The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) reconsiders ban on gay youths
Reactions by the Family Research Council (cont'd),
Patrick Boyle, Bloomberg, & the Los Angeles Times
Response to the BSA Executive Committee proposals by the Family Research Council (Cont'd):
It is not clear exactly which "Scouts" the FRC is standing with:
- The FRC is not standing with the BSA's executive committee. The leadership has not "thus far stood strong" against change. They have suggested altering the membership requirements to allow gay, lesbian and bisexual youth to join the organization, They are recommending that scouting be open to youths of good character who have any of the "sexual orientations and preferences."
- The FRC is not standing with the majority of Scouts either. According to the BSA's Membership Standards Executive Summary, Harris Interactive surveyed both current youth members and the general teen population. The BSA reported:
- Among general population teens and Boy Scouts and Venturers alike, a majority oppose the current Boy Scouts of America membership policy.
- A majority of Boy Scouts and Venturers oppose allowing chartered organizations to follow their own beliefs if that means there will be different standards from one organization to the next.
- According to a majority of current Boy Scouts and Venturers, the current policy does not represent a core value of Scouting. 1
So, at most, the "Stand with Scouts" program is supporting only a minority of scouts and a minority of teens.
The FRC sent an email on the morning of APR-22, requesting financial support. The first paragraph appears to contain either a factual error or an attempt to deceive:
"The Boy Scouts of America's May 23 vote on abolishing the ban on openly homosexual scouts and leaders is approaching fast. ..." (Emphasis by us)
The FRC joins with some other conservative parachurch organizations in incorrectly stating or implying in their news releases that the proposed membership policy will allow openly homosexual scout leaders to join or remain in the BSA. This is not true. The BSA resolution, as approved by their Executive Committee, plainly states:
"... the Boy Scouts of America will maintain its current membership policy for all adult leaders." 2
That is, openly gay adults will continue to be excluded from leader positions, and any existing leaders who are found to be openly gay will continue to be expelled. It is unclear whether these parachurch groups are intentionally trying to mislead the public, whether they have simply misunderstood the new policy, or whether they have not done any fact checking and are simply echoing the incorrect beliefs of others.
The FRC's email continues:
"On May 23, the 1,400-plus delegates to the Boy Scouts National Council will vote on this dangerous policy change -- a change that would attack your religious freedom.
Because if pro-homosexual activists force the Boy Scouts to change its 103-year-old policy, then biblical morality and Christian influence in our society will be pushed further into the closet. Liberals hope a change by a respected institution like the Scouts would influence the U.S. Supreme Court as it decides two historic marriage cases in June. ..."
If the Scouts bend to this pressure, then any of the churches or faith-based groups that charter 70 percent of all Scout troops will be at risk of legal harassment by huge, wealthy pro-homosexual organizations. Many -- perhaps most -- will be forced to disassociate with the Scouts. And parents will begin to pull their boys out of the Scouts. That's why Scouting as we know it will be destroyed. ..."
By using the term "religious freedom" the FRC is not referring to the traditional meaning of the term, which includes topics like freedom of personal religious belief, assembly, speech, proselytizing, etc. It seems to refer to the emerging meaning of the term which is a person's religious freedom to oppress and denigrate women and minorities.
Reaction by Patrick Boyle, author of the book: "Scout's Honor:"
Boyle exposed sexual abuse in the BSA by writing a book in 1995 titled: "Scout's Honor: Sexual Abuse in America's Most Trusted Institution." 3
According to Amazon.com:
"Patrick Boyle is a veteran journalist whose reports on child abuse, mental illness, and drug addiction have won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Headliner Awards, the Missouri School of Journalism, and others. He has been a reporter for many newspapers, including the Washington Times, and a freelance reporter for the New York Times, ABC News, Woman's Day, Spy, and the American Journalism Review.
" 'Scout's Honor' details decades of sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts, one of the country's most respected youth organizations. Drawing on interviews with victims, lawyers, prosecutors, and even convicted molesters, Patrick Boyle paints a distressing but accurate picture of betrayal in a place we all thought was safe." 3
A PDF version of the entire book can be downloaded free from the http://www.patrickboylescoutshonor.com/ web site by going to that URL and clicking on the image of the book cover at the top of the page.
"This is a historic change for the Boy Scouts. ... You have a more than hundred-year-old organization changing what it considered a fundamental belief just a decade ago. That says a lot about the Scouts and a lot about how far the gay rights movement has come in the United States." 4
2013-APR-22: Reactions on "The Ticker" on Bloomberg View's blog:
"The Ticker" is Bloomberg View's blog "dedicated to quick commentary on economics, politics and global affairs." Writer Lisa Beyer commented:
"First, [the Boy Scouts] ... said it would preserve its policy of excluding homosexuals, which enraged liberals. Then it said it was considering abolishing the policy, which infuriated conservatives.
Now, the organization wants to split the difference and admit gay boys while barring gay leaders. Predictably, that's angered just about everyone. More important, such a policy ... sends a disturbing message to the gay children now putatively welcome to become Scouts: Come on in, we accept you as you are, just as long as you don't grow up.
The policy emerged after a survey found that although a majority of adults involved with scouting supported the practice of excluding gays, younger parents and teenagers wanted to abolish it. The Boy Scouts are right to worry about this subset given the organization's decreasing cultural relevance as evidenced by decades of declining membership.
The survey also turned up concern among adults about child safety if homosexuals were allowed to become scout leaders. In other words, the poll produced evidence of bigotry. That should have been clear enough to the Scouts given that the experts they consulted informed them that being gay is not a risk factor for child abuse.
The myth of the gay man as pedophile is to be expected: Prejudice dies hard. The scandal is that the Scouts, an organization devoted to building leaders and developing character, gave in to it. The organization is apparently worried that the Mormon and Roman Catholic churches, big sponsors of scout groups, would withdraw support. Yet it's unfathomable that any organization would kowtow to the Catholic Church on an issue of child protection today. 5
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "Membership Standards Executive Summary: Youth Study Group," BSA, 2013, month and date unknown, at http://www.scouting.org
- Item 2, "Frequently Asked Questions," BSA, 2013, month and date unknown, at: http://www.scouting.org/
- Patrick Boyle, "Scout's Honor: Sexual Abuse in America's Most Trusted Institution," Prima Livestyles, publisher, 1995-JUN. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. As of 2013-APR-20, prices for the book ranged from $2.62 used to $451 new!
- Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, "Boy Scouts To End Ban On Gay Members: Spokesperson," Reuters, 2013-APR-19, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
- Lisa Beyer, "Boy Scouts to Gays: Come In but Don't Grow Up," Bloomberg View, 2013-APR-22, at: http://www.bloomberg.com/
- LA Times Editorial Board, "Scouting's too-timid offer to gays," Los Angeles Times, 2013-APR-23, at: http://www.latimes.com/
Copyright © 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Original posting: 2013-APR-21
Latest updated: 2013-APR-23
Author: B.A. Robinson