World Series Exciting, "Wahoo" Disappointing,
United Church of Christ Leaders Say
Meeting in the midst of World Series activities, the Executive Council of the United Church of Christ on Oct. 21 issued a statement objecting to the Cleveland team's name and logo.
"During our meeting, the members of the Executive Council of the United Church of Christ shared the excitement of Cleveland over the fact that our team is in the World Series," said the Rev. Paul H. Sherry, president of the church, which has national offices near Jacobs Fields. "In the midst of the excitement, however, we are all saddened by the fact that the Cleveland baseball team still has not changed its logo and name. Therefore, the Executive Council voted the following action."
Here is the text of that action:
The Executive Council of the United Church of Christ, meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, Oct. 17-21, 1997, concurrent with the playing of the World Series, expresses dismay and pain over the continued use of the name 'Indians' for the Cleveland baseball team, and the use of the logo/mascot, 'Chief Wahoo.' These racist and demeaning symbols injure our Native American brothers and sisters, and they injure our whole human community by promoting harmful stereotypes of persons.
We call upon the owner of the Cleveland baseball team, Mr. Richard Jacobs, to change the name and logo/mascot of his team. We further encourage United Church of Christ members to join efforts to end the use of all such harmful team names and logos so that our enthusiasm of fans is not diminished.
The church's Executive Council, some 45 ministers and lay members of the church from throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, held their five-day fall meeting through Oct. 22 in Cleveland. Some of their sessions were at the church's national offices at 700 Prospect Avenue, across Huron Road from the Jacobs Field complex, where Cleveland played the Florida Marlins Oct. 21, 22 and 23.
National bodies of the United Church of Christ have been active since 1991 in efforts against team names and logos that demean American Indians. That year, the church's national body of delegates, the 700-member General Synod, passed a resolution against such "negative stereotyping" in sports and commerce.
The United Church of Christ has 1.5 million members and some 6,100 local churches in the United States and Puerto Rico. Its Executive Council, like the General Synod and other national bodies of the church, speaks to, not for, local members and churches.
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