Briefly noted

June 1, 2004

The United Methodist Church became the largest U.S. church body to join a boycott against Taco Bell, urging the fast-food giant to improve working conditions for migrant tomato-pickers in Immokalee, Florida. Delegates to the church’s General Conference legislative meeting voted to approve the measure, without debate, May 1. The Methodists join the National Council of Churches, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), United Church of Christ, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the American Friends Service Committee (Quaker) in the boycott. A resolution passed by delegates said the boycott would remain in effect until Taco Bell “convenes serious three-way talks between the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, representatives of Taco Bell and their tomato suppliers to address exploitation and slavery in the fields.” The resolution said the migrant workers earn just 40 cents for a 32-pound bucket of tomatoes—pay which has “not changed in more than 20 years.”

A former officer of the Southern Baptist Convention has asked denominational officials to consider a proposed resolution that would encourage Southern Baptists to remove their children from public schools and instead support “thoroughly Christian education.” T. C. Pinckney of Alexandria, Virginia, and a former SBC second vice president, co-wrote the proposal for consideration by a resolutions committee for the June 15-16 meeting of Southern Baptists in Indianapolis. It states that public school education is “officially godless” and that public schools teach the acceptability of homosexuality. Pinckney, editor of the independent Baptist Banner, wrote the statement with attorney Bruce Shortt. Shortt is the Texas coordinator of Exodus Mandate, an organization that seeks to replace public schools with private, Christian and home-school education. SBC bylaws state that if a resolution is rejected by the resolutions committee, it would require a two-thirds vote of messengers, or delegates, for it to still be considered.