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May 9, 2013
Column #1,654
Boy Scouts vs. Gays
by Mike McManus

Boy Scouts take this oath: “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey Scout Law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”

In 1991 Boy Scouts of America (BSA) stated , “We believe that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the requirement in the Scout Oath that a Scout be morally straight and in the Scout Law that a Scout be `clean in word and deed, and that homosexuals do not provide a desirable role model for Scouts.’”

Behind that stand was a nationwide investigation of child molestation in the Boy Scouts from 1971 to 1991 which revealed that more than 2,000 boys reported molestation by adult Scout leaders.

Yet BSA was sued over that position, and the issue went to the Supreme Court in 2000 which upheld the Boy Scouts’ right to teach that “homosexual conduct is not morally straight.”

With nine states allowing same-sex marriage, BSA made another two-year review which concluded last year that “this policy is absolutely the best policy for the Boy Scouts.”

However, after that decision was announced, two prominent board members - CEOs of AT&T and Ernst & Young openly called for reconsideration. About 50 United Ways including those in Cleveland, Miami, Philadelphia and Seattle withdrew funding. BSA lost all funding from Fleet Bank, CVS Pharmacy, Chase Manhattan Bank, Levi Strauss, UPS and Intel, its largest donor, saying it could not support Scouts who discriminate on the basis of creed or sexual orientation.

Therefore, BSA announced it was considering allowing local religious or civic groups sponsoring Scout Troops “to determine how to address this issue.” However, there was such a clamor of indignation raised by Baptists, Catholics and others that the 70-member Executive Board announced it needed “more time for a deliberate review.”

On April 19, BSA announced a proposal to no longer deny membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation, but maintain its ban on openly gay adult leaders.” A final decision will be made May 23 by 1,400 members of the National Council.

Boy Scout leaders keep flip-flopping. Their gutless compromise angered both the left and the right.

A Los Angeles branch of BSA called for a “true and authentic inclusion policy,” that would allow gays to work as troop leaders. By contrast, the Middle Tennessee Council said it would not support any policy change, saying “We are continuing to uphold the standards, beliefs and traditions Scouting has held for over 100 years.

The Family Research Council and 43 other organizations such as the American Family Association and Concerned Women for America – published an ad in USA Today, urging the Boy Scouts of America to “Show Courage. Stand Firm for Timeless Values.”

“To compromise moral principles under political and financial pressure would teach boys cowardice, not courage..How will parents be able to entrust their children to the Boy Scouts if they trade the well-being of the boys for corporate dollars?”

Greg Quinlan, President of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, which signed the FRC statement, spoke candidly from a very personal point of view. “Homosexuality is not innate. I am one who changed. Before I was sexually molested I grew up with a physically abusive father. It was a willing molestation. I was seeking affection and affirmation and went back for more, but I was a 10-year-old. “

Now aged 54, he “chose to work his way out of homosexuality. I have a responsibility to tell people that change is possible.” Further, he adds, “Sex is not part of Boy Scouts, which is about finding out how you are a man, the man God created you to be.”

Robert Knight, a former Eagle Scout who is now a columnist, criticizes Scout leadership “which is putting boys at risk. They have caved on the moral principle that homosexuality is wrong, and should not be encouraged in any fashion. What parent would want their 10-year-old to be approached by a 12-year-old who is self-identified as gay?”

If Boy Scouts allow gay boys to join troops, Baptists, Catholics and Mormons will pull their kids out of Scouting. Do you doubt that?

Consider what happened in Canada when gays were allowed to be members in 1998. Membership plunged form 300,000 Boy Scouts to 100,000.

It’s time for Boy Scout leaders to show the courage they expect of young boys.

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