Monday, September 6, 2010


One of our colleagues quit this week.

Here's why. One of the agencies funded by UW of Asheville & Buncombe County is the local chapter of the Boy Scouts of America. As you may know, there is controversy around the national BSA discrimination policies.

"...In June 2000, the United States Supreme Court ruled that New Jersey public law violated the Boy Scouts of America's First Amendment right of expressive associate and therefore entitled to establish their own exclusionary membership criteria...."

The website that describes the discrimination says that since the 1970's, the central issue of their exclusionary policy is "...the "3 G's" (gays, girls and the godless)..." (Those are fightin' words!)

In other words, the BSA can legally discriminate against gays.

Every United Way is locally organized and some have disassociated with the BSA and not funded any programs. However, as my colleague learned after researching it further, UWABC believes that the program offered by the Asheville-based BSA creates important results in our community. Results that impact educating children and meet the Education, Income and Health needs established by the over 100 community-based expert volunteers earlier this year.

This decision was not taken lightly - not the UWABC's decision to fund BSA of Asheville, not my colleague's decision to quit, not our team's decision to support her and not our individual efforts to confront our own allegiance to the UW of ABC.

Several of us decided to "undesignate" our gifts - that is, to say that we support our moneys going to the Community Fund, as long as NONE of our gift goes to the BSA programs. I'm sure that will create some accounting nightmare for the accounting department, but this was how I was able to live with myself.

Perhaps these pledge cards might raise the awareness at the board level of UWABC to be more discerning next year when funding programs. I give to the UWABC because I believe in a strong community. And, I cannot support discriminatory practices. For me, this was how I live into my conviction with love and compromise.

My colleague, however, felt that she would not be living in integrity to continue in this work. Her conviction was deeply felt in her heart, guts and being. I honor her efforts and learned a lot from her modeling living into what is "right" for her. I will miss her gifts and her grace on our team even as I support her doing what she needed to do.

Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you've got, be resolute, and love without stopping. 1 Corinthians 16:13 (The Message)

How is conviction showing up in this moment, for you?

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