Boy Scouts Kick Out Church, Revoke Its Charter for Supporting Openly Gay Scout Leader

Geoffrey_mcgrath

In early April we reported on openly gay Seattle scoutmaster Geoffrey McGrath, who was the first Scoutmaster ousted from his troop for being gay under new rules created last year. Rainier Beach United Methodist Church, which charters McGrath’s troop, however, stood by him, and continued to allow him to lead the Scouts.

McgrathNow the BSA is responding by kicking out the church and revoking its charter, GLAAD reports:

In a letter dated April 17, Steven P. McGowan of the Boy Scouts of America's General Council notified the Rainier Beach United Methodist Church that its charter would be revoked:

"As you are aware, the policy of the Boy Scouts of America does not allow open or avowed homosexuals to serve as adult volunteer leaders […] Nevertheless, Rainier Beach United Methodist Church has stated that it will not remove [McGrath] as a leader and will continue to allow him to serve as an adult leader in violation of the charter agreement and the policies of the Boy Scouts of America. As a result of this refusal to comply with the policies, guidelines, rules, and regulations of the Boy Scouts of America, Rainer Beach United Methodist Church is hereby advised that it is no longer an authorized chartered organization and may no longer use the Scouting program or any of its registered marks or brands."

"That the Boy Scouts of America would punish a church and the young people of Troop 98 because the church's core values emphasize fairness and equality for all of God's children is simply unconscionable," said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. "The fact that the Boy Scouts of America chose Easter weekend to once again blatantly discriminate against gay and lesbian people, as well as the churches that support them, flies in the face of the values of Scouting and sends a hurtful message to youth."

"As a Reconciling Congregation, it's important to us that we are open to all people," said Rainier Beach United Methodist Church Pastor Monica Corsaro. "It's a part of our values that the spirit of inclusion is also reflected in the Boy Scout Troop we charter. The congregation stands with Geoff, because his work with this Troop reflects the spirit and the values of Rainier Beach United Methodist Church. In light of the BSA's decision to infringe on our religious liberties, sending us such discriminatory communication on Good Friday, we have acquired legal council to assess our options."

39 Washington lawmakers have signed a letter to the BSA expressing disappointment with their actions.

Comments

  1. Sean says

    So much for supporting the American value of religious freedom Boy Scouts “of” America. Patriot FAIL.

  2. Sean says

    So much for supporting the American value of religious freedom Boy Scouts “of” America. Patriot FAIL.

  3. woody says

    When this policy goes, which will be soon, the Boy Scouts of America will remember this as an ugly piece of its history. They should have done the right thing and not enforced the policy.

  4. woody says

    When this policy goes, which will be soon, the Boy Scouts of America will remember this as an ugly piece of its history. They should have done the right thing and not enforced the policy.

  5. Tom says

    What if they are Bi? Or what if they aren’t out yet? Talk about institutionalized closet!

  6. Tom says

    What if they are Bi? Or what if they aren’t out yet? Talk about institutionalized closet!

  7. David says

    sorry for being repetitive. indications were that my msg was not posted. apparently it was.

  8. rjinva says

    Now this is the sort of thing that Christians who actually follow the teachings of JC should be doing. Good for the chruch – shame on the BSA

  9. JJ says

    Why are people so desperate to belong to a club that so offends their morals? It reminds me of that joke from Annie Hall:

    “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.”

    “Yeah, I know, and such small portions.”

  10. MikeBoston says

    I think Woody is right that this policy will fall – but not before more Scout leaders are dismissed and shamed; and kids will miss out by having no leaders or second rate leaders.

    This instance is somewhat unique where the sponsoring church is supporting a gay leader. The BSA is taking a chance by dumping that church – others may see it as interference in a religious institution. I can smell the irony.

  11. MikeBoston says

    I think Woody is right that this policy will fall – but not before more Scout leaders are dismissed and shamed; and kids will miss out by having no leaders or second rate leaders.

    This instance is somewhat unique where the sponsoring church is supporting a gay leader. The BSA is taking a chance by dumping that church – others may see it as interference in a religious institution. I can smell the irony.

  12. MikeBoston says

    I think Woody is right that this policy will fall – but not before more Scout leaders are dismissed and shamed; and kids will miss out by having no leaders or second rate leaders.

    This instance is somewhat unique where the sponsoring church is supporting a gay leader. The BSA is taking a chance by dumping that church – others may see it as interference in a religious institution. I can smell the irony.

  13. MikeBoston says

    I think Woody is right that this policy will fall – but not before more Scout leaders are dismissed and shamed; and kids will miss out by having no leaders or second rate leaders.

    This instance is somewhat unique where the sponsoring church is supporting a gay leader. The BSA is taking a chance by dumping that church – others may see it as interference in a religious institution. I can smell the irony.

  14. MikeBoston says

    I think Woody is right that this policy will fall – but not before more Scout leaders are dismissed and shamed; and kids will miss out by having no leaders or second rate leaders.

    This instance is somewhat unique where the sponsoring church is supporting a gay leader. The BSA is taking a chance by dumping that church – others may see it as interference in a religious institution. I can smell the irony.

  15. MikeBoston says

    I think Woody is right that this policy will fall – but not before more Scout leaders are dismissed and shamed; and kids will miss out by having no leaders or second rate leaders.

    This instance is somewhat unique where the sponsoring church is supporting a gay leader. The BSA is taking a chance by dumping that church – others may see it as interference in a religious institution. I can smell the irony.

  16. MikeBoston says

    I think Woody is right that this policy will fall – but not before more Scout leaders are dismissed and shamed; and kids will miss out by having no leaders or second rate leaders.

    This instance is somewhat unique where the sponsoring church is supporting a gay leader. The BSA is taking a chance by dumping that church – others may see it as interference in a religious institution. I can smell the irony.

  17. JJ says

    Why are people so desperate to belong to a club that so offends their morals? It reminds me of that joke from Annie Hall:

    “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.”

    “Yeah, I know, and such small portions.”

  18. Stan D says

    Here’s a resource for you:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boy_Scouts_of_America_membership_controversies

    The Scoutingforall.org mentioned in above comments appears to be focused on trying to change BSA policy. It appears to me that ship has already sailed. The Supreme Court has already established their right to be exclusionary, and based on information in the Wikipedia article referenced in this comment, it would seem that efforts to change BSA policy will be as much an exercise in futility as trying to win hearts and minds at Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council.

    I suppose setting up the infrastructure for a new all-inclusive scouting organization would take great effort and expense ( I don’t really know ), but it would appear that is what will need to be done if an all-inclusive scouting organization is to be achieved.

  19. Stan D says

    Here’s a resource for you:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boy_Scouts_of_America_membership_controversies

    The Scoutingforall.org mentioned in above comments appears to be focused on trying to change BSA policy. It appears to me that ship has already sailed. The Supreme Court has already established their right to be exclusionary, and based on information in the Wikipedia article referenced in this comment, it would seem that efforts to change BSA policy will be as much an exercise in futility as trying to win hearts and minds at Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council.

    I suppose setting up the infrastructure for a new all-inclusive scouting organization would take great effort and expense ( I don’t really know ), but it would appear that is what will need to be done if an all-inclusive scouting organization is to be achieved.

  20. Kevin says

    “the policy of the Boy Scouts of America does not allow open or avowed homosexuals to serve as adult volunteer leaders.”

    So apparently they are perfectly fine with closeted and disavowed homosexuals?

  21. Kevin says

    “the policy of the Boy Scouts of America does not allow open or avowed homosexuals to serve as adult volunteer leaders.”

    So apparently they are perfectly fine with closeted and disavowed homosexuals?

  22. Joel says

    I do not know about the experience of others, but more than a few gay people I have met look back fondly to Scouting overnights for their first sexual experience. And not with the leader – just another Scout.

  23. Joel says

    I do not know about the experience of others, but more than a few gay people I have met look back fondly to Scouting overnights for their first sexual experience. And not with the leader – just another Scout.

  24. EchtKultig says

    This whole thing is such a farce.
    A close female friend, who likes to date “all american” type guys, told me back when the initial ‘gays in the scouts’ issue started 10 years ago that every guy she knew who had been in the Scouts told stories of every troup/cluster/whatever having at least one known “bad apple” who was an adult leader with a reputation for prepositioning boys. I bet every one of them identified as straight and that many of them were married. Besides Catholic priests, most notorious pedophiles have been apparently heterosexual and leading heteronormative lives. Seriously, does ANYONE know of a normal, openly gay person who actually was a known pedophile? (which doesn’t mean screwing around with an aspiring 16 year old actor who sought you out because you were a big deal in Hollywood…even though that is also unethical) I believe Jeffrey Dahmer claimed to be gay, but is not known to have any normal gay relationships. (i.e., ones where he wasn’t eating them and they weren’t teens!) And I vaguely remember a case of a couple gay guys in Alabama or Louisiana, or something, that were abusing children, I think one even died. Of course the right-wing echo chamber tried to make hay of it at the time…but I mean, for crying out loud, that’s probably far more a sign of how screwed up the deep south is. One can imagine they were both abused and thought that was the reason they were gay, or were just sociopaths working together and conflating their pathology with their sexuality. Other than that?

  25. EchtKultig says

    This whole thing is such a farce.
    A close female friend, who likes to date “all american” type guys, told me back when the initial ‘gays in the scouts’ issue started 10 years ago that every guy she knew who had been in the Scouts told stories of every troup/cluster/whatever having at least one known “bad apple” who was an adult leader with a reputation for prepositioning boys. I bet every one of them identified as straight and that many of them were married. Besides Catholic priests, most notorious pedophiles have been apparently heterosexual and leading heteronormative lives. Seriously, does ANYONE know of a normal, openly gay person who actually was a known pedophile? (which doesn’t mean screwing around with an aspiring 16 year old actor who sought you out because you were a big deal in Hollywood…even though that is also unethical) I believe Jeffrey Dahmer claimed to be gay, but is not known to have any normal gay relationships. (i.e., ones where he wasn’t eating them and they weren’t teens!) And I vaguely remember a case of a couple gay guys in Alabama or Louisiana, or something, that were abusing children, I think one even died. Of course the right-wing echo chamber tried to make hay of it at the time…but I mean, for crying out loud, that’s probably far more a sign of how screwed up the deep south is. One can imagine they were both abused and thought that was the reason they were gay, or were just sociopaths working together and conflating their pathology with their sexuality. Other than that?

  26. bob says

    for those who have fought so hard to recognize the rights of homosexuals to associate under the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution, guess what?

    The same rights apply to all private groups including the Boy Scouts of America. They have the right to assemble, associate and set their own rules of association.

    The day the Boy Scouts of America are forced by the rest of us to change their membership rules to bend to the desires of the majority, we will have become a fascist country. While I hope this day never arrives, we are rapidly approaching it.

  27. Bill says

    @bob: the “rest of us” are not compelled in any way to support the Boy Scouts of America. When an organization is stuck with brain-dead management, sensible people take their business elsewhere.

    If people decide to bail out of the Boy Scouts of America and join “Scouting for All” or some other organization, or just do their own thing, that is well within their rights and there is nothing “fascist” about exercising those rights.