Boy Scouts

(Photo credit: LA Times)

By Mark Tooley (@MarkDTooley)

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) seemed to have stepped back from overturning their policy against homosexuality.  Today’s (Wednesday, February 6) executive board meeting deferred any decision until the BSA’s National Council, with about 1,400 voting members, meets in May.

The postponement may have been at least partly prompted by the BSA’s Religious Relationships Task Force, which on February 4 unanimously asked BSA to delay any policy change pending more participation from the religious groups that host Boy Scouts.  Present at that meeting and supporting its decision was Larry Coppock, United Methodist Men’s national director of Scouting ministries. Seventy percent of Scout units are sponsored by churches and religious groups. One million of 2.7 million Scouts belong to units hosted by the three largest church sponsors:  Mormon, United Methodist and Roman Catholic.

Coppock told United Methodist News Service that BSA leadership would listen to United Methodists, and Coppock encouraged church members to contact BSA with their views. Although most of the denominations involved in Scouting oppose homosexual practice, BSA is under pressure by GLBTQ friendly corporations to end BSA’s prohibition on homosexuality. Two of BSA’s executive board members are corporate executives on record opposing the BSA’s current policy. The more broadly based National Council is likely to be friendlier to the current stance.

Meanwhile, Larry Hollon, head of United Methodist Communications, blogged in favor of BSA’s accepting homosexuality.  “The decision the leaders of Boy Scouts of America are considering is not a radical leap forward,” he wrote.  “It’s a modest half-step toward inclusion. But it’s one that should be supported and affirmed, for the sake of the children, boys and young men for whom Scouting is a helpful guide to a better adulthood.”

Hollon also suggested that a more GLBTQ friendly Boy Scouts might broaden its base:  “While attention is focused on churches that might leave Scouting if the ban is lifted, it’s also possible that churches that have not sponsored troops because of the ban might reconsider and make Scouting even more inclusive.”

In a similar vein, the ultra-liberal United Church of Christ, on Facebook, teasingly posted a rainbow banner of welcome to BSA, saying:  “Though the Boy Scouts of America moved their policy decision on gay scouts and leaders until their national meeting in May, staff from the UCC Church House showed their support for ALL Scouts during today’s chapel.”

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The LGBTQ friendly United Church of Christ has lost 50 percent of its membership over the last 47 years.

Canadian Scouts overturned its policy against homosexuality in 1998 and lost 57 percent of its membership in five years.  Its total membership loss over the last 15 years has been two thirds, having sunk from 300,000 members to just over 100,000 members.


21 Responses to After Churches Speak, Boy Scouts Defer Vote on Homosexuality

  1. Jim says:

    I think we can honestly say the decision has been made, all that is left is the timing. This is obvious in the statements from the leadership.

    The only way this dialectic will not pay out is if the leadership is purged by local affiliates. But I do not see that happening.

    When the discussion comes around once again in May, the Hegelian ( er, Fichtean) dialectic will cause many folks to say, “Hmmm. I thought the Boy Scouts already changed their policy — no issue here.”

  2. eMatters says:

    Militant homosexuals camping with boys. What could go wrong?

    Seriously, where is the same push for single guys to camp in tents or rooms with Girl Scouts?

    Follow the money. The LGBT lobby has pressured corporations not to donate to the “bigoted” Boy Scouts (I saw it first hand at HP) and the big money makers at the BSA may fold on their principles to keep the $$ flowing. But don’t think the lobby will forgive the BSA, even if they cave. They will try to destroy them, just like Planned Parenthood went scorched earth on the Komen Foundation.

  3. WKH says:

    I agree eMatters. If the BSA gives in, then what. They are currently proposing to allow the local units to dermine leader and membership requirements. The only thing is that like Hollon, activist groups don’t think this is enough. They want full inclusion. But what would full inclusion entail? In addition to membership, surely it would also require “sensitivity” training at all levels. And then what? Athiest groups are waiting in the wings for a break in the BSA armor so that they can then move to have God removed from the BSA program. Where will it end once the giving in begins?

    This change would be the downfall of the BSA. I know that the sponsors of the three troups/packs in my area would not renew their charter if this change takes place. I think the board put this off because charter renewals come up in a few weeks and they want to get past this in hope that with charters renewed by May, units will not have charter renewals to hold over the board’s head. The Scouts need to stand firm on their current policy and remove the two board members intent on changing the Scouts from within.

  4. dover1952 says:

    Yes, you folks are heading for a huge loss on this LGBT front. In your anti-sin and morality campaigns, as if that is what the Christian faith is all about and nothing else, it might help more if you were to focus on other areas of sin—say maybe people who are too attached to money and material possessions—but then again—I bet that is one of those good ole, downhome sins that you depend upon to keep up your nice American lifetsyle while kids go hungry in foreign countries.

    There are so many sins out there—oh so many—and you guys are like stuck in just two of them as if they were the whole world.

    • Jeremy Baines says:

      So your definition of a Real Christian is a gay man living under a bridge?

      • Adrian C says:

        No, to a liberal a Real Christian would be a gay man on food stamps, married to another man in an Episcopal cathedral by a transgender bishop, followed by a trip to the Mexican border where they pass out leaflets to illegals, telling them how to sign up for welfare benefits.On the trip down, they run over some Boy Scouts and some people protesting at an abortion clinic. If that isn’t Christianity, what is?

    • Mark says:

      Hey Dover: how many foreign mission trips have you been on?

    • eMatters says:

      What a load of straw! You act as if we brought up this topic to pick on gays. Tell me again who is aggressively working to take money away from people who think it is a bad idea to have militant gays camp with young boys?

      And tell me again which church group is supporting them?

      If you really love your neighbor, you’ll want to protect him. And we want to protect these boys and a fine institution from the LGBTQX lobby.

  5. I think that as more large and public groups “accept” homosexuality, the more homosexuality will be viewed as “accepted” by the population, then it’s more likely the government will move to make every organization accept homosexuality by law.

  6. Sandy N says:

    There is a creepy Twilight Zone feel to this whole issue. In a world that made sense, wouldn’t Christian churches be backing the Scouts 100 percent? I mean, other than churches, what other institutions oppose the hypersexualization of the culture?

    Also, what kind of pathetic excuse for parents would put their son into this situation? Is the real goal of the activists to just totally destroy the BSA? Because I can’t imagine sending any kid of mind off on a campout with a gay scoutmaster, I don’t care if he passed a criminal background check and and was taking blood pressure medication. I know they’re not all pedophiles, but who would think it’s worth the risk? males attracted to males should not have little boys in their custody, and I wish these goofy congregations could grasp that fact. Don’t any of these people have kids of their own?

    • I want to be non-confrontational here, so please don’t think I’m trying to attack you, but will you honestly consider a few things that I have to say? I think there is a lot of misunderstanding about homosexuals vs. pedophiles. Most pedophiles, even those that molest boys, are not homosexuals. That might seem like a stretch and I don’t blame you for being skeptical, so bear with me for a second.

      Psychologists have realized that they have to draw a distinction between adult attractions and child attractions because the two just don’t seem to correlate very strongly. Statistics show that most men who molest boys are /heterosexual/ in their adult relationships. Their personal testimonies indicate that they are attracted to the feminine aspects of children (soft features, lack of body hair, etc), and almost all of them claim that they have no homosexual feelings. Even if they are lying, we have to recognize that a man who has homosexual relationships with /adults/ is not actually more likely to have homosexual relationships with children. Statistics indicate that people who molest boys OR girls are enormously more likely to have heterosexual relationships with adults. Thus, banning men who admit an attraction to /adult/ men simply won’t do anything to protect children from pedophiles. It’s barking up the wrong tree, so-to-speak. I don’t think this has anything to do with heterosexuality being good or bad or homosexuality being good or bad… it’s simply the facts.

      As for your statement that “males attracted to males shouldn’t have children in their custody”… my question is why? Women are left in the care of male children all the time in a daycare/babysitting setting, and men are left in the care of female children in a daycare/babysitting setting as well. We presume that most of them are probably heterosexual, but we don’t assume that they are inherently unsafe around children of the opposite sex. We interview them and do background checks, sure, but their sexuality does not make them a menace. It should be no different for homosexuals. By all means, do background checks to try to ensure the safety of the children, but being attracted to one or the other 50% of the population does not make someone a menace to children. Since we’ve already discussed that men who admit to being homosexual with adults are much more unlikely to molest children than men who admit to be heterosexual with adults, I can’t see any other reason to fear for your child should they be in a scout troop with a gay man. If you still have moral objections to gay people, I can’t change that. But I hope this clears up the fears that allowing gay men into BSA would pose a physical danger to the children. All the best!

  7. Tim Vernon says:

    The Chicago Tribune ran an article this week on a UCC church near Chicago that urges its members to protest the Scouts’ ban. “Our position is that LGBT folks, whether they’re minors or adults, have a role to play in our society.” I’d love to ask them how many minors fit into the transgender category. For that matter, how many lesbian minors want to join the Scouts?

    “One same-sex couple with a history of Scouting in their family refuses to let their son join the organization until the gay ban is changed.” Can you read that without laughing? I’m still puzzled about any same-sex couple referring to “their” child, a rather obvious biological impossibility.

    BTW, this particular congregation does not even host a Scout troop, which is good news in itself, but raises the question Don’t you church members have better things to do than stick your nose in other churches’ business, or the Scouts’ business, since you have no actual connection with them?

    • galacticexplorer says:

      With all due respect, most parents that adopt or have step-children aren’t hesitant to call them “their” child. I think any decent adopting parent or step-parent would defend to the death their right to call that child their own… that is true love. If they didn’t, I’d see that as a sign that they are an unfit parent… biological origin is not more important than the family bond that truly makes a child yours. You may disagree with their lifestyle, but that’s no reason to sneer at their family bond with /their/ children. That is just being cruel.

      • Tim Vernon says:

        I don’t recall “sneering” at anyone, and I have nothing against adoption, I have an aunt and uncle who adopted 3 kids, known as “their” kids. However, when a man and woman introduce a kid as “our” child, it’s different than when 2 men or 2 women do the same, for the obvious reason that, until the past 20 years, the phrase “man, woman, and child” was considered normative, whether the child was biological, adopted, step, or whatever. I know where you’re coming from, as the word “normal” makes liberals’ blood pressure rise. Children all face difficulties, but I can well magine how hard it must be for a child growing up referring to “my two dads” or “my two moms, or whatever euphemisms they concoct, maybe because we all know deep down that every human being has a genetic connection to only two people, known as (pardon my sounding reactionary) “father” and “mother.” Liberals have this conviction that “blood” doesn’t really matter, but we all know it does, as in studies of identical twins brought up in different locales.

        “That is just being cruel.” To whom? I haven’t seen any indication that a lot of children of same-sex “couples” are reading these articles and comments. I have to keep reminding myself that the world is full of Easily Offended People, but I just don’t think being mute is a good option for me.

  8. galacticexplorer says:

    Tim, have you already blocked me from replying? I can’t understand why you’d be afraid of my response. Here is all I would have said:

    When I said “sneering” I meant your statement that it “makes you laugh”. Perhaps sneering was not what you intended… that’s just how it came off. One day I intend to adopt children of my own, and seeing Christians “laughing” at the idea that I could love a child, to me, is shocking and cruel. You might not think so, but probably you have never had people laugh at the very idea that you could love a child as your own (unless I’m mistaken?). I don’t think that makes me Easily Offended, but just human. Obviously, you are entitled to your opinion and I can’t change it nor would I ever ask you to be “mute”. Rather, I wanted to call some attention to the fact that your words might be coming off as much more cruel and un-called-for than you realize and, for the sake of the peace on both sides of this ideological war-zone, we would do well to learn how the other side sees us and work to understand each other instead of insulting each other. I wish you all the best.

    • Mark says:

      No one is “laughing” at the idea that you could love a child. That’s another straw-man argument thrown out to gain sympathy.

      The concern is that the child be given the best chance to grow up with a mother and father, which history/biology/natural law/religious traditons/etc. have shown is the best alternative.

      If you truly love children you want them to grow up in the best circumstances possible, even if you have to exclude yourself from those circumstances.

      • galacticexplorer says:

        I was replying to Tim, below, regarding the “laughing” comment, so no, this is not a straw man. I’m not trying to start an argument about parenting but rather I am discussing the way that people present themselves.

    • Mark says:

      Tim can speak for himself, but I don’t think he was laughing at the idea that a G/L person could love a child.

  9. Fred Ayers says:

    It makes sense that Larry Coppock spoke to this issue, representing United Methodists, since he is the United Methodist Men’s national director of Scouting ministries. But by what right and under whose authority is Larry Hollon, the head of United Methodist Communications, weighing in on this issue?

    You can read Hollon’s bio sketch on the Huffington Post, for which he is a contributor. According to that bio, it appears that his role is directing advertising campaigns that promote the United Methodist Church, not that of an official spokesman for the denomination. So who speaks for United Methodists? And if Hollon is going to express opinions like this on behalf of the UMC–opinions that contradict their national director of Scouting ministries–is the UMC going to issue a statement backing his position, or are they going to apologize for an individual like this passing off his own opinions as though they were those of the denomination?

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