By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
May 24, 2013
GRAPEVINE, Texas — Bowing to pressure from homosexual organizations, the Boy Scouts of America voted Thursday to accept openly homosexual members, a move that may mark the beginning of the end of many troops as families who base their beliefs on the Bible seek alternative programs.
“Like Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, we believe a lot of folks involved in Scouting will ‘vote with their feet’ and walk away from what was once an ethics-based organization that pointed young men in the right direction,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “We are disappointed, to say the least.”
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said the Boy Scouts’ legacy of producing great leaders had become “yet another casualty of moral compromise.” In a statement issued by the FRC, he said the BSA’s 1,400-member National Council had capitulated to “strong-arm tactics and abandoned the timeless values that have served the organization well from more than 100 years.”
He said the BSA National Council decided against the results of the organization’s own survey, which showed 61 percent of members opposed the policy change. Thursday’s vote was 60 percent for the change, a resolution that, as of Jan. 1, 2014, will “remove the restriction denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone.”
In its announcement of the change, the Council put forth a reminder that Scouting is a youth program, and “any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting.” The statement also made it clear that “a change to the current membership policy for adult leaders was not under consideration; thus, the policy for adults remains in place.”
“The Boy Scouts of America will not sacrifice its mission, or the youth served by the movement, by allowing the organization to be consumed by a single, divisive, and unresolved societal issue,” the Scout statement reads. “As the National Executive Committee just completed a lengthy review process, there are no plans for further review on this matter.”
Dr. Creech said he is thankful that the Scouts did not open its doors to homosexual adult leaders, but like many others across the nation, he is also doubtful that it will remain that way for long, especially since troops who embrace openly gay members would find it hard to justify rejecting those same Scouts when they turn 18 and want to take on adult leadership roles. The BSA vote also undermines the organization’s legal standing.
“…Today’s vote to allow homosexual youth members negates BSA’s ability to legally defend its position regarding leadership and opens the door to more efforts by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) lobbies to make further policy changes,” Dr. George O. Wood, Assemblies of God general superintendent, wrote on the Royal Rangers’ Web site. A youth mentoring program similar to Scouting, Royal Rangers has its roots in the Pentecostal church.
Wood pointed to the landmark 2000 Supreme Court decision, which confirmed Boy Scouts as a private organization with the freedom of association to determine its own membership standards, and also to the fact that a majority of scout groups (some 70 percent, media sources report) are sponsored by churches or other religious entities which, if biblically based, identify homosexual behavior as outside of God’s plan for sexuality.
“While we agree that youths who experience confusion or same-sex attraction need to be welcomed, in our churches they are confronted with this biblical teaching and will be counseled and prayed with that God will help them to align their lives in conformity to that teaching,” Wood said. “We agree with the BSA that we need to demonstrate compassion and welcome those who are struggling with sexuality issues, but not in a way that condones such behavior, which is what the new BSA policy does.”
Royal Rangers is one of a number of decades-old religious organizations that offer programing similar to Scouting, many with pledges, merit badges, camping, etc. Most have reported an increase in inquiries in recent months as Thursday’s vote neared. Southern Baptists have Royal Ambassadors and Challengers, while Seventh-day Adventists offer Pathfinders, and Catholics have the Columbian Squires via the Knights of Columbus, to name a few. Other, lesser known groups include the Calvinist Cadet Corps and the Christian Service Brigade, which is not as outdoor oriented as the BSA.
“We are difficult to find,” Dale Kinkade, CSB Ministries’ Ohio Valley regional director told The Baptist Standard earlier this month. “Despite that, we have had quite a few inquiries of who and what we are.”
As many pro-family Scouts and their parents decide whether or not to exit the organization and others plan to meet next month in Louisville, Ky., to consider starting their own character development organization for boys, the FRC’s Perkins warns that further policy changes at BSA can be expected.
“It is clear that the current BSA leadership will bend with the winds of popular culture, and the whims of liberal special interest groups,” he said. “There is little doubt that God will soon be ushered out of scouting. Now is the time for new leadership.”
The BSA’s decision to depart from its long-held core beliefs came just months after the N.C. House and Senate voted unanimously to honor the organization, which came to America in 1910 and now has North Carolina native Wayne Brock as its chief executive.
Unfortunately, according to media reports, Brock was apparently one of three high level Scout executives who pressured delegates to the BSA National Council meeting to vote to change the policy.
“We are saddened that the wonderful contributions of Scouts across the nation are coming under a cloud of sorts, not as a result of the boys’ behavior, but because of political pressure from gay groups,” Dr. Creech said. “We agree with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, himself an Eagle Scout, who recently told The New York Times, ‘Scouting ought to be about building character, not about sex. Period. Precious few parents enroll their boys in the Scouts to get a crash course in sexual orientation.'”
According to House Resolution 52, adopted in February, nearly 120,000 North Carolinians participate in the program and Scouts in the Tar Heel state performed more than 500,000 hours of community service last year. The Senate similarly saluted the state’s 86,766 youth Scout participants with Senate Resolution 41, recognizing North Carolina’s 11 Boy Scout Councils.