Boy Scouts to Welcome Gay Members Starting January 1

BY SAMANTHA STAINBURN / GlobalPost

As Towleroad reported in yesterday's round-up, The Boy Scouts of America will begin accepting openly gay members on Jan. 1.

BoyscoutsIt’s a notable evolution for an organization with religious roots. Some 70 percent of scout units are sponsored by religious organizations. But BSA executives are hoping the policy change will be no big deal.

"My hope is there will be the same effect this Jan. 1 as the Y2K scare," Brad Haddock, a BSA national executive board member who chairs the policy implementation committee, told the Associated Press. "It's business as usual, nothing happens and we move forward."

Some 60 percent of the BSA’s National Council approved the change in May, and several churches have said they support the move.

The Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – scouting’s biggest sponsor – and the Roman Catholic Church have said they will continue to sponsor scout units, though the Catholic Church said it was leaving the decision of whether to participate up to individual bishops.

Some individual scout troops have chosen to leave the organization rather than go along with the new policy.

Boy Scout Troop 835 in Auburn, Washington, for example, will become the Help Northwest Youth Corps on Jan. 1, KING 5 News reported.

Its scoutmaster, Jim Brass, explained his decision to end his troop’s affiliation with the Boy Scouts: "If they announced, 'We're all going to start getting drunk,' we'd still leave. And to say we're reverent but we're going to go against something specifically God said, it doesn't sit well with me."

He said all but two of his scouts chose to leave with his group rather than join another Boy Scout troop.

He added, "I'm not homophobic. I love people. I just don't want to embrace what everybody does."

Comments

  1. Gregory in Seattle says

    “Some 70 percent of scout units are sponsored by religious organizations.”

    Keep in mind that this is pretty new, coinciding with a concerted effort in the 80s by hard-core conservative churches to take over as much of America as they could. For most of its existence, BSA troops were sponsored by public schools, police stations, fire stations and other secular and civic groups. My grandfather had been involved with Scouting since the 40s; he left in disgust in 1983 because of what churches were doing.

  2. Vint says

    “And to say we’re reverent but we’re going to go against something specifically God said, it doesn’t sit well with me.”

    Yeah, right. That’s why Boy Scout uniforms obey the Biblical prohibitions against mixing fibers…not. (Ignore that polyester/wool uniform shirt…)

    Picking and choosing what to be exorcised about is the basis of the bigotry of fundamentalists, and the Boy Scouts are a part of it.

  3. anon says

    Actually, competing “scouting” organizations will end up being a good thing since the BSA has gotten overly praised for the past 100 years for what is essentially a frontier militia training organization that enables bullies to lord over younger teenage boys. The uniforms haven’t changed from day one and are a throwback to the plains wars against Native Americans.

  4. terry says

    Scouting won’t change. Few kids will feel comfortable coming out and most will do what i did, suck off each other in the tent after dark and never mention it in the daylight. Scouting’s closet is almost as large as that of Christian churches.

  5. Carl says

    Not good enough ! What kind of message will they be sending the Boys that are Gay and allowed to be a Scout knowing that as a Gay adult male he won’t be good enough !!!! Bad decision, very bad.

  6. Rob says

    Note to Jim Brass: Your Evangelical Christian God isn’t even remotely the only one recognized by the BSA. Might want to review your Scoutmaster materials again there.

  7. Bernie says

    of course he loves people! You have to wonder what all the hub bub is about in letting gay boys in the boy scouts…….Are 10 year old boys sexually aware!?!??!

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