Leaders of traditional values groups believe if the Boy Scouts
changes its policy regarding homosexuals as members and leaders,
that organization could be deeply hurt.
The proposal under
consideration by the Boy Scouts of America, announced Monday,
would remove sexual orientation from the national membership
restriction and permit regional counsels to make their own
decisions about membership.
"Currently, the BSA is discussing potentially removing the
national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation," read
a statement released yesterday by the Scouts' leadership. "This
would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding
sexual orientation, but that the chartered organizations that
oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select
leaders consistent with their organization's mission, principles or
religious beliefs. BSA members and parents would be able to choose
a local unit which best meets the needs of their families.
"The policy change under discussion would allow the religious,
civic or educational organizations that oversee and deliver
Scouting to determine how to address this issue. The Boy Scouts
would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units,
members or parents. Under this proposed policy, the BSA would not
require any chartered organization to act in ways inconsistent with
that organization's mission, principles or religious beliefs."
announcement comes after years of controversy surrounding the
current policy, including a high-profile Supreme Court case in June
2000, and -- more recently -- corporate campaigns to suspend
donations to the Boy Scouts.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, offers his take on the
"This is what's happening," he said on American Family Radio
Monday afternoon. "The homosexual activists -- you know they
succeeded in taking down the military with Barack Obama's help --
now they've been targeting the Boy Scouts using their allies in
corporate America, where they get into the HR departments and
they've been pressuring them like
Merck Foundation], even though a Gallup poll just out shows that a majority
of Americans agree with the Boy Scouts' position."
Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality reminds
OneNewsNow that the Scouts went to the highest court in the nation
to win the right to ban homosexuals in leadership positions -- but
homosexual activists began pounding them, then some businesses
stopped financial support.
"If you take all that and you still come out strong, that's a
victory," he says. "But if you allow all of that pressure to then
change your values -- which is what they're doing here -- to
accommodate homosexuality, then you've given in. You've let the bad
"It's very sad to see the Scouts cave on this," he continues.
"If you capitulate to the homosexual lobby, you're capitulating to
immorality; and you're not being 'morally straight,' as the Boy
Scout creed says."
Randy Sharp, director of special projects for the American Family
Association, also alludes to the Scouts' oath. "The BSA, for
years, has had character and integrity and has stood firm on moral
values," he remarks. "If they reverse this policy, then what
they're saying now is that to remain 'morally straight' isn't as
important as they've been saying for the past 100 years."
Sharp predicts that, should a policy change come to pass, fewer
parents will allow their children to be members. And he points out
that the BSA depends on adult volunteers to run the program.
"You're signing a death warrant when you say you're going to
allow open homosexuals to participate in a program with young
boys," adds the former Scoutmaster.
LaBarbera agrees. Parents, he says, do not want homosexual
Scoutmasters going with their boys on campouts. "And you don't want
homosexual Boy Scouts either because you don't want to have one
homosexual Scout going around telling everybody about his
homosexuality and how he's out and proud and everything. You don't
want that influence of deviant sexuality among the boys
"... Parents need to contact the Scouts and say Stick to the
original policy ... Keep the Scouts morally straight," urges
Expect attrition, says the SBC
According to The Associated Press, Southern Baptist
leaders -- who consider homosexual acts sinful -- were furious
about the possible change and said its approval might encourage
their churches to support other boys' organizations instead. Sing
Oldham, vice president for communications with the Southern Baptist
Convention Executive Committee, says the possible policy change
-- which was conveyed to the SBC last week -- would convince some
congregations to do away with their Boy Scout troops.
"They were hoping that there would not be any opposition from
the Southern Baptist Convention," he tells AP. "[But] I do
believe that there will be attrition over time as churches evaluate
their long-term relationship with the Scouts and begin to look at
other options in terms of serving the interests and the needs of
He adds: "I just think over time that they're really spelling
their own death knell as being the kind of vital organization they
have been historically."
A final vote on any policy change could happen as early as next
Editor's Note: The American Family Association is the parent
organization of the American Family News Network, which operates
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