Communications Department

April 10, 2013

(Submitted by Katherine Mitchell and MFSA)


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 NEAC 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 has a long-standing policy barring openly gay men and boys from serving as leaders or becoming members of the BSA and is considering changing that policy to allow each troop’s charter organization to decide whether or not to include or exclude openly gay members; and, 

WHEREAS, the BSA's current policy is a repugnant policy; and, 

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

WHEREAS, the idea of shifting the authority to exclude openly gay men and boys to a local level is similarly repugnant; and, 

WHEREAS, the GCUMM issued a statement on January 29th in support of changing the BSA policy to open the door for troops to allow open gay members and leaders and cited United Methodist values in doing so; and

WHEREAS, on February 19th, GCUMM sent a letter to the BSA retracting the earlier statement and urging the BSA not to change its current policy; and, 

WHEREAS, as with all other general agencies and commissions (those at the national/international levels), the GCUMM is subject to General Conference, bound by United Methodist positions and policies as expressed in the Book of Discipline and Book of Resolutions and mandated to express itself consistent with the will of the General Conference and the framework thereby laid out in official United Methodist positions and policies; 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the New England Annual Conference censures the GCUMM for stepping outside United Methodist values and official policies and positions, and further repudiates the February 19th letter to the BSA; and, 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NEAC calls on the GCUMM to recommit itself to and uphold UMC values and policies and to live and demonstrate those values through advocacy for abolishing the BSA's policy barring openly gay men and boys from membership and leadership; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a letter expressing this resolution be written by the NEAC Conference Secretary and sent to the authors of the February 19th letter--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 openly gay boys and men, and an appeal to the BSA to abolish said policy be  written by the NEAC 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 15th. 





v. Social Principles, ¶162(J).

vi. Book of Resolutions, #2042