Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Scouts For Equality (Along with UCC & Unitarian Universalists) Promoted LGBT Inclusion at 2017 Boy Scout Jamboree

I was listening to podcasts while writing this post and unexpectedly came across another story from this weekend's Boy Scouts Jamboree. I was listening to "Into the Mystic with John Dorhauer." Dorhauer is the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ. "Into the Mystic" is a weekly reflection. Podcast episodes are typically a few minutes long.

This week's episode is called "The Rainbow Flag" and it talks about the UCC's Open and Affirming status. The UCC is an ONA denomination, which means that we fully welcome and affirm the gifts of others regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity. It was pointed out that not all congregations are ONA, which leads many ONA churches to display rainbow flags somewhere on the church property.

Dorhauer then reported that the UCC and the Unitarian Universalist Church had a presence at the Boy Scout Jamboree this past weekend alongside the Scouts For Equality organization:
Almost two years ago, the Scouting organization signed an historic memorandum with both the UCC and the UUAs acknowledging that they would remain open to all for participation. 
What we have experienced, though, is something far less than the honor of their good word. 
Our booth was to be called the “Rainbow CafĂ©,” and we were ordered to change the name. 
We have been handing out sunglasses with rainbow colors to any who came by our booth. We have been told to stop doing that. 
We have had rainbow banners on display throughout the Jamboree. We have been ordered to take them down (as of the writing of this reflection, we have refused). 
Sometimes the simple expression of love and faith, of welcome and respect is heard as political speech and is resisted. This is one such time. 
I am deeply saddened that the mere expression of our genuine faith, something I learned was sacrosanct when I was a young scout, is being silenced and told it is too political. 
We will withstand this, as have all the churches who have waved with pride their rainbow flags – merely replacing them when stolen or damaged. So will the Spirit of the living God whose rainbow reminds us that love will prevail. 
For all whose mere expression of love is often met with resistance, anger, fear, and hatred – I give thanks to God who is the source of that love. And I remind us all that we walk with bold steps the pathways of God’s choosing as we share that love with all whom we meet on this, our journey Into the Mystic.
It's worth noting that the Scouts For Equality (along with the UCC and the Unitarians) hosted an alternative event for people to hang out if they were disinterested in the Trump speech.

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