When will the EPC speak out in support of the Boy Scouts? The General Assembly Office has received numerous telephone calls and emails asking this question the past few weeks. The answer: “At this point in time, the EPC cannot speak out on this issue.”
Many of us came from a denomination whose national office regularly made pronouncements about countless social, economic and political issues. The EPC has taken a restrained approach to allowing our national office make such statements on behalf of the membership of the denomination. The Office of the General Assembly (the national office) of the EPC only makes pronouncements when instructed to by the General Assembly, which meets each June,* typically in response to an overture from a Presbytery. If a Presbytery wants to overture the General Assembly asking that we speak to this issue, they may certainly do so. EPC churches and presbyteries are free to take a position on an issue such as the Boy Scouts of America and communicate that position as they deem appropriate.
*With Committee on Administration (COA) approval, the Office may make statements that are consistent with and are directly applicable to positions the EPC has taken in the past (for example, with COA approval, the national office may make statements that are consistent with our Position Paper on Abortion).
= = = Update 13 Feb 2013 = = =
I commend you for your restraint: in your capacity as Stated Clerk, you can only speak as directed by the General Assembly.
However, it will be too late for the General Assembly to act effectively because the decision will be made at the Boy Scouts of America’s National meeting in May, and if Christians want to do something, time is of the essence.
Individual congregations who sponsor Scouting units have a lot of clout with National BSA; so do parents of registered Scouts and registered leaders. I was able to watch the private telecast from the National leadership this past Wednesday, and I can assure you that people are making a huge difference already because the decision was postponed.
In February 5, 2013, the board of our twenty parish BSA council aa unanimously adopted the following statement: “The Louisiana Purchase Council of the Boy Scouts of America fully supports the current membership standards of the Boy Scouts of America. Those standards express the ideals of Scouting as enunciated in the Scout Oath and Scout Law. We urge the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America to preserve those membership standards.”
If we keep it up, I believe that we can stop the push being made by a small number of people who want to see BSA admit avowed homosexuals as Scoutmasters. Here is a link to what the Louisiana Purchase Council has put out on the matter: http://www.louisianapurchasecouncil.org/newsfeed/letter-to-the-scouting-family/8935.
Also, below is a copy of a letter that I sent to the National Key Three: the Chief Scout Executive, National President, and National Commissioner.
God bless you,
January 31, 2013
Mr. C. Wayne Brock
5105 Forest Hill Drive
Flower Mound, TX 75028-3164
Dear Mr. Brock:
I am writing to urge you to do what you can to preserve the current policy of the Boy Scouts of America regarding keeping avowed homosexuals from being put in leadership over boys. As a pastor I have worked in a kind and gentle way with people who struggle with same-sex attraction. We welcome such people in our congregation, and none of them would ever say that they were mistreated by us. However, when it comes to avowed homosexual men being put into adult leadership, particularly in leadership over young men, we must hold the line.
Our congregation has sponsored Scout units for many years, and I am not sure that I could sell this change in policy to our members. I also think about the words of Jesus of Nazareth: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:4-6).
My prayers are with you, Mr. Brock.
Robert Benn Vincent, Sr.
Pastor of Grace Presbyterian Churcrh
Father of two Eagle Scouts
Past Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 119S
coutmaster of Troop 1604 at the 1997 Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree
Past President of the Attakapas Council of the Boy Scouts of America
Past Commissioner of the Attakapas Council of the Boy Scouts of America
Current Vice-President of Relationships of the Louisiana Purchase Council
Vigil Member of the Order of the Arrow Silver Beaver