After reviewing the Membership Standards Resolution published on Friday by the National Executive Committee of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), More Light Presbyterians calls on the BSA to end homophobia in scouting by welcoming both youth members and adult leaders in the future policy.
The proposed Membership Standards Resolution to be voted on in May reads, “No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone,” but the organization “will maintain the current membership policy for all adult leaders.”
Under the proposed standards, when youth members become adults, even if they rank as Eagle Scouts, they will be subject to discrimination in the BSA. The research conducted by the BSA that resulted in this resolution documents an overwhelming shift in support of LGBTQ people in the BSA. Experts in youth safety and role modeling were consulted and concluded:
- “The nearly universal opinion among sexual abuse authorities is that same-sex sexual interest or same-sex sexual experience, either in adults or youth, is NOT a risk factor for sexually abusing children.”
- In regard to role modeling: “Most of the research on the effect on children of associating with self-identified homosexual adults has been done about homosexual parents. The clear conclusion from this research is that there appear to be no effects on children’s adjustment, mental health or sexual orientation.”
The compromised Membership Standards Resolution is a concession to religious interests rooted in homophobia. As the New York Times states, “In private, Boy Scout officials also received pressure from religious groups to keep their longstanding policy. Groups including the Mormon Church and the Roman Catholic Church sponsor a large and growing share of scout troops around the country.”
What Can We Do Now?
It is important that people of faith call the Boy Scouts of America and ask them to end homophobia in scouting once and for all. You can make a difference today by calling your local council. Scouts for Equality has made this easy at their take action page:
Scouts for Equality is a Boy Scouts of America alumni association dedicated to ending the BSA’s ban on gay members and leaders. “As Scouts, we believe discrimination goes against the values our movement teaches us and has no place in Scouting’s future.”