We petition the 2008 General Conference to ADD this NEW PARAGRAPH to the Book of Discipline as ¶ 509.3:
3. This paragraph states guidelines for decisions by the General Conference on resolutions. These guidelines are not legally binding, but the General Conference is requested to follow them in the interest of Christian social witness, Church unity, stewardship, and effectiveness. The General Conference should adopt a resolution on an issue if, and only if, the General Conference believes in good faith, after prayer and study, that (a) there is a clear and definite Christian Biblical position on the issue and that position is stated in the resolution, (b) there is a need for the Church to speak on the issue, and (c) the position taken by the resolution is likely to be supported by at least a majority of the members of The United Methodist Church. The General Conference should remember that although a majority can be wrong, an issue position that is not supported by a majority of the members is likely to be ineffective and divisive. The General Conference should seek brevity in resolutions, should avoid diluting the effectiveness of resolutions by adopting too many of them, and should avoid any appearance that the Church is the instrument of any political or economic faction or viewpoint.
General Conference has exclusive right to speak officially for the Church (¶509.1). This is a heavy responsibility, especially when speaking on divisive issues. These non-binding guidelines will aid the General Conference, when making decisions on resolutions, to work toward the goals of Christian social witness, Church unity, stewardship, and effectiveness.