WERE PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURES DISCRIMINATORY?
The Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference used a discussion technique of breaking into small groups to discuss a variety of social issues. The body then, havng voted to lay aside normal rules of parliamentary processes, voted on and passed all of the resolutions. A pastor, concerned about the lack of opportunity to amend any of them, raised questions of law to see if that process had been in compliance with the Discipline because of not having the right of amending first.
Without any true grammatical connection, Paragraph 604.1, which relates to discrimination, was noted on the written text.
The Council often is asked to resolve a parliamentary dispute, which this clearly is. That is not one of the things about which General Conference has given them authority, as they have just as often responded.
Because the written question included the phrase “request for a ruling of law,” the bishop dealt with it accordingly. The Council then chose to look at it and respond. Instead of saying the request was just parliamemntary, as it could have, given the lax addition of an irrelevant passage of the Discipline, the Council showed its respect and patience. After due analysis, it showed the paragraph had not been violated since no one was left out of the process leading up to the vote.
The questioner should have raised his concern about amending when the motion to suspend the rules came up. If the bishop had made the parliamentary ruling that under the suspended rules, no amendments would be heard, the questioner could have amended the motion to suspend the rules by adding the possibility to amend. He failed to do that. That made his “after-the-fact” request moot.
When the questioner could not find a relevant disciplinary passage, he pulled something out the air in hopes it would validate his question. The Council actually honored it, though, of course, showing it had no impact on the actual behavior of the conference.
I hope only one of the Council members was required to handle the preparation of this decision. The docket was exhaustingly full and had some very important cxhallenges to resolve!