There are many important lessons adults should pass on to the next generation of children and youth. I will not list them all, but suggest that we pay attention to two significant ones. We should tell the truth and honor the dignity of every human being.
Don Miguel Ruiz challenges us to BE IMPECABLE WITH OUR WORD in his bestselling book, The Four Agreements. He goes on to describe this agreement urging us “to speak with integrity, say only what we mean, and use of the power of our word in the direction of truth and love.”
Today’s announcement by the Boy Scouts of America to delay making a decision on their membership policy flies in the face of both truth telling and honoring the dignity of every human being. First, the issue of the BSA’s exclusion policy against gay scouts and their leaders is not new. It has been researched, reviewed, and revisited for years. Delaying the decision using the excuse that the BSA Executive Board needs more deliberative review is contrary to the years of study that they have claimed in the past. Truthfully, how much more review is needed?
Let’s tell the truth here. Rather than listen to the hundreds of thousands of advocates for a more inclusive policy, the Board, it would appear, has decided to open the flood gates until the opposition numbers reach adequate numbers to justify keeping it the same. Delaying the decision to their May 2013 Annual Meeting is intended to create a broader platform for the opposition to organize. While we wait yet again, this nationally respected 103 year old organization, that claims to be part of the our cultural fabric and a leader in youth character and values-based leadership development, continues to discourage young scouts and their leaders from telling their own truth.
While the alleged policy change that was considered last week by Boy Scouts of America did not provide for full inclusion and justice, at least it respected the dignity of scout troops and sponsors to make their own decisions. At a minimum it opened the door for scouts and their leaders to tell their truth authentically without risking expulsion and exclusion from a program they so deeply want to be a part of. As responsible adults, we simply cannot expect nor encourage our young people (or anyone else) to live a lie in order to be accepted. It is disrespectful and does not honor their dignity.
I share the deep disappointment of thousands of advocates inside and outside the church. This discrimination must stop. The United Church of Christ has spoken boldly and will continue to push for equality until just actions are taken in truth and love. We believe that Extravagant Welcome is basic to our Christian faith. In so doing, we welcome all Boy Scouts and proudly support our congregations’ sponsorship of 1191 scout units and 38,225 participants. As people of faith we must send a message to the Boy Scouts of America. Add your voice by taking action at http://bit.ly/YDP2OQ).
For more information about the actions of the United Church of Christ go to: http://www.ucc.org/news/ucc-advocates-disappointed-by.html and http://www.ucc.org/news/commentary-boy-scout-policy.html.
The United Church of Christ has 5,194 churches throughout the United States. Rooted in the Christian traditions of congregational governance and covenantal relationships, each UCC setting speaks only for itself and not on behalf of every UCC congregation. UCC members and churches are free to differ on important social issues, even as the UCC remains principally committed to unity in the midst of our diversity.