A letter from four United Methodist General Secretaries
Today’s Supreme Court decision ruling unconstitutional the use of affirmative action is antithetical to the social teachings of The United Methodist Church. As stated in the Book of Resolutions, The United Methodist Church sees “the most fundamental premise underlying the concept of affirmative action is both moral and spiritual … According to biblical teaching, we are mandated, in the face of inhumane discrimination – whether that discrimination is intended or unintended – to do what we can to redress legitimate grievances and to create a society in which the lives of each and all will flourish.” (2016 Book of Resolutions, #3373: Affirmative Action). The Supreme Court’s ruling will make the struggle to redress past injustices and advance equity even more difficult in our institutions and society.
As agencies of The United Methodist Church, we remain committed to the Wesleyan value of social justice and the social teachings of the Gospel as expressed in the Social Principles and Book of Resolutions and will continue to pursue inclusive and equitable practices in our hiring, programming, and institutional witness. We continue to believe “given the tenacity of many forms of racism, sexism, and ableism – both blatant and subtle – the concept of affirmative action retains its relevance as part of an overall effort to create a more just and equitable social system.” (BOR 3373) And we will continue to reflect in our own practices and champion to the wider world the kin-dom values that seek to ensure access to and effective participation in all sectors of society for people of color, women, and persons with disabilities.
In response to today’s ruling, we will advocate for a legislative response that will rectify historic inequities and expand present opportunities in the face of continued obstacles based on race, sex, and ability. Furthermore, we will advocate for an active response by United Methodists and people of faith to support our constituents, educational institutions, and ecumenical partners who will be negatively impacted by today’s ruling and to recommit to our own practices of justice, inclusion, and equity in the church and society.
Interim General Secretary
General Board of Church and Society
Rev. Greg Bergquist
General Board of Higher Education and Ministry
Rev. Dr. Giovanni Arroyo
General Commission on Race and Religion
Dawn Wiggins Hare
General Commission on the Status and Role of Women