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Institute on Religion and Democracy Cross

“Most who are pressuring the Boy Scouts of America do not care about the organization. It is just another casualty in their culture war.”
-Bart Gingerich, IRD

Washington, DC—Proposed changes to the Boy Scouts of America’s existing policy barring homosexuals from Scout leadership positions have met with significantly differing responses from U.S. churches. Most Boy Scout troops in the U.S. are hosted by churches.

The change faces opposition within the Scouting community and on the grassroots level. Families threaten to leave the program entirely. Churches, which support BSA through donations and their facilities, have weighed in as well. President and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee Frank Page has expressed dismay, asserting that the Boy Scouts of America is “wilting under pressure from some of their corporate sponsors…” The Assemblies of God said they were “saddened and disappointed” about the proposed changes. The National Catholic Committee on Scouting opposes the new proposed policy.

Sadly, officials of the United Methodist Church Board of Church and Society and United Methodist Men both offered support for the proposed new scout policy, which would allow local groups to determine their own stance on homosexuality. Neither church agency mentioned that the United Methodist Book of Discipline calls homosexual practice “incompatible with Christian teaching.”

IRD Researcher and Eagle Scout Bart Gingerich commented:

“BSA policy forbidding openly gay leaders, volunteers, and scouts reflects the opinion of the vast majority of active parents and Scouting leadership. As an Eagle Scout I was shocked and saddened to hear the announcement that the Boy Scouts were considering a change to this longstanding standard.

“The LGBT champions on corporate boards pressuring the Boy Scouts have no love for the organization. If the organization keeps its current standards, it loses major corporate donors. If the Scouts change their policy, then they are going to lose grassroots participation via facilities, membership, and funds from many families and churches. Either way the organization is hurt badly.

“For over a century now, the Boy Scouts have sacrificially given men and boys impressive skill sets, leadership training, outdoors experience, and fond memories. Almost every community in the United States has been blessed by service projects carried out by diligent Scouts. Now a new generation of iconoclasts seeks to destroy this heritage in their crusade against all things patriotic, faith-based and masculine.

“Most who are pressuring the Boy Scouts of America do not care about the organization. It is just another casualty in their culture war.”