By nature an upbeat and optimistic person, today I am experiencing feelings that are hard to describe. Upbeat they are not. More a combination of sadness and mourning about the fact that this afternoon representatives of the 290 local councils comprising the organization of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) will vote on a proposed change in the membership policy for youth who choose to participate in the program. Whatever the outcome of the vote – and other proposals may also be presented and considered – the fact that such a potential change is even being considered is the issue.
The current and longstanding BSA membership policy, which applies equally to youth members and adult leaders, denies membership to “open or avowed homosexuals.” The proposed resolution, in its first 731 words, includes language consistent with Scouting’s historic principled foundation and purpose. In the last sentence, it abandons this safe, sensitive and prudent policy in favor of what can most charitably be described as presumably well-intentioned, but calamitous:
“No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.”
Because the inclusion of this sentence legitimizes homosexuality, and “sexual orientation or preference” is just an alternative way of saying “open or avowed,” the adoption of this proposed change in youth membership criteria will seriously jeopardize the cornerstone of morality that for 103 years has given Boy Scout youth, their parents and adult leaders cause to invest expectation and effort in this outstanding organization. Continue reading