The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) — known for its dedication to creating safe environments for boys to develop character and values-based leadership skills — may let men with same-sex attractions serve as scout leaders.
The national organization, which began in 1910, trains boys to help build a more conscientious, responsible society. It is comprised of more than 116,000 local organizations and 2.6 million youth members.
“The BSA is discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation,” BSA Spokesman Deron Smith, wrote in an email to CitizenLink. “This would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation, but that the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with their organization’s mission, principles or religious beliefs.”
He said currently the Scouts do not “proactively” inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers or members.
“We do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA,” Smith explained.
But if the change goes through, there would be no national policy on the issue. It would be up to local troops to decide.
“The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members or parents,” Smith said. “Under this proposed policy, the BSA would not require any chartered organization to act in ways inconsistent with that organization’s mission, principles or religious beliefs.”
People across the country need to speak up against the policy, which could place children in potentially risky situations.
“This is a crucial moment for the thousands of families and children who regard the Scouts as one of America’s best traditions,” said CitizenLink Education Analyst Candi Cushman. “Efforts to pressure the Scouts’ traditional foundations are happening on our watch. So families and church leaders nationwide need to make their voices heard today to the organization’s national leaders. Let them know that you deeply support their current policy and their ongoing efforts to keep their organization safe for children and based on strong moral foundations.”
Ask the Boy Scouts of America to continue creating safe, secure environments for their youth members. Urge the group to maintain its current selection process for finding adult leaders. The people who will be voting on this issue need to hear affirmation of the historical foundations of scouting. They need to know people are with them.
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