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The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) reconsiders ban on gay youths

2013-APR:
About anti-gay hate groups. Reactions to the
proposed policy by the Family Research Council,
and the Unitarian Universalist Association

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This topic is a continuation from the previous essay.

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The story so far:

The leadership of the Boy Scouts of America has proposed a change to their membership standards so that:

  • Youths with a homosexual or bisexual orientation would no longer be automatically refused membership in the BSA .

  • Youths who are existing members of the BSA would no longer be immediately expelled if they are found to have a homosexual or bisexual orientation. They could stay in the BSA until they reached their 18th birthday and became adults.

The resolution to approve the change will be voted upon by about 1,400 delegates at the BSA National Annual Meeting during 2013-MAY-22 to 24.

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A note about anti-gay hate groups:

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is the one of the two main organization in the U.S. that monitors anti-semitic, racist, anti-LGBT, and similar hate groups. The other main hate monitoring group is the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The SPLC found 1,007 active hate groups in the U.S. during 2012. They note that:

"All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics." 1

The SPLC wrote in their Intelligence Report for Winter 2010:

"Even as some well-known anti-gay groups like Focus on the Family moderate their views, a hard core of smaller groups, most of them religiously motivated, have continued to pump out demonizing propaganda aimed at homosexuals and other sexual minorities. These groups’ influence reaches far beyond what their size would suggest, because the 'facts' they disseminate about homosexuality are often amplified by certain politicians, other groups and even news organizations. Of the 18 groups profiled ... the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) will be listing 13 next year as hate groups, reflecting further research into their views. ... Generally, the SPLC’s listings of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling. Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups."

They list 18 anti-gay groups that they identify as hate groups. including:

  • American Family Association
  • Americans for Truth about Homosexuality
  • American Vision
  • Family Research Council
  • Traditonal Values Coalition. 2

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Response to the BSA proposals by the Family Research Council:

The Family Research Council (FRC) has been included in the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) list of active anti-gay hate organizations.

The FRC has taken a very negative view towards the BSA's proposed change in membership rules which would allow youths with a homosexual or bisexual orientation to join and enjoy the benefits of BSA membership. The BSA currently refuses to allow known gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth to join and has immediately expelled any such youth that it finds within its organization.

In the "Action" section of the FRC web site for 2013-APR-19, they state:

"Today, the Boy Scouts released a resolution that if approved in a few weeks would change the organization's longstanding policy on open homosexuality. Advocates of cultural change are pressuring the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to promote homosexuality in Scouting. The outcome of this decision will affect the very future of Scouting, as a shift in the policy would undermine the very principles held by the BSA for over a century.

This decision is too important for those who value the Boy Scouts and its value to American communities to stand idly by. 3

In reality, the BSA is not "promoting homosexuality. The BSA proposal would simply recognize that youths with a homosexual orientation exist in society. Because of the BSA's mandate to serve all male youth of good character, they should be allowed to join the BSA as youth members. Their proposed policy would end the discriminatory exclusions of youths with a homosexual or bisexual orientation from scouting.

The FRC announced a special "Stand with Scouts Sunday" for 2013-MAY-05, They have prepared a simulcast for broadcast to church congregations and to home faith groups:

4

The FRC has adopted the slogan "Stand with Scouts" for their program to retain the BSA's exclusionary and discriminatory policies.

Their Stand With Scouts web site 5 contains a petition that they ask people to sign if they oppose the BSA's proposed policy. It says in part:

"I oppose the new proposal that the Boy Scouts of America should revoke the longstanding policy on homosexuality. An organization that teaches character, courage, and conviction shouldn't be exploited as a laboratory for sexualized political correctness. For decades, the BSA 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 or corporate pressure, and has thus far stood strong." 6

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Response by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA):

The UUA is generally regarded as the most liberal organized religious group in the U.S. It is mainly composed of Agnostics, Atheists, Humanists, progressive Christians, inter-faith couples, and many others. They have fought homophobia and have promoted equality for the LGBT community for decades.

The Rev. Peter Morales, president of the UUA, issued the following press release:

"The Boy Scouts of America has announced a proposal for revising its discriminatory membership policies. The proposed resolution would remove the restriction denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone, but would continue to perpetuate the discriminatory membership policy for all adult scout leaders.

While long opposing the BSA's discriminatory policies, the UUA has consistently noted the many benefits that scouting offers to boys and young men, and we applaud the fact that these benefits will potentially be available to all boys and young men who want to participate in scouting. However, it is abhorrent to continue to discriminate against scout leaders.

As a religious community, Unitarian Universalists are called to affirm the worth and dignity of every person regardless of sexual orientation. Starting in 1985, the UUA has spoken out in opposition to the BSA's discriminatory practices.

This resolution further illustrates how the BSA remains out of touch and inconsistent with their own values of respect and kindness, but also with the changing attitudes of the American public.

The proposed resolution from the BSA is a step in the right direction, but it falls short of ensuring equality for gay scout leaders. Unitarian Universalists remain hopeful that there is still time to persuade the BSA to move from discrimination and prejudice to inclusion and respect for all Americans who wish to participate in scouting." 7

His statement did not comment on the BSA's restriction that only theists may be BSA members. That policy excludes many UUA members who are Agnostics, Atheists, Humanists, or other non-theists.

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This topic continues in 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. "Hate map," Southern Poverty Law Center, 2013, at: http://www.splcenter.org
  2. "18 anti-gay groups and their propaganda," Intelligence Report, Winter-2010, Issue #140, at: http://www.splcenter.org/
  3. "Action," Family Research Council, 2013-APR-19, at: http://www.frc.org/
  4. "Stand with Scouts Sunday," You Tube, 2013-APR, at: http://youtu.be/
  5. "Stand With Scouts Sunday" web site is at http://www.standwithscoutssunday.org
  6. The FRC "Stand with the Boy Scout!" petition is at: https://www.frc.org/
  7. Rev. Peter Morales, "UUA President Issues Statement on BSA’s Proposed Membership Standards Resolution," Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, 2013-APR-19, at: http://www.uua.org/

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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-APR-19
Latest updated: 2013-APR-23
Author: B.A. Robinson

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