Big Tent to stay in Indianapolis
Location finalized after examination of new Indiana immigration bill
The Big Tent ― the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s biennial celebration of ministry and mission ― will be pitched in Indianapolis June 30-July 2.
The decision to keep the Big Tent event in Indianapolis this summer was made after church leaders examined the final text of the newly passed Indiana immigration bill (Senate Bill 590) and confirmed that it does not contain elements that would have necessitated a change of venue.
Church leaders were compelled to consider the change after the 219th General Assembly (2010) of the PC(USA) voted to “refrain from holding national meetings at hotels in those states where travel by immigrant Presbyterians of color or Hispanic ancestry might subject them to harassment due to legislation similar to Arizona Law SB 1070/HB2162.”
The assembly’s action was in response to Arizona legislation that includes provisions that allow law enforcement officers to check a person’s immigration status in some situations and make illegal the harboring or transporting of an undocumented immigrant in some cases.
“While the Indiana bill still contains objectionable language that we consider inhospitable and unjust toward immigrants, we are encouraged that the legislation in its final form falls short of the extreme measure of racial profiling,” said Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly.
Kerry Rice, one of the managers of General Assembly Meeting Services, is pleased with the decision to remain in Indianapolis. “It’s a perfect location for the Big Tent event,” Rice said. “The facilities are excellent and the hospitality of local Presbyterians in Indianapolis is incredible.”
Thousands of Presbyterians from across the country are expected to attend the Big Tent. Participants will have the option to attend one of nine different partner conferences or design their own experience by attending workshops from any of the nine.
For additional info:
- Letter to congregations from Gradye Parsons and Linda Valentine
- 219th General Assembly Policy on Immigration
- PC(USA) Immigration Issues Get Informed website
- Indiana Senate Bill 590
- Resolution from the 216th General Assembly (2004): Resolution Calling for a Comprehensive Legalization Program for Immigrants Living and Working in the United States
- “Substance Over Symbol” from The Presbyterian Outlook
This is good news! Hope this is true for the peoples of Indiana
Waiting for word on final location decision/other updates. Surprised by the question of why the activity of a church might be "political."
I do hope the event will not have to be moved, but kudos to those who are taking a stand on this. Yes, some people will be inconvenienced and might lose some money. However, the principle is more important than either of those issues. We are commanded to care for and about immigrants, and the effect of the boycott of Arizona shows how effective boycotts on these issues can be. It's a human rights issue, and I would not support any event in an area that denies these rights.
The bill is now in conference committee - they will reconcile the senate and house versions of the bill which are different as noted below. So we are still awaiting completion of the legislative process.
Isn't this the part of the bill that we were most concerned about? Seems like they have removed the part that would have allowed profiling. http://www.ibj.com/arizonastyle-provision-removed-from-immigration-bill/PARAMS/article/26550