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General Agency Head Draws Criticism From Church Leader

From: Vance B. Mathis
Date: Tuesday, November 02, 1999 2:13 PM
Subject: Recent Fassett Statement on BSA


I have written to Thom White Wolf Fassett several times about positions he has taken on social issues. This office receives inquires and expressions of concern every time he opens his mouth to speak publicly. Some of you may be in sympathy with his views. Most are not.

Recently, he took issue with the Boy Scouts of America for its requirements for membership in the organization. It does not wish to admit to its membership persons who practice or espouse homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle. The United Methodist Men of our connection support the BSA in its right to establish membership criteria. Thom White Wolf Fassett views this as discriminatory. He goes further. He will call on The United Methodist Church to withhold funding from the BSA until it changes its membership policy to conform to his view on homosexuality. He touts the Book of Resolutions to support his view. I have not thoroughly researched the Book of Resolutions on this specific issue, but so far have not found anything to suggest that an organization cannot establish its requirements for membership.

If one should push Fassett's logic, one would wonder if he regards The United Methodist Church as discriminatory if we deny membership to Satanists or to those who hold alien religious views contrary to Scripture and historic Methodism.

Frankly, I am tired of Mr. Fassett. The last time I wrote him, I asked how he could possibly support infanticide, with specific reference to his support of partial birth abortions. He wrote back that he supported the Social Principles of The United Methodist Church on the issue of abortion. However, in my opinion, partial birth abortion is tantamount to first degree murder.

In my opinion, Mr. Fassett causes more grief for Methodism than almost any other single individual in the connection. Our feeble answer, when asked about his pronouncements, is that he does not speak for the Church. Only the General Conference speaks for the Church; however, his voice is so loud and the voice of the General Conference so soft that the difference is only technical.

I applaud the United Methodist Men for standing up for the alternative position on the BSA issue.

If you happen to be an enthusiastic fan of Mr. Fassett, please know that I respect your right to hold whatever views you may have in consonance with his. It seems, however, than I am almost always in opposition to him. For those who have asked, I oppose his most current pronouncement and will do all I can to challenge it.

Vance B. Mathis
[District Superintendent]

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