Possible Boy Scout gay leadership change has religious groups weighing options

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Action shot of Trail Life USA Troop GA-0412 rock climbing on Pigeon Mountain in Georgia. Photo courtesy of Troop GA-0412

Action shot of Trail Life USA Troop GA-0412 rock climbing on Pigeon Mountain in Georgia. Photo courtesy of Troop GA-0412

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(RNS) Catholics and Mormons seem to be taking a wait-and-see attitude, Methodists plan to mull the next steps with BSA officials, and some LGBT-affirming church groups are welcoming the possible change.

  • Jon

    Any citing of reductions in the number of scouts needs to be in context. BSA has been declinging for over two decades, with fewer scouts ever year. So even if nothing were changed, most areas would see declines. The fact that some areas have seen declines after last year’s decision is therefore expected. The right question, instead, is: “will scout groups see more decline in the next decade with or without this change?”. The answer to that seems clear – as society continues to become more welcoming of LGBT, the BSA will look bigoted if they don’t also become more welcoming of LGBT, and hence decline faster.

  • Bill

    If the BSA excepts adult homosexuals will it look more perverted?

  • Jon

    It’s also worth putting the trail life numbers into perspective. Trail life claims 500 troops, with 200 more starting, for at most, 700. Let’s call that 1,000 just to be generous.

    There are 37,000 Boy Scout troops in the US alone. That means that less than 3% of the Boy Scout troops left to become trail life troops, with over 97% staying with the BSA. Even 70% could still be a pretty clear majority, and 97% means that practically everyone stayed with the BSA.

  • Larry

    You miss an important detail here Jon. One reason for the decline in the BSA has been the anti-gay policies. It has driven away longstanding government support for the organization and limited its ability to use certain public facilities.

    More importantly it alienated a good deal of former scouts who would be the next generation’s leaders and parents of boy scouts. Rather than join a group like Trail Life, many are just choosing not to put their children through any similar organization.

    Also what is not being said is that the decline is on “Faith based” charters. There is a great deal of scout troops which do not have churches sponsoring them. Veterans groups typically make up one the largest scouting sponsors. They are unaffected by this.

    Its not the first time the BSA was threatened when it adopted a less bigoted policy. When the organization desegregated it faced virtually the same threats of loss of support/members. 50 years later it survived that as well.

  • Larry

    The BSA lost a major supporter in the US military when it adopted its anti-gay policies. The loss of DADT drives that point home even further.

    Frankly if all of the church based sponsors left the BSA over this, the organization would still survive through its veteran sponsors. Plus it would remove the sectarian taint which has been murder to its public relations for some time.

    One has to bear in mind, the Boy Scouts was meant as a non-sectarian organization. One not beholden to the dogma of any given faith (but reverend and respectful to all). Its roots are as a quasi-paramilitary organization. If anything the exodus of bigoted churches will allow it to return to such a status.

    Lets also be honest, as long as we have churches looking to make “onward Christian soldiers” they will still support the BSA. Gay leaders/scouts or not.

  • JR

    For all of this brouhaha, just how many gay men want to be Troop leaders? Are the Scouts inundated with applications from gays? Is there an unusually long line outside of the BSA hiring hall? Just ban openly gay men from this position and live with the two, maybe three, angry applicants.

  • Ben in oakland

    Or, far more likely, continue to have the molestations done by the married-with-children heterosexuals.

    Not that you care, but:

    1) For decades, the scouts have had a molestation problem, which:

    2) for decades, they have attempted to cover up, Roman Catholic Church style. They have had this problem for decades, despite the fact that:

    3) for decades, they have banned all participation in Scouts by gay youth and gay adults as well, and:

    4) They have “combatted” the problem by preferring married-with-children, certifiable heterosexual men. Unfortunately, this has led to this:

    1) For decades, the scouts have had a molestation problem.

    I was a District Executive in the 70’s. They were positively hysterical on the subject. It led to my resignation, especially after one of our So Good (TM) Christian Scoutmasters, married with four children, was accused of molesting four boys.

    The problem is not and proud gay men, and never has been.

    Not that you care about it.

  • Ben in oakland

    Just for the record, I had nothing to do with the scandal at all. The guy wasn’t even in my district. But they were so hysterical on the subject, so detached from the reality of the situation, and so intent on blaming gay men that could not possibly have had a thing to do with it, and so devoted to making sure that everyone was ideologically pure, that in the interests of preserving my sanity and reputation, I just went out and found another job.

  • Greg1

    One would have to ask the obvious question: “why would gay men want to be leaders in the Boy Scouts? The answer, of course, is buried in the question. In time, all the Christian churches will do as the Catholic Churches have already begun to do: start their own version of the Boy Scouts. Then the Boy Scouts will be nothing more than gay formation camps for children who are not sure of themselves, leaving the BSA to drop the last letter of the acronym, becoming pure BS.

  • RJM

    Given Gates’ statement and rationale that BSA cannot “ignore the social, political and judicial changes taking place in our country . . . the recent debates we have seen in places like Indiana and Arkansas over discrimination based on sexual orientation . . . we must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be. The status quo in our movement’s membership standards cannot be sustained.” So when those with fundamental and orthodox religious beliefs call homosexuality a sin – they will (as they already are) be labelled bigots and it will be called hate speech, and BSA will (because of “the social, political and judicial changes”) require churches to be accepting. Last May he said there would be no more change; this year he says duty to God and churches’ right to their faith beliefs will be protected — but once the atheists and others exert pressure the BSA will fold. BSA has no more core values – except the core value of its own financial interests

  • Will

    How do you equate race and homosexual behavior?

  • Will

    Ben you said accused not convicted? Why?

  • Jeff

    I am currently a Cub Scout Den Leader, was a Cub Scout myself and later Eagle Scout. If this decision comes to pass then I can guarantee it will irreparably damage Scouting. I can guarantee my Pack & Troops charter organization will immediately drop us and most of the others in our area will follow suit. Almost happened 2 years ago when the ruling regarding the boys came out. So which is better, pleasing a small group adults at the expense of hundreds maybe thousands of boys or letting a few adults have their feelings hurt? Most of these gay men wanting to be leaders were once scouts themselves and should think more of the boys and organization than themselves.

  • Will

    Larry: both the VFW and American Legion support the BSA concerning not allowing known adult homosexuals to be leaders: what veteran groups are you referring to?

  • Karen

    Greg1, why did your “god” make so many gay people and gay animals then, if as you claim he doesn’t like what they do?

  • Karen

    Actually, Jeff, you can make no such guarantee. And you should think harder and more clearly, yourself.

  • Greg1

    You know, I’m not sure, Karen. I know worms mate with themselves. And I’m sure many other animals have both sex organs, and do not need a mate, but I’m not sure if they are gay. As for humans, well, we seem to see much more of it in our day, so maybe something in the water, or the food we eat? Man has been polluting this planet for a hundred years, now, so it could be some genetic mutation occurring from that. But good question.

  • Jeff

    Actually I can most definitely guarantee it. We have ( the PacI and Troop Leaders were contacted yesterday to meet with the Church Committee on Sunday the 31 at 2pm. We have only met one other time when they intended on revoking our charter 2 years ago. So please don’t speak of matters that you have no knowledge of and aren’t affected by. Oh and Karen, if you have children would you happily send them off of 2 up to 7 days with someone you have extremely different moral opinions with? Most responsible parents wouldn’t.

  • Be Brave

    Bill May 29, 2015 at 3:12 pm:
    If the BSA excepts adult homosexuals will it look more perverted?

    No Bill, it will just BE more perverted.

    If any parent thinks that a homosexual Scout Leader is not going to try to “turn out” their young ones, they are deluded. They won’t have to hide behind a facade of heterosexuality anymore to get what they desire. Now, of course, they can be “out and proud” of it.

    I knew this was coming and none of my children are ever going to be exposed to a social experiment that turned perversion and vice into a civil right.

  • Be Brave

    @Will:

    Propaganda and mind control. This LGBT movement is being peddled exactly like Goebbels sold Germany its fundamental transformation.

    Now we have the wolves called the sheep. Poor pitiful downtrodden sheep. Just pathetic homosexuals just trying to find their place in a cold hard world made up of 99.9% of other people’s non-homosexual children.

    This is somewhat fascinating to see develop so quickly after the horrors of world war II showed us all how a world is sickened by the corrupt. But hey, those that forget history . . .

  • Be Brave

    Larry,

    This is where you propaganda finds its utter failure. Are seriously trying to delude us to believe that homosexuals in their dens of gathering are the same kind of people as those in the “Salvation Army?” C’mon man, go peddle that insanity in West Hollywood or the Castro. It won’t be bought where good people live.

  • Be Brave

    Gay Ben,

    I have gay friends. Well one. But he was my friend a decade before his “coming out” and before his 100th sex partner. And since I have only friends that are sinners (too) I have no desire to jettison him from my life. I keep praying. Although I am not huge on the miracle scenario, I still hold out hope.

    But you know well the behaviors of gay men. Almost every single Christian “came out” of a dire sinful life. Don’t try to pass off gay men as saintly knights of yore. Peddle that seduction line to your next boyfriend or twenty.

    There is a reason that homosexuals have been shunned for the entire length of human history. Put the blame on homosexual behaviors and homosexuals. This attempt at trying to make homosexual men a class act is not going to fly past any good parent.

  • Be Brave

    Jeff,

    Have you ever read of the encounter of Lot with the mob in Sodom?

    No matter how correct or civil you are to these people. you are going to get severe opposition.

    Although my children will never join the Scouts and now will never join the military, IF, a homosexual were to lead them anywhere as youth, I’d be right there to watch every instant that “leader” was around my kids.

    No, no, wait, I’m never going to let that happen while I can have anything to do about it.

    If gays want to lead youth, let them start a gay scouts with their invitro children and have at it.

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  • JR

    No, I don’t.

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  • Billysees

    Larry,

    ” One has to bear in mind, the Boy Scouts was meant as a non-sectarian organization. One not beholden to the dogma of any given faith (but reverent and respectful to all). Its roots are as a quasi-paramilitary organization. If anything the exodus of bigoted churches will allow it to return to such a status. ”

    Thanks Larry for your important reminder about Scouting.

    Here is the ‘BSA Vision Statement’ —

    The Boy Scouts of America is the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. In the future Scouting will continue to:

    1. Offer young people responsible fun and adventure

    2. Instill in young people lifetime values and develop in them ethical character as expressed in the Scout Oath and Law

    3. Train young people in citizenship, service, and leadership

    4. Serve America’s communities and families with its quality, values-based program

  • Ben in oakalnd

    I don’t know. It was 42 years ago, and I left Hawaii after being accepted for grad school.

  • Ben in oakalnd

    Honey, I’m not afflicted with anything except for anti-gay bigots. I feel just fine and I have a great life.

    What I’m wondering about is you

  • Ben in oakalnd

    You have no gay friends, anymore than any other Homo – obsessed bigot has gay friends. You have gay people that you have known.

    Nor have homosexuals been shunned for all of history. That is again your fantasy, and merely reflects your ignorance on the subject.

  • Ben in oakalnd

    Here is the rationale that they cannot avoid. The world is changing, and at least in the civilized part of it, civilized, compassionate, moral, decent, intelligent people are seeing this ancient vicious is bigotry for what it is.

  • Ben in oakalnd

    Yes, I know. And isn’t that just too sad?

  • Will

    So the accused might have been innocent and this was over 40 years ago. Yet you use this incident as an excuse to slam the BSA?

  • Will

    Since homosexual was a pagan activity for tribes that usually died out in a few generations, it would appear that civilized and rational people understand the deadly nation of promoting homosexuality to children.

  • Sam I am

    You are closed minded and bigoted, How would you ever know if a gay person was standing next to you or teaching your kids in school, Wake up and face the facts WE are here and going to be here. Educate your self.

  • Sam I am

    How do you know that 99.9% of the so called straight children have not experimented. Wake up and face more facts they have.

  • Greg1

    What we will likely be find out next is that Mr. Gates is good friends with Dennis Hastert. Ah! These people all make me sick.

  • Re: “So which is better, pleasing a small group adults at the expense of hundreds maybe thousands of boys or letting a few adults have their feelings hurt?”

    Ah, there you have it. The easy lure of majoritarianism. Why, indeed, force the majority to accommodate a minority? Shouldn’t the minority be obligated just shut up and knuckle under to the will of the majority?

    Unfortunately for those who think this way, this country is structured so as to defeat that. It is not, ultimately, up to the minority to either go away or else surrender to the demands of the majority. A free society can’t really work that way, because one that does, isn’t actually “free” (there is such a thing as “the tyranny of the majority,” as John Adams famously observed, among other Founding Fathers).

    The best, and most mature, way to handle people one doesn’t like is not to banish them, it’s to accept they exist, just move on already, and stop pitching fits over their existence.

  • Radio Free Rome

    “If any parent thinks that a homosexual Scout Leader is not going to try to ‘turn out’ their young ones, they are deluded.”

    I’m sure you’ve already Duggared your own children.

  • Ben in Oakland

    Yup. those greeks and romans were pagans that just died out after a few generations, leaving no trace.

    Promoting homosexuality to children? It seems to easy to turn real heterosexuals gay.

    You must be BRQR reincarnated.

  • Ben in Oakland

    No, dear. I don’t use that one unresolved incident to slam the BSA. I use articles that appeared in the LA Times and a number of other respected newspapers about an ongoing molestation problem that has been plaguing the BSA for decades. I leave generalizing from one incident, and outright making pu stuff, to anti-gay and religious bigots.

    That particular incident is one of the reasons I, as in ME, left the BSA. They were starting to get into their “Save us from the homosexuals” hysteria more than usual, which was far too much as it was..

  • @BB,

    “perversion and vice….”

    So rich!

    You probably brought your children to a gay pediatrician, dentist, doctor, nurse – and didn’t know it.

    Nothing bad happened. Because homosexuality is NOT a perversion – it is normal human behavior.

    Rape, however, is a perversion. And Heterosexual Christians
    promote rape every time they say “Jesus”.

    God raped Mary to make Jesus.
    Mary relented to the master as “a servant” (Luke 1:38) – which is not consent!
    Furthermore, it is claimed that Jesus is God.
    If so, he raped his mother to create himself.

    So Christianity began as a rape.

  • Fran

    Mankind has inherited imperfection and sin from our first parents, Adam and Eve, due to their disobedience to God (Romans 5:12). So anything not normal or natural in the human family, including birth defects, health conditions and even homosexuality (Romans 1:24-27) is possible.

  • Ben in oakland

    Well, of course, first, that’s not what’s being done. We are comparing race and homosexual orientation, which is a different matter entirely. I knew I was gay when I was three years old; I just didn’t know what to call it. Not having sex as a gay boy did not make me anything other than a gay boy who was a virgin. Just like heterosexuals are not defined by their behavior, but their orientation.

    Second, of course, we’re not comparing them at all. We were talking about the oppressive nature of using the coercive power of the state to harm people who have done nothing to deserve it, except to be the object of someone else’s bigotry, to limit their participation in society, and to disadvantage them at every possible turn.

  • Bruce427

    How can the Scouts continue to “Honor God,” and keep themselves “Morally Straight,” if they allow practicing homosexuals as Scout Masters?

    In more than eight places, in both Testaments (and many verses), the Bible categorically and unambiguously places the practice of homosexuality in the camp of egregious sin.

    In one place the Bible calls the practice of Homosexuality “an abomination.” In another place, the Bible puts the practice of homosexuality in the catalog of sins that “will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” In another place it calls homosexual practice “against nature” (God original created natural order).

    Jesus Himself, affirmed that marriage was to be between Male and Female (and no other).

    The Scout Oath contains the words, “On my honor, I will do my best To do my duty to God…” How can the organization remain true to that pledge and accept into their ranks what God calls abhorrent sin?

    (I am not “homophobic,” nor a “bigot.” There are two…

  • Bruce427

    The “minority” is not always right simply by virtue of BEING the minority.

    And the “majority” is not automatically tyrannical simply by virtue of being the majority (although Progressives like to advocate that it is — and quote John Adams — when majority-think runs counter to their agendas).

    I suspect that the Scouts will allow homosexual Scout Masters, and those who feel bound to honor their pledge will move on to Trail Life, or some similar organization to which the pledge means something.

  • Bruce427

    …people in my family who are same-sex attracted.

  • Bruce427

    “A Requiem For The Boy Scouts”

    An excellent article noting the complete absence of any moral position taken by Mr. Gates — in making his decision.

    http://www.albertmohler.com/2015/05/27/a-requiem-for-the-boy-scouts/

  • ben in oakland

    So are you without sin? Are you divorced except for adultery? have you been eating abomination shell fish?

  • Billysees

    Ben,

    ” The problem is not [out] and proud gay men, and never has been. ”

    How true.

  • Billysees

    Whatever happens in the future, we should have an assurance that ‘age of consent’ laws and the knowledge about molestation will protect everybody.

    And woe it will be for the breaker of those laws.

    And let me repeat an important observation about offenders by a post in this column by Ben in Oakland from May 29, 2015 at 5:49 pm —

    “The problem is not [out] and proud gay men, and never has been.”

  • Larry

    Actually I am equating racists with homophobes. Haters have a nasty habit of using the same playbook. Both use the same rhetoric and tactics to give their personal prejudices power which is both irrational and harmful to others.

  • Larry

    You know that the US military does not discriminate against gays anymore. The veterans groups will fall in line with that policy as well. Neither the American Legion, nor VFW have a vested interest in discriminating against gays like conservative churches do.

    In the Greater New York Council, the veteran sponsored boy scout troops have been at the forefront in outright defying the National policy.

  • Larry

    Where do I find this?

    I am an Eagle Scout, former Scout leader (relocated to a town without a local troop), and still active member of the National Eagle Scout Association. I am far more familiar with the BSA than any regular anti-gay troll who is just chiming in to give his latest allegedly religiously inspired defamation of people. My old troop and its statewide council has been defying the national policy since its inception.

    Are any of the anti-gay crowd:
    Former Boy Scouts
    Eagle Scouts
    Scout leaders?

    The last time I asked, I got no response. Evidently people completely unfamiliar with the organization feel the need to project their own ignorant bigotries on it.

  • Larry

    So Jeff, your troop is being blackmailed into supporting a discriminatory policy which is morally wrong and causes problems for the organization in terms of public support.

    Yes, the anti-gay policy has been damaging to the organization in many ways. It keeps troops from using local government facilities without raising a ruckus, it prevents support from corporate sponsors (The United Way was a huge supporter of the BSA prior to the 1990’s policy).

    Boy Scout troops faced the same problem when the BSA dropped its official segregation policy as well. You might want to look for new sponsors if the church is going to be playing such passive aggressive games with your troop. Obviously the relationship between the two is a bit dysfunctional by your description.

  • Larry

    They are right by being a group being discriminated against by the majority for no rational and secular purpose.

    Progressives like to point to the “tyranny of the majority” because they are entirely correct on the matter. Majority may rule, but the rights of the minority must be maintained.

    Avoidance of the tyranny of the majority was the underlying concept to our Bill of Rights. Placing limits on what the majority controlled government can do to its population. To keep people from using their political power to vote away the rights of those who lack such power. .

  • Larry

    Because their job is not to honor your version God, but that of the personal beliefs its members. The BSA was never meant to further your sectarian beliefs or that of its sponsors. Scouts abide by the rules of their own religion. To seek to impose those rules on others is not in its DNA. It was meant to instill citizenship as a NON-SECTARIAN ORGANIZAITON. That includes respect for all beliefs. Not every religion or church has the same bigotry against gays as your own.

    If you or your child can’t deal with the idea that an organization has to respect the beliefs of others, then the BSA was probably not really the appropriate organization for them

  • Larry

    Wow the Southern Baptists support a discriminatory position, what a surprise!

    The church founded on support of racism now stakes its claims on anti-gay bigotry.

  • ben in oakland

    Thanks, Billy. :o)

  • I was an Eagle Scout, and I was a troop leader for several years. The biggest thing that has irritated me about this debate is the fact that no one ever seems concerned that female leaders could possibly molest scouts. Considering the fact that same-sex molestation is disproportionately low, is anyone claiming that women should not serve in these capacities? Why does anyone think that a gay man would be any more inclined to molest a boy than would a straight woman?

    Yes, molestation has been and continues to be a problem. Yes, it needs to be addressed for the safety of the children. No, it is not attributed solely to gay men, so no, they should not be singled out.

  • Ben in oakland

    The problem is that none of what you have to say fits the bigot story about the threat of gay men to everything good and holy. No threat means no means to exploit gay people for power and money.

    not to mention, the pedophiles have exploited this lie for years, as I have described above.

    1) For decades, the scouts have had a molestation problem, which:

    2) for decades, they have attempted to cover up, Roman Catholic Church style. They have had this problem for decades, despite the fact that:

    3) for decades, they have banned all participation in Scouts by gay youth and gay adults as well, and:

    4) They have “combatted” the problem by preferring married-with-children, certifiable heterosexual men. Unfortunately, this has led to this:

    1) For decades, the scouts have had a molestation problem.

    Anyone who knows anything at all about child molestation knows that the evidence-free slander against gay men is simply that: evidence free slander that serves a political and…

  • I agree. As you said, the threat is not from the honest and out homosexuals–there is as much (if not more) threat from closeted, married men. My point, along the same lines, is that you can’t assume all gay men will use camping trips to molest boys and more than you can assume straight females will molest boys. Yes, that assumption is bigoted. The issue that needs to be combated is molestation, and molestation is the same issue whether the perpetrator is male or female, gay or straight. Focusing on any one group will only get us sidetracked.

  • Ben in oakland

    That’s kind of the right wing point. By blaming gay men, they deflect attention from themselves. But worse, but by blaming the people who are not responsible at all, they serve to perpetuate the problem.

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  • K

    Actually faith based organizations make up 71.5% of the total membership and leadership of the BSA. The LDS church makes up 20% of the membership and leadership al by itself. The LDS church also generates a 1/3 of the total revenue based on donations. The non religious charters are only 28% of the total membership. Without faith based support the BSA will crumble. LDS and Catholics make up almost 38% of the total membership./ Lose them and you lose the BSA. Look at the BSA website to see that I am correct on the numbers

  • FAIRTV

    The Scouts better start saving their money. The lawsuits against Gay Leaders are inevitable. It seems no one has learned anything from the Gay Priests Scandals. That has cost the Catholic Church millions.

  • K

    I think you mean “accept’ BSA has been “excepting” for a long time.

  • Nick ward

    I think it’s sad that we have to ban gays as boys out leaders because the Mormon church says so. This is wrong on on levels . I think it’s time we start to make this church pay taxes. Discrimination at its finest. I’m not gay. I do have a lot of gay friends. And yes most of them served this country with pride and honor and some died to keep you safe and free. Just because your gay didn’t make you a pedi . This is so sad to think this way. So then we need to ban women from being a Cub Scout leader and boys out leader because she will try to rape these boys. And to spread the agenda . Women today are just as evil as men now. So if you want to ban gays. Then ban women as well.

  • Nick ward

    You are right. But women in public life are seen as gods and so on. And only men can rape kids. I think we need to protest this Mormon church to have to pay taxes now. They violated every gay person in the world. .