Update: Ken Klukowski is reporting at Breitbart.com that the proposed resolution is an attempt by a faction within the leadership of Boy Scouts of America to scuttle the whole organization and open it up to homosexuals of all ages. According to his legal analysis, the wording of the resolution is so bad that it will not stand a legal challenge and will actually forfeit the First Amendment rights recognized by the Supreme Court in 2000. His analysis can be found here. Klukowski is also reporting that, contrary to what the Executive National Committee claimed in their press release, 61% of Scouting families opposed the change in policy.
The Boy Scouts of America have been under attack from homosexual rights groups for almost two decades. In 2000 the “Supreme Court of the United States, in the case of Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, 530 U.S. 640 (2000), recognized the First Amendment right of the BSA to select its leaders and members based upon the assertion by the BSA that homosexual activity was inconsistent with the Scout Oath and Law.” Refusing to abide by the Supreme Court ruling, leftist organization and even local and state governments controlled by the left have continued to harass the Boy Scouts and pressure it into reversing its stance on homosexuality. That pressure and intimidation has begun to bear fruit.
In a letter dated April 19, 2013, the Executive National Committee of the Boy Scouts of America announced its decision to yield to the homosexual agenda and move to modify its membership policy. The proposed changes, embodied in a new “Membership Standards Resolution,” is set for a vote in May 2013.
In May, the National Executive Committee is asking its approximately 1,400 voting members to consider a proposed resolution that would remove the restriction denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone and would maintain the current membership policy for all adult leaders of the Boy Scouts of America. The resolution also reinforces that Scouting is a youth program and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting.
The public announcement, the text of the letter, and the new Membership Standards Resolution can be found at Boy Scouts of America Membership Standards Review.
The new Membership Standards Resolution is a wonder of moral double-speak.
It begins with a firm declaration that “it is the mission of the Boy Scouts of America to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.” As noted in the resolution, the Scout Oath begins by calling its members “to do my duty to God.” The resolution references that specific phrase either directly or indirectly at least a dozen times in less than a page and a half of text. It then ends with a new “membership standard” that embraces homosexuality as an ethical and moral choice that does not contradict one’s duty to God. Homosexuality – at least among its youth members – is now acceptable to the Executive National Committee of the Boy Scouts.
Youth membership in the Boy Scouts of America is open to all youth who meet the specific membership requirements to join the Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, Sea Scout, and Venturing programs. Membership in any program of the Boy Scouts of America requires the youth member to (a) subscribe to and abide by the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law, (b) subscribe to and abide by the precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle (duty to God), and (c) demonstrate behavior that exemplifies the highest level of good conduct and respect for others and is consistent at all times with the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law. No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.
In addition to the complete reversal of its position on membership – a position argued before the Supreme Court of the United States, reaffirmed as recently as last year, and defended by the BSA until only recently – the new “Membership Standard Resolution” raises more questions and potential issues than it resolves.
First, it argues, as noted above, that homosexuality (labeled as “sexual orientation or preference”) is acceptable among the youth members. However, the BSA promises to maintain its prohibition against adults who identify themselves as homosexuals from becoming members and leaders within the organization. The glaring contradiction is designed to reassure the National Voting Members that the slippery slope on which they are about to step is not really a slippery slope. Does anyone seriously believe that once the BSA stance on homosexuality begins to shift that the prohibition against adult homosexual members will last? According to Reuters, GLADD and others on the left have already begun to denounce the resolution and push for full acceptance.
Second, the proposed changes will not resolve the issue but instead open the BSA to further litigation and harassment. The resolution states that “No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.” Does that open the door to transgender scouting? Can “boys” trapped in the body of girls be denied membership? What about boys whose parents decide to raise them as girls?
Third, in the midst of the logical absurdity called the “Membership Standards Resolution,” the BSA suddenly claims neutrality on social issues. The actual text reads:
Whereas, the Boy Scouts of America does not have an agenda on the matter of sexual orientation, and resolving this complex issue is not the role of the organization, nor may any member use Scouting to promote or advance any social or political position or agenda;
How can an organization committed to preparing “young people to make ethical and moral choices” and instilling social values like “duty to God and my country” and keeping oneself “mentally awake, and morally straight” suddenly claim that the promotion of social positions is forbidden? How will that impact the different faith traditions that the BSA has allowed to define what “duty to God” actually means? Will the Baptist Church, the Mormon Church, the Jewish Synagogue, or the Islamic Mosque now be forced to accept homosexual youth into the BSA troops that it sponsors? According to the BSA, faith groups who sponsor a BSA troop must accept homosexual youth into their troops. Will those organizations now have to be silent on the issue of homosexuality since to speak out against it will promote a social position?
The Boy Scouts of America have been hammered by the left. They have been harassed by liberal politicians, sued by homosexual activists, and smeared by the main stream media. Financial support has suffered as the left has attacked their donor base and major contributors. The current “Membership Standards Resolution” is an attempt to end those attacks. It will not.
In an attempt to justify their abandonment of principle, the Executive National Committee touts that for the past two months it has “embarked on the most comprehensive listening exercise in its history….” Two months is a long time for a fruit fly but it is a rather short amount of time for a 103 year old organization to abandon its principles. Nor was I aware that principles were determined by “listening” to the popular culture.
If the National Voting Members adopt the new “Membership Standards Resolution” in May, it will mark the demise of a once great organization. The national leadership of the BSA is currently afraid to take a firm stand on homosexuality because it will cost them in the court of public opinion. They have trimmed their sails to the prevailing winds of the homosexual movement. They crave popular acceptance over eternal significance. They have abandoned the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. It is up to the National Voting Members and to the Scouts and Scout Leaders – both present and past – to remain true and take a stand on principle. The Boy Scouts of America is a trust passed down through the generations starting with Robert Baden-Powell (Founder of the Scouting Movement) and Theodore Roosevelt (Honorary Vice-President in 1911). Let us remain true to that legacy.