Late next week, May 22-24, the Boy Scouts of American will hold their National Annual Meeting in Grapevine, Texas. The main item on the agenda is the new Membership Standards Resolution that will overturn the current BSA policy against homosexual members and allow youths who identify as homosexual to become members. The ban on adult homosexuals will remain in place for now.
One of the major concerns about the new Membership Standards Resolution is the impact that it will have on the "Chartered Organizations" that actually "own and operate" the local Scouting units. According to the BSA website, chartered organizations "own and operate" over 100,000 Scouting units. Over 70% of all those units are "chartered to faith-based organizations" who are tasked with, among other things, providing "quality leadership" for their Scout unit. Many of these chartered organizations, like the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist, have taken a firm stand in support of the Biblical view against homosexuality.
The new Membership Standards Resolution would severely restrict the ability of these organizations to share their social views on marriage, the family, sexuality, etc. Part of the new resolution reads as follows:
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;
The new resolution appears to contradict the Boy Scouts' own Declaration of Religious Principle.
Section 1. Declaration of Religious Principle, clause 1. The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. In the first part of the Scout Oath or Promise the member declares, “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law.” The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship and are wholesome precepts in the education of the growing members. No matter what the religious faith of the members may be, this fundamental need of good citizenship should be kept before them. The Boy Scouts of America, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and the organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life.
Should the new Membership Standards Resolution pass, faith-based organizations that "own and operate" a Scouting unit will no longer be able to "give definite attention to religious life" because to do so will violate the injunction not "to promote or advance any social ... position or agenda." Christian organizations that adhere to the Biblical definition of marriage, the family, sexuality,etc..., will no longer be able to teach those social values because it constitutes the newly prohibited "social position." The resolution essential places a gag order on the teaching of religious social doctrines, which the BSA now considers out of bounds.
Ironically, the new Membership Standards Resolution acknowledges that the gag order comes at just the point in life when "youth are still developing, learning about themselves and who they are, developing their sense of right and wrong, and understanding their duty to God to live a moral life." In other words, just at the point in time when youth are dealing with the complex issues of sexuality and morality, making decisions that will impact the course of their entire life, faith-based organizations must go silent.
The new Membership Standards Resolution will not end the controversy over the traditional BSA stance on homosexuality. Liberal groups and homosexual activists like GLAAD have already committed publicly to pushing the BSA to full acceptance of homosexuality. All the new resolution does is places a gag order on those faith-based organizations that represent the overwhelming majority of Scouting units and provides the volunteers that have made BSA a success for over one hundred years. Should the resolution pass, many of those faith-based organizations will have to reevaluate their investment into BSA.
For more information, please see: "The Enemy Within: The Homosexual Assault from within the Boy Scouts of America" and "Boy Scouts of America Yields to Homosexual Agenda - Adopts Moral Relativism."
Update: Southern Baptists Respond - BSA Attempts to Woe Christian Support for the Change
According to World Magazine:
Southern Baptist churches operate more than 3,000 units and serve nearly 100,000 Scouts. Frank Page, an Eagle Scout and former president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), predicts the proposed rule change will fail, but if it passes he says the SBC will take immediate action, beginning with a resolution 'expressing condemnation' at June's SBC annual meeting. 'Southern Baptist churches are independent,' he said, 'but to be a Southern Baptist church you can't affirm or condone homosexuality, so I'm sure many of our churches will pull out of Scouting.'
In light of mounting opposition to the proposed membership standards, the BSA have reached out to Christian groups in attempt to win their approval. See the article here.