Leaders of the United Church of Christ expressed their shared disapproval of President Donald Trump's politicized remarks to a Boy Scouts of America Jamboree. His message on Monday, July 24, relied on 'divisive, partisan rhetoric” that had no place at the quadrennial scouting event, according to denominational leaders.
Repeatedly going off script to make political points — even though he claimed early in his remarks that he wouldn't — Trump took aim at GOP Senators, Democratic opponents, while lobbying for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and recalling his election victory.
Here is the text of the UCC's statement on the remarks:
The United Church of Christ expresses our profound disappointment and outrage at the content of the speech President Donald J. Trump gave at the National Boy Scout Jamboree on Monday evening, July 24, 2017. Before a non-partisan crowd of tens of thousands of impressionable Scouts, Mr. Trump offered an adult political rally message filled with divisive, partisan rhetoric in violation of the nonpartisan, apolitical principles of scouting.
When previous presidents have addressed the Boy Scouts attending Jamboree, either in person or via a video message, they have focused on the values of Scouting, what makes for good citizenship, the importance of doing your best, being proud of who you are, and living a life of service to better your country and the world. Mr. Trump's message contained little of this and instead he took political jabs at his opponents, made boastful claims about political victories and denigrated the press as fake news.
UCC leadership on site that night received messages from concerned parents who had received communications from their children who were upset about their experience of the speech, an event they had little choice about attending. Our staff assisted with ensuring that pastoral care was offered and available where needed in response, and especially in one situation in which a Muslim Scout was distraught following the speech.
While we appreciate the brief statement issued by the BSA on Tuesday reiterating that they are a nonpartisan organization, we call on the BSA to issue a statement responding to the inappropriateness of the President's speech at this year's Jamboree, further clarifying the nonpartisan, apolitical values and policies of the organization.
When a President of the United States cannot be relied upon to respect the values and principles of Scouting, the BSA should reconsider its policy of automatically extending an invitation to address impressionable Scouts.