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2013-JAN: The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) considers local option on gays

Other faith groups reactions to the BSA's gay policy.
BSA decided to delay decision until 2013-MAY.

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This topic is a continuation from the previous essay.

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Reactions by other religious groups:

  • Bryan Fischer, the Director of Issues Analysis for the American Family Association (AFA), opposes any change to the BSA's current ban on gays:

  1

According to Wikipedia:

"Fischer's controversial comments on racial and ethnic minorities were cited by Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in explaining the hate group designation they gave to the AFA in November 2010." 2

Fischer claims that homosexuals are at ten times higher risk than heterosexuals to abuse young boys. This opinion may have been derived from the writings of Paul Cameron back in the 1980's. His findings have been extensively discredited, but which are still quoted extensively by social and religious conservatives.

Dr. Gregory M. Here, an authority on sexual prejudice at the University of California, Davis, writes in his web site "Sexual orientation: science, education and policy:"

"Cameron's survey data are subject to so many methodological flaws as to be virtually meaningless. Even so, his assertions are sometimes quoted by anti gay organizations in their attempts to link homosexuality with child sexual abuse." 3

Pedophilia is a psychological disorder characterized by a preference by adults for sexual partners who are children 11 years or younger. Dr. Here writes:

"... many child molesters don't really have an adult sexual orientation. They have never developed the capacity for mature sexual relationships with other adults, either men or women. Instead, their sexual attractions focus on children -– boys, girls, or children of both sexes. ... The empirical research does not show that gay or bisexual men are any more likely than heterosexual men to molest children." 3

  • Two of the largest sponsors of Boy Scout troops are The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a.k.a. LDS or Mormon church) and the Roman Catholic Church. Mormon troops include about 420,000 scouts; the Roman Catholic Church troops include about 280,000. Both denominations gave no official response to the BSA's decision to reconsider the ban. 4

  • Rev. George O. Wood is the leader of the Assemblies of God, a fundamentalist Pentecostal denomination. He said that he was:

    "... saddened and disappointed. ... Homosexual behavior contradicts biblical teachings and God's created order for the family and human relationships. We pray BSA will give careful consideration to this matter and hold firm to the beliefs that have made it a strong and influential organization for more than 100 years." 4

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  • According to the Associated Press:

    "The United Methodist Church, the second largest sponsor of Scout units after the Mormons, expressed support for the change — saying it was in line with church policy opposing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation."

    Frank Page, a leader of the Southern Baptist Conference (SBC) noted that the news of the policy reconsideration came one week before "Scout Sunday" and is causing a lot of consternation. He said:

  • "Churches have not had time to think and pray and consider this."

    He explained that Southern Baptist churches are independent and that each can establish their own policies. However he speculated that the SBC Executive Committee may discuss the matter and issue a resolution at their next meeting in mid-FEB. 4

  • John Stemberger is president of the conservative Christian Florida Family Policy Council, one of 38 similar state groups associated with the fundamentalist Christian group Focus on the Family. He said:

    "If the BSA departs from its policies on allowing openly homosexual scoutmasters and boys in the program it could destroy the legitimacy and the security of this iconic institution. I pray that the BSA does not open a can of worms that would cause a mass exodus from a program that America needs now more than ever." 4

    There is a widespread belief among religious and social conservatives that adults with a homosexual orientation exhibit a high incidence of child molestation and sexual abuse. Thus Stemberger's prophecy may well come true. However, numerous studies have shown that the belief has no rational basis. Such molestation is caused by abusive pedophiles, hebephiles and ephebophiles. They are strongly -- sometimes exclusively -- attracted to young children, youth at the beginning of puberty, and post-pubertal teens. While it is true that some gay, lesbian and bisexual adults molest minors, heterosexual adults do at more or less the same rate.

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2013-FEB-02: Texas legislators urge the BSA to continue to continue to exclude gays, lesbians, and bisexuals:

Two commissioners, one Congressional representative, many Republican state senators and many Republican state representatives, but no obvious Democrats, signed an open letter to the Boy Scouts of America urging the BSA to continue to discriminate against sexual minorities. The letter states:

"As state elected officials, we strongly encourage the Boy Scouts of America to stick with their decades of support for family values and moral principles. Capitulating to the liberal social agenda not only undermines the very principles of scouting, but sets the stage for the erosion of an organization that has defined the American experience for generations of young men.

Scouts begin each meeting with an Oath, “to do my duty, to God and my country, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.” By caving in to pressure from the social left, the national leadership would violate each of those principles.

Worse still, the contemplated national policy would throw to the wolves chartering organizations and scout troops that choose to stick with scouting’s historic and legally protected policy. Left to defend themselves from legal attacks, we fear many churches and other entities will choose to simply abandon scouting altogether – it will be the safer course, and one hastening the organization’s eventual collapse.

Rest assured that while adopting this ill-considered and wrongly devised policy might earn temporary kudos, you can never do enough to appease those who want to see the scouts robbed of their moral authority.

We urge you to be morally and physically strong. We urge you to protect all that scouting has been, and all that it can remain." 8

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2013-FEB-06: BSA decided to delay decision:

The BSA national council was expected to announce its decision on whether to lift their ban on gay and lesbian members on FEB-06. However, they decided to delay the decision until at least 2013-MAY. They said:

"In the past two weeks, Scouting has received an outpouring of feedback from the American public. After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the Scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America's National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy. ... The roughly 1,400 voting members of the national council will take action on the resolution at the national meeting in May 2013." 5

During the previous weekend, scouts delivered 1.4 million petitions asking that the executive end their current ban on gays in the BSA.

During an interview during FEB-03 by Scott Pelley on CBS News, President Obama said:

"The Scouts are a great institution that are promoting [sic] young people and exposing them to opportunities and leadership that will serve people for the rest of their lives. I think that nobody should be barred from that. ... "

Rick Perry (R), the governor of Texas hopes that the BSA retains its current exclusionary policies towards gays. He said:

"Scouting is about teaching a substantial amount of life lessons. Sexuality is not one of them.

Quinnipac University released a national poll on FEB-06. They found that:

  • 55% of American voters favored an end to the ban of gays.
  • 33% favored a continuation of the ban.
  • 61% of women supported a repeal of the ban; 33% favored continuing it.
  • 49% of men supported a repeal; 39% favored continuing the ban

A Gallup/USA Today poll in 2012-DEC found that 52% opposed allowing gay and lesbian adults to serve as scout leaders. 6

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council issued a press release on FEB-06 stating:

"The leaders of the Boy Scouts were wise not to abandon their longstanding national membership standards, as they were reportedly on the brink of doing. We thank the Scout parents and members of the public who responded to these reports with an overwhelming outpouring of support for maintaining the Scouts' timeless values that have served the Scouts and the nation well for 103 years.

However, it is not enough that they postpone a decision. Instead, the BSA board should publicly re-affirm their current standards, as they did just last July. We look forward to continuing to work with scouting parents, leaders of the faith-based organizations that charter over two-thirds of the packs and the troops.  We will also continue to communicate with the Scout leadership about the grave consequences that would result if they were to compromise their moral standards in the face of threats from corporate elites and homosexual activists." 6

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The Executive Committee of the BSA abandoned the local
option concept to consider other policies. See the next essay.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Bryan Fischer Explodes over Boy Scouts Ending National Ban on Gays," Right Wing Watch, 2013-JAN-29, at: http://youtu.be/
  2. "Bryan Fischer," Wikipedia, as on 2013-JAN-30, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/
  3. Dr. Gregory Herek, "Facts about homosexuality and child molestation," undated, at: http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/
  4. David Crary, "Scouts' future uncertain if ban on gays is dropped," Associated Press, 2013-JAN-30, at: http://abcnews.go.com/
  5. "May Day from Scout headquarters," Washington Update, Family Research Counil, 2013-FEB-06, at: https://mail.google.com/
  6. Sarah Parnass, "Boy Scouts of America Delays Decision on Membership Policy Banning Gays," ABC News, 2013-FEB-06, at: http://abcnews.go.com/
  7. "FRC Encouraged by Boy Scouts' Delay, Urges Board to Reaffirm Current Standards," Press Release, Family Research Council, 2013-FEB-06, at: http://www.frc.org/
  8. "State leaders urge Boy Scouts to uphold moral values," Texas Values, 2-13-FEB-02, at:

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Home > Religious conflict > U.S. & Worldwide > Boy Scouts > Reconsider gays > here

or Home > Hot topics > Homosexuality & bisexuality > Homophobia > Boy Scouts > Reconsider gays > here

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Copyright © 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
Original posting: 2013-JAN-28
Latest updated: 2013-FEB-16
Author: B.A. Robinson

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