Petition 81255

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Accountability for the National Council of Churches (81255-IC-R9999)

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Accountability for the National Council of Churches
WHEREAS, the historic and democratically confirmed position of The United Methodist Church is that while all individuals are of sacred worth, homosexual practice is inherently immoral; and
WHEREAS, The United Methodist Church is a key member communion of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCCCUSA); and  
WHEREAS, most of the NCCUSA’s other member communions officially share our denomination’s teaching on homosexual practice; and
WHEREAS, according to its own website, the Equality Forum was originally named “PrideFest Philadelphia” and its work may be fairly described promoting the acceptance of homosexuality (<http://www.equalityforum.com/about.cfm>; accessed 18 October 2007); and
WHEREAS, in 2007 the NCCCUSA was listed as a “Collaborating Nonprofit Organization” in the Equality Forum’s annual week of events (<http://www.equalityforum.com/2007/orgsparticipants.cfm>; accessed 18 October 2007); and  
WHEREAS, the Equality Forum 2007’s May 6 Interfaith Service featured the Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar, who was prominently identified as the General Secretary of the NCCCUSA, along with the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus (<http://www.equalityforum.com/2007/interfaith.cfm>; accessed 18 October 2007); and
WHEREAS, the involvement of the NCCCUSA in events such as the Equality Forum 2007 implies the endorsement of The United Methodist Church along with the council’s other member communions; and
WHEREAS, this same Equality Forum 2007 week of events also included “[p]erformances by sexy and steamy NY go-go dancers” and an “Emerge Women’s Event” with live performances by a group called the “Hellcat Girls” (<http://www.equalityforum.com/2007/parties.cfm>; accessed 18 October 2007); and
WHEREAS, according to the Emerge Women’s Event website, the performances of the Hellcat Girls “have pushed the envelope of live burlesque entertainment” and include “rock n' roll striptease” as well as “non-stop classic striptease”; (<http://emerge.sapphirefund.org/entertainment.php>; accessed 18 October 2007); and
WHEREAS, the Equality Forum is therefore not the sort of group to which The United Methodist Church should attach its good name, either indirectly through entities like the NCCCUSA or directly; and  
WHEREAS, The Book of Discipline of our United Methodist Church forbids general church funds from being given to “any gay caucus or group” or in any other way being used “to promote the acceptance of homosexuality (ΒΆ806.9); and
WHEREAS, The United Methodist Church is a major financial contributor to the NCCCUSA; and  
WHEREAS, while Edgar’s having recently resigned from the NCCCUSA for another job does not simply invalidate the above concerns;  
Therefore, be it resolved, that the 2008 General Conference of The United Methodist Church hereby goes on the record as clearly declaring that our church does not support the Equality Forum and that the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA should not have allowed itself to be listed as a collaborating nonprofit organization or authorized the Rev. Dr. Edgar to speak there in a way that would have at all implied that he was representing the council; and
Be it further resolved, that we decry the decision of the responsible NCCCUSA officials as not only unfaithful to Christian teaching on sexual morality, but also recklessly and unacceptably disrespectful to The United Methodist Church and other member communions who share our position, and therefore detrimental to collegial ecumenical relations; and
Be it further resolved, that the General Conference calls for the NCCCUSA to establish guidelines that will prevent the council from at any point the future becoming similarly involved in the Equality Forum or undertaking any other activity that would imply the NCCCUSA’s opposition to the position of The United Methodist Church on homosexuality.  


Rationale

It is important to respond to such a dramatic breech of the trust which our church has placed in the NCCCUSA.  We also need to clearly respond to any confusion caused about what our church truly teaches.