US Boy Scouts may admit openly gay youth

A proposal by the Boy Scouts of America to reverse its ban on openly gay members is causing a dilemma for the Christian churches that sponsor almost 70 per cent of its troops.

Of the 100,000 Scout units across the nation, 37,882 are Mormon, 11,078 are Methodist and 8570 are Catholic. And the organisation still includes “my duty to God” in its oath.

The National Catholic Committee on Scouting has expressed its objections to the proposed change and urged Catholics who participate in Scouting to voice their opposition to local Scout councils.

According to Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention executive committee, the Scouts are “wilting under pressure from some of their corporate sponsors”.

The Human Rights Campaign, a gay advocacy organisation, has warned corporate sponsors it would downgrade their “non-discrimination ratings” if they continued to give money to the Scouts.

Already some of the largest donors — Intel, Merck and UPS — have stopped giving.

The proposal, to be voted on in late May, would allow membership to openly gay youth, but retain the current national prohibition of openly gay men serving as adult troop leaders. Local units could set their own rules, but could face legal challenges.

In 2000 the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Scouts could ban active homosexuals because their lifestyle conflicted with the core mission of the Scouts, which was imparting values.

Numerous pro-family groups, including Concerned Women for America, Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute and Family Research Council, have urged the Scouts to continue their current policy. They argue that it helps to protect scouts from sexual abuse and aligns with the group’s founding morals.

Last year, the Scouts were roiled by a sexual-abuse scandal following the revelation of secret files documenting the abuse of boys by their leaders between 1965 and 1985.


Catholic News Agency

National Catholic Register

Christian Post

Image: Patheos

Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , , , ,