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United Church of Christ: LGBT Issues at General Synod 24

July 2003, Minneapolis, MN - Resolution Denouncing the Boy Scouts of America's Discriminatory Policy

Here's an unofficial report of some resolutions from the UCC General Synod, which concluded Tuesday, July 15 in Minneapolis

GS adopted two resolutions which specifically included transgender persons:

REAFFIRMING THE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST'S DENOUNCEMENT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST LESBIAN AND GAY PEOPLE AND CALLING FOR THE INCLUSION OF TRANSGENDER PEOPLE WITHIN THAT ANTIVIOELCE STATEMENT.

In summary: GS 24

  • denounces the continued proliferation of hate, violence, and prejudice, extending its denouncement of violence to include violence against transgender persons as well as lesbians, gays, and bisexuals
  • calls for an end of any form of hate, violence, and prejudice based on sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as violence and prejudice based on race, nationality, religion, mental of physical disability, and
  • reaffirms its stand against the use of scripture to generate hatred and the violation of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender persons, and
  • urges churches and church members to take the lead in ending discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexual, and transgender persons and to actively counter public perceptions that view the Christian community as supporting such discrimination


AFFIRMING THE PARTICIPATION AND MINISTRY OF TRANSGENDER PEOPLE WITHIN THE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST AND SUPPORTING THEIR CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS

This resolution encourages the full welcome and inclusion of transgender people into all phases of ministry in the church. It also encourages the development of resources, education and advocacy both within the denomination and in society.

Three resolutions were presented to committees of the GS dealing with the United Church of Christ's relationships to the Boy Scouts of America. A single combined resolution was presented to plenary, and combined the three, resolving in part that

  • discrimination against anyone based on sexual orientation is contrary to our understanding of the teachings of Christ
  • encourage the use of the local church resource packet,
  • the United Church of Christ- Local Churches and the [BSA](2001)
  • that we support the actions of congregations within a full range of options, including those who wish to sever their ties to the [BSA] and those who wish to remain in dialog and connection with the [BSA]
  • we direct the Collegium and encourage other settings of the church to urge the National Council of the [BSA] to adopt a membership policy that does not discriminate based on sexual orientation, and that allows for the reactivation of membership of persons who were previously excluded solely on that basis
  • prayerfully refer this issue to the local churches, Associations, Conferences, General Synod, and other settings of the [UCC] for study, discernment an advocacy.


[Note: an amendment was proposed from the floor of plenary which would have deleted the above paragraph that provided for a "full range of options." The proposed replacement paragraph would have limited the breadth of our options and would have lessened our support for congregations who have chosen to continue to sponsor Scouting units, and would have thus penalized boys and young men who remain committed to Scouting. I got my two minutes of fame by speaking from the floor, against
the amendment, which was subsequently defeated, and the resolution passed. This will continue to be a flag-motherhood-apple pie issue for all of us, and we can only hope that the voices of reason and human rights will overpower the voices of prejudice and hatred that speak so loudly at BSA National.] - John Herman, No Longer Silent: Clergy for Justice, Scouting
for All, GS 24 Delegate.



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