Memorandum of Understanding between the Boy Scouts of America and the United Church of Christ
Here is the full text of the Memorandum of Understanding signed today, Oct. 5, during the Boy Scouts of America’s board meeting in Irving, Texas.
Whereas, The United Church of Christ (UCC) and the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have worked together to provide leadership and character development programs to serve the needs of boys, young adults, and their families through the member congregations of the United Church of Christ, chartering more than one thousand units, for more than one hundred years; and
Whereas, The Declaration of Religious Principle of the Boy Scouts of America states, “The Boy Scouts of America, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and the organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life”; and
Whereas, the twelfth point of the Scout Law teaches, “A Scout is reverent. … He respects the beliefs of others,” and
Whereas, the mission of the United Church of Christ is grounded in scripture, joins faith and action, and serves God in the co-creation of a just and sustainable world; giving witness to the continuing testament of the still-speaking God, extending extravagant welcome to all, no matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, and changing lives through the power of God’s love and by living the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and
Whereas, it is the mission and vision of the Boy Scouts of America to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law, and to prepare every eligible youth in America to become a responsible, participating citizen and leader who is guided by the Scout Oath and Scout Law; and
Whereas, the Boy Scouts of America provides family-centered programs related to leadership and character development for youth where the programs are delivered through and according to the values, aims, and objectives of chartered organizations; and
Whereas, membership criteria for adults in Boy Scouts of America units appropriately includes certain background information reviews to protect the health and safety of the youth and adult members of the units; and
Whereas, Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether homosexual or heterosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting; and
Whereas, no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone; and
Whereas, the Boy Scouts of America requires that chartered organizations be responsible for the selection of adult leaders according to the chartered organizations’ values, policies, and guidelines, and the Boy Scouts of America’s standards, with at least one adult leader for a unit being a member of the chartered organization for such unit; and
Whereas, the Boy Scouts of America requires that each chartered organization “Conduct the Scouting program according to its own policies and guidelines as well as those of the Boy Scouts of America;” and
Whereas, the Boy Scouts of America agrees “to respect the aims and objectives of the [chartered] organization” in the Annual Charter Agreement.
Therefore, Be It
Resolved, That the United Church of Christ and the Boy Scouts of America will work cooperatively with each other within the policies and regulations of each organization to establish and nurture scouting units as an expression of the nurture and outreach of the ministry of the United Church of Christ and its member congregations so that boys, young adults, and adults may grow in their relationships with God, develop into responsible citizens, serve the needs of others, and develop personal fitness to achieve their greatest potential; and be it further
Resolved, That the United Church of Christ and the Boy Scouts of America will work cooperatively to establish and nurture safe environments for all those participating in units chartered by congregations of the United Church of Christ, consistent with the values of the United Church of Christ and the policies of the Boy Scouts of America, including the full implementation of the Youth Protection standards, the Guide to Safe Scouting, and other methods prescribed by the Boy Scouts of America and by the United Church of Christ to protect the health and safety of the members of the units; and be it further
Resolved, That the Boy Scouts of America will respect the spiritual and moral responsibility of the United Church of Christ’s chartering congregations with the understanding that there is no Boy Scout authority which supersedes the authority of the local pastor and the congregation in any phase of the program affecting the spiritual welfare of those who participate; and be it further
Resolved, That it is agreed all member congregations of the United Church of Christ may rely on the stipulations in this Memorandum of Understanding in operating under any charter they sign with the Boy Scouts of America.