The Boy Scouts of America (BSA), long known for their homophobic ban on gay scouts and gay scout leaders, reached what they are characterizing as a “compromise.” The 1,400 member Boy Scouts National Council, voted to accept the proposal drafted by the governing Executive Committee, and they lifted the ban on gay youth in scouting. The vote was 61% (854) to 39% (546).
This is a positive first step, and I’ll acknowledge that, as it’s been a long time coming. Kids should never experience discrimination, for any reason, and I’m glad that their policy has changed for the scouts.
This is JUST a first step, and the Boy Scouts of America didn’t go far enough. They are keeping their ban on gay scout leaders. On what planet is discrimination acceptable? Discrimination is unAmerican, and unacceptable in any shape or form. It sets a bad example for the kids in scouting, and it reflects badly on the BSA organization.
In the Seattle Times, they noted that religious organizations object to this policy change.
Conservatives with the Scouts — including some churches that sponsor Scout units — wanted to continue excluding gay youngsters, in some cases threatening to defect if the ban were lifted.
“We are deeply saddened,” Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s executive committee, said after learning of the vote. “Homosexual behavior is incompatible with the principles enshrined in the Scout oath and Scout law.”
The Assemblies of God, another conservative denomination, said the policy change “will lead to a mass exodus from the Boy Scout program.”
The Southern Baptist Convention always trots out the same anti-gay rhetoric to reaffirm their bigotry. I still don’t understand what “homosexual behavior” is, and I’m so tired of alleged religious leaders justifying their anti-gay hatred by citing an oath or a non-existent law, or a passage in scripture that’s been twisted to suit a political agenda.
Leaders of the conservative faction predicted the Boy Scouts will soon be forced by lawsuits to allow openly gay leaders, and they accused the top leaders of ignoring the beliefs of their members.
“The fallout from this is going to be tremendous,” predicted Robert Schwarzwalder, a senior vice president of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group, and a father of two Scouts in Northern Virginia. “I think there will be a loss of hundreds of thousands of boys and parents.”
“This great institution is going to be vitiated by the intrusion of a political agenda,” he said.
The Scouts could take a hit financially. Many Scout units in conservative areas fear local donors will stop giving.
But the ban also cost the organization. The UPS Foundation, Merck, the Intel Foundation, and many local United Ways and city agencies ended financing for the Scouts because its policies violated their own non-discrimination guidelines.
You can rest assured that I’m not going to ease up on the BSA until they totally lift their ban. Anti-gay discrimination is outrageous.
Shame on the Boy Scouts of America.
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