading others’ personal space, or whatever it is they’re doing that requires them to engage in this kind of public self-flagellation. . Or maybe the Presbyterians of central North Carolina will stop wasting their time venting their guilt about stuff they had nothing to do with. Now that would be a shift worth happening.