2013-JAN: The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) considers local option on gays
Reactions to the BSA's decision
by the Family Research Council.
2013-JAN-28: Reactions by the Family Research Council:
The FRC is a fundamentalist Christian group that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has said qualifies as a hate group because of their frequent misrepresentation of topics related to homosexual orientation. 1 [The SPLC is the main national organization that monitors hate organizations in the U.S.]
The FRC appears to be taking the lead in the attempts by religious and social conservatives to preserve the ban on lesbians, gays, and bisexuals in the BSA
On 2013-JAN-28. the FRC
issued an emergency email to their "Grassroots Alerts" mailing list. 2 It says, in part:
"... The BSA says that it is 'discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation'."
" 'Be prepared.' The motto of the venerable organization that has helped develop countless boys into men, preparedness is not only an aspiration, but a descriptor. Thus far they've been prepared to withstand the constant bullying by those who work to bring down all that the millions of dedicated Scouts and Scout leaders stand for."
"A departure from their long-held policies would be devastating to an organization that has prided itself on the development of character in boys. In fact, according to a recent Gallup survey, only 42 percent of Americans support changing the policy to allow homosexual scout leaders."
"As the BSA board meets next week, it is crucial that they hear from those who stand with them and their current policy regarding homosexuality. Please call the Boy Scouts of America at 972-580-2000 and tell them that you want to see the organization stand firm in its moral values and respect the right of parents to discuss these sexual topics with their children.
Meanwhile, the BSA will continue to lag behind the Girl Scouts of the USA, Camp Fire, Boys & Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and 4-H clubs, and the Boy Scouts in Canada -- all of who are open to all young people, regardless of religion and sexual orientation. Camp Fire, in particular, is very up-front with their philosophy, which is to be:
The FRC statement raises some interesting points:
"... inclusive, open to every person in the communities we serve, welcoming children, youth and adults regardless of race, religion, socioeconomic status, disability, sexual orientation or other aspect of diversity. Camp Fire's programs are designed and implemented to reduce sex-role, racial and cultural stereotypes and to foster positive intercultural relationships." 3
They say that the BSA may be "... removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation." That is an ambiguous statement. Unfortunately, some readers may interpret it as meaning that the entire BSA organization, from the national to local level, will no longer discriminate against gays and bisexuals. To judge by other reports in the media, they are actually considering transferring the decision on whether to automatically expel, denigrate, and discriminate against gays to the local groups.
The FRC seems to imply that the outside groups that are pressuring the BSA to end their homophobic policies have as their real goal the total destruction of the BSA. That seems very improbable because the other organizations for young people in the U.S. accept members of all sexual orientations and are flourishing.
Their statement seems to imply that honor, moral behavior, and good character are incompatible with a homosexual orientation. This is a logical development from the beliefs of many religious and social conservatives that homosexuality is a defined as:
- a behavior,
- that is chosen,
- hated by God,
- caused by poor parenting and/or sexual molestation of children,
- unnatural, and abnormal,
- intrinsically immoral,
- driven by lust, and
- changeable through reparative therapy and/or transformational ministry programs.
These beliefs are very different from those generally accepted by religious and social liberals/progressives, essentially all psychiatrists, psychologists, educators, social workers, etc. that homosexuality is defined:
- in terms of sexual attraction,
- that is discovered,
- not rejected by God,
- caused by a genetic factor and perhaps triggered by something in the environment,
- natural and normal for a minority of individuals,
- intrinsically neither moral nor immoral,
- driven by feelings of attraction, and
Their call to: "respect the right of parents to discuss these sexual topics with their children" seems to refer to a BSA belief that the topics like sexual orientation and gender identity should be kept secret from children by the BSA, by schools, and by other groups for young people. Education on these topics should be left up to parents and perhaps to religious education by churches. This is a troubling policy because it often cuts children off from accurate, scientifically valid facts on sexual orientation and gender identity that a person needs to know in order to develop accurate beliefs concerning sexual orientation and gender identity. This is particularly important information for the approximately 10% of children who will discover that they are gay, lesbians, bisexual, transgender or transsexual later in life.
2013-JAN-31: Family Research Council asks supporters to phone individual BSA board members:
The FRC sent an eMail to their mailing list asking supporters to phone "select BSA board members." They listed 26 members from all over the U.S.
They suggest a sample phone script:
"Thank you for your service as a board member of the Boy Scouts of America.
As you're aware, a new proposal indicates that the Boy Scouts of America may revoke their longstanding policy of safeguarding Scouts by restricting homosexuals from holding leadership positions over boys. For decades, your national organization has kept the interest of the boys it serves as the focus of all its actions. No matter what, the Boy Scouts of America could be counted upon to do the right thing and not yield to any social pressure, and has thus far stood strong.
Please do not jeopardize the safety and moral integrity of Scouting in the interest of social activism. The proposal to relegate the decision on homosexual leaders to local chartered organizations sends the wrong signal from the national body: that political correctness ultimately triumphs over character.
Please retain the current long-held and time-tested policy regarding homosexual leadership and membership. America stands with you. Lead the way. Please stand strong.
Thank you, and God bless you." 4
They raise the following points:
- Allowing gay, bisexual, and lesbian leaders in the BSA would endanger the safety of individual boy scouts.
- Not allowing gay scouts to join and expelling gay scouts that come out of the closet as members somehow serves the best interests of the scouts that they expel.
- Rejecting gays somehow serves the best interests of heterosexual scouts as well.
- Ending homophobia in the BSA would be the wrong action, would be yielding to social pressure, and would exhibit political correctness.
- Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is the best policy because it has been around for a long time.
- Ending discrimination would make the BSA a dishonorable organization.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- David Demirbilek, "Southern Poverty Law Center repeats 'hate group' claim about Family Research Council," Daily Caller, 2012-SEP-13, at: http://dailycaller.com/
- "Breaking News: Will the Boy Scouts stand up to bullies?," Email, Family Research Council, issued during the evening of 2013-JAN-28.
- "About Camp Fire," Camp Fire, at: http://www.campfireusa.org/
- Tony Perkins, "Boy Scouts hear from America," eMail, Family Research Council, 2013-JAN-31.
Copyright © 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Original posting: 2013-JAN-28
Latest updated: 2013-FEB-05
Author: B.A. Robinson