Caterpillar Divestment

Word came yesterday that Caterpillar has asked for continuing conversation with the General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church about Caterpillar equipment being used in Palestine by the Israeli military to knock down houses of Palestinians. It’s a highly charged issue and it’s been debated across the mainline religious community.

The willingness of Caterpillar executives to continue the discussion is a positive step. Equally important is the response of the General Board of Church and Society to withdraw proposed legislation from the General Conference of The United Methodist Church calling on divestment from Caterpillar.

The Conference begins April 23 in Ft. Worth with delegates from around the world attending. Divestment had loomed as one of the issues with potential to generate considerable debate. Now that it’s off the table and into dialogue, a much more productive conversation can begin, one that will be helpful to all concerned.

Caterpillar expresses concern about the use of its products which is both a morally responsible position for the corporation to take and the first step to meaningful conversation.

On the whole, my hat’s off to those who have gotten us to the point–Caterpillar CEO James Owens, General Secretary James Winkler and The Rev. Timothy Bias. All have helped us reach higher ground and I think the conversation will be more fruitful as a result.

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