Boy Scouts of America, United Methodist Men and Gay Men

Resolution to the 2013 annual conference

Whereas, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is a highly lauded organization whose mission is to develop character, citizenship and personal fitness in young men; and

Whereas, The United Methodist Church has a long history of support for the BSA; today this includes over 235,000 Cub Scouts from over 5,000 packs, over 127,000 Boy Scouts from over 5,000 troops, and over 8,000 Venturers from over 1,000 crews as of the end of 2010; and

Whereas, The UMC’s support for the BSA is affirmed in ¶ 256.4 in the Book of Discipline where the Boy Scouts are lifted up as a “setting for ministry to children, youth, their leaders and their families;” in ¶ 256.4a which provides for local churches to have a scouting coordinator who relates to the church council and any other youth-serving local church structures; and through the formation in 1986 of the National Association of United Methodist Scouters; and

Whereas, local churches within the NYAC share this long history of supporting the BSA; and

Whereas, the General Commission on United Methodist Men (GCUMM) also has a strong history of support for the BSA, demonstrated through their focus on scouting as one of their four primary ministries; and

Whereas, the BSA had a long-standing policy barring openly gay men and boys from serving as leaders or becoming members of the BSA; and

Whereas, on May 23, 2013 the BSA voted to revise its policy of excluding gay youth from membership while retaining its ban on gay adult scout leaders; and

Whereas, the BSA’s continuing policy barring the participation of openly gay men is a repugnant policy because it promotes prejudice and discrimination, and is in conflict with The UMC’s expressed value for equal rights regardless of sexual orientation and its condemnation of homophobia; and

Whereas, UMC itself, notwithstanding its call for equal rights for all regardless of sexual orientation, maintains discriminatory declarations and policies concerning sexual orientation; and

Therefore be it resolved, that the NYAC reaffirms its historic expressionof profound disagreement with the policies of the UMC restricting the rights of persons based on sexual orientation and denigrating the relationships of such persons; and be it further

Resolved, that the NYAC calls upon the BSA to go beyond its recent action in permitting participation of gay youth by removing all discrimination based on sexual orientation from its criteria for participation or leadership in BSA; and be it further

Resolved, that a letter expressing this resolution be written by the NYAC conference secretary and sent to Gil Hanke, General Secretary of the GCUMM, and to Bishop Swanson, President of the Board of Directors of the GCUMM, as well as copied to the full board of the GCUMM; and be it further

Resolved, that a letter expressing this resolution, specifically emphasizing the special connection between The UMC and the BSA, the values of the UMC as related to their policy on the participation of  gay adult leaders, and an appeal to the BSA to abolish said policybe written by the NYAC conference secretary and sent to:

Wayne Brock, Chief Scout Executive
Boys Scouts of America
P.O. Box 152079
Irving, TX 75015-2079

Be it further resolved, that these letters be sent no later than July 15.

Passed June 7, 2013