United Methodist Implementation of the United Nations' Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons With Disabilities and the Americans With Disabilities Act
WHEREAS, the General Board of Global Ministries three decades ago called “United Methodists to a new birth of awareness of the need to include, assimilate, receive the gifts, and respond to the needs, of those persons with intellectual, physical, psychological and/or neurological disabilities, including their families”; and
WHEREAS, the General Conference resolved in 1980 to take major steps in adapting facilities, new and existing, such as “church sanctuaries, educational buildings, parsonages, camps, colleges, or other church-related agencies or facilities” so that they meet minimum guidelines for “barrier-free construction” (see “Barrier-Free Construction for People with Disabilities,” 2008 Book of Resolutions #3304); and
WHEREAS, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has now been in existence for more than 20 years; and
WHEREAS, the United Nations adopted the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (Standard Rules) in 1993; and
WHEREAS, the ADA’s and the Standard Rules’ primary goal is to promote access to all aspects of social interaction including education, employment, commerce, recreation, government, and transportation, and
WHEREAS, the Lord Jesus Christ set the example of ministering to those with disabilities as a priority of his earthly ministry; and
WHEREAS, we as United Methodists have a policy of “Open Hearts, Open Minds, and Open Doors;” and
WHEREAS, people around the world are affected by disabilities caused by land mines, war, disasters, and natural causes, and one in five Americans has one or more disabilities;
Therefore, be it resolved, that the assembled delegates to this General Conference of The United Methodist Church 2012 affirm our support of the full implementation of the provisions of the United Nations’ Standard Rules and the Americans with Disabilities Act including Title I, which states that employers “may not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities” and will “reasonably accommodate the disabilities of qualified applicants or employees unless undue hardship would result.”
Be it further resolved, that the General Conference of The United Methodist Church 2012 urge all our congregations and agencies to implement and enforce the provisions of the Standard Rules, ADA, and all disability-related programs within every area that members of The United Methodist Church reside with the same vigor and interest as they would any other law affecting their able-bodied constituency. This includes, but is not limited to the provision of accessible buildings, bathrooms, and parking; telephone access; hymnals and literature in large print and other alternative formats; closed captioning of all audiovisual media; amplification, assistive listening devices, and/or professional American Sign Language interpretation or other indigenous sign language interpretation and real-time captioning when needed.
Be it further resolved, that the General Conference of The United Methodist Church will show its adherence to the Standard Rules and the ADA by meeting in an accessible location and budgeting for accommodations needed by delegates and non-delegates, including but not limited to: providing large print and alternative format materials for visually impaired delegates and non-delegates; and providing professional American Sign Language interpretation or other indigenous sign language interpretation and real-time captioning for delegates and non-delegates to General Conference, including remote viewers. This is to be coordinated by the General Board of Global Ministries.
RESOLUTION #3002, 2012 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS
See Social Principles, ¶ 162I.
From The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church - 2016. Copyright © 2016 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.