January 31, 2013
An additional statement from Gilbert Hanke, General Secretary of the General Commission of the United Methodist Men
Many questions have been raised about the proposed changes in BSA as it relates to allowing gays to participate as scouts and as leaders. We know that there are strong and legitimate concerns on both sides of this issue. Some of the statements that I made in initial press releases have morphed into new content and so I want to attempt to provide some clarity.
This is a BSA decision which we did not ask for; our meeting with BSA leadership was to inform us of what they were considering.
Once they made the decision to propose this change there are basically two ways this could have been implemented. One would have changed the national standard to force all charter organizations (in our case, local churches) to accept gay scouts and gay leaders. The choice they made was to move that decision to a local level. The reason we endorsed this model of implementation is because it allows your local church to continue to operate exactly like it is operating today. You choose the leaders, you recruit the scouts, the leadership of your troop and pack reflects the traditions and values of your faith community.
If you have concerns that BSA is considering this change in policy, please contact BSA.
My statements were designed to assure members of the UMC that if BSA makes this change it will not change the way scouting is conducted within our denomination. Feel free to contact me by email or by phone if you have additional questions for me.
Gilbert C. Hanke