Friday, 31 July 2015

US SCOUTS ALLOW GAY LEADERS



A boy scout carried a rainbow flag during a gay pride parade in San Francisco last year. The group on Monday ended its nationwide ban on openly gay adult

The Boy Scouts of America on Monday ended its ban on openly gay adult leaders.
But the new policy allows church-sponsored units to choose local unit leaders who share their precepts, even if that means restricting such positions to heterosexual men.
Despite this compromise, the Mormon Church said it might leave the organization anyway. Its stance surprised many and raised questions about whether other conservative sponsors, including the Roman Catholic Church, might follow suit.
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is deeply troubled by today’s vote,” said a statement issued by the church moments after the Scouts announced the new policy. “When the leadership of the church resumes its regular schedule of meetings in August, the century-long association with scouting will need to be examined.”
Only two weeks ago, the Mormon Church hinted that it could remain in the fold so long as its units could pick their own leaders.

The top Boy Scouts leaders, including Robert M. Gates, the current president and a former defense secretary who pushed for the new policy, did not immediately respond to the Mormon declaration. In previous statements, Mr. Gates expressed the hope that with the exemption for religious groups, the Boy Scouts might avoid a devastating splintering.
Many scouting leaders said they had not expected the Mormon Church’s sharp response and threat to leave.
“My assumption was that the concept voted on today had been fully vetted so as to avoid any unnecessary surprises,” said Jay Lenrow, a longtime volunteer scout leader in Baltimore who is on the executive committee of the Scouts’ northeast region and serves on the organization’s national religious relationships committee.
“I can only say that I’m hopeful that when the leadership of the L.D.S. Church meets and discusses the issue, that they will find a way to continue to support scouting,” Mr. Lenrow added.
Mormons use the Boy Scouts as their main nonreligious activity for boys, and the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts units they sponsor accounted for 17 percent of all youths in scouting in 2013, the last year for which data have been published.
Under the policy adopted Monday, discrimination based on sexual orientation will also be barred in all Boy Scouts offices and for all paid jobs — a step that could head off looming lawsuits in New York, Colorado and other states that prohibit such discrimination in employment.
One legal threat was immediately averted. In response to the change, the New York State attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, announced on Monday that his office was ending its investigation of the Scouts for violating state anti-discrimination laws.
The Boy Scouts’ national executive board, composed of 71 civic, corporate and church leaders, adopted the changes with 79 percent of those who participated in a telephone meeting voting in favor, according to an announcement issued by the Scouts. The announcement did not say how many board members were not present.
The policy change, which was expected, was widely seen as a watershed for an institution that has faced growing turmoil over its stance toward gay people, even as it struggles to halt a long-term decline in members. It was praised by gay-rights organizations as a major if incomplete step toward ending discrimination.
In 2013, facing growing public and internal pressure, the Scouts decided that openly gay youths could participate, but not adults. That approach satisfied no one, forcing the ejection of gay Eagle Scouts when they turned 18 but still causing some conservatives to quit.
Mr. Gates gave an urgent warning in May that because of cascading social and legal changes, the organization had no choice but to end its ban on gay leaders.
In a statement on July 13, the Mormon Church seemed to suggest that it could accept the compromise adopted on Monday. The statement said that any new leadership standard must preserve for its churches “the right to select Scout leaders who adhere to moral and religious principles that are consistent with our doctrines and beliefs.”
But the tone of Monday’s statement from the Mormons, after the formal announcement of the new Boy Scouts policy, was markedly more negative.
“The church has always welcomed all boys to its scouting units regardless of sexual orientation,” the statement by the Mormon Church headquarters said. “However, the admission of openly gay leaders is inconsistent with the doctrines of the church and what have traditionally been the values of the Boy Scouts of America.”
The statement also suggested another reason the Mormons are considering withdrawing from the Boy Scouts: the possible creation of its own boys’ organization to serve its worldwide membership.
“As a global organization with members in 170 countries, the Church has long been evaluating the limitations that fully one-half of its youth face where Scouting is not available,” the statement said.
Some conservative evangelical churches ended ties with the Boy Scouts after the 2013 decision to admit openly gay youths. Total national enrollment of youths, which had declined by a few percentage points in many prior years, fell by 6 percent in 2013 and by 7 percent in 2014, to 2.4 million.
More departures by religious conservatives are likely, said Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. Mr. Moore expressed skepticism about the Scouts’ promise to let church-sponsored units exclude gay leaders on religious grounds.
”After the Scouts’ shift on membership, they told religious groups this wouldn’t affect leadership,” he said. “Now churches are told that these changes will not affect faith-based groups. Churches know that this is the final word only until the next evolution.”
But scouting executives hope that with Monday’s change they can renew ties with corporate donors, schools and public agencies and attract parents who had steered their children away from scouting because of the policy.
“Moving forward, we will continue to focus on reaching and serving youth, helping them to grow into good, strong citizens,” said the statement Monday from the Boy Scouts.

The toughest challenge, Scout leaders say, may be to capture the time and enthusiasm of today’s increasingly urban, diverse and over-scheduled youths. To increase their appeal, the Boy Scouts have built new adventure camps with mountain biking and zip lines, and have created new merit badges in fields like robotics and animation.

PAT SAYS:

The move by the US Boy Scouts is an excellent move and another step in the furtherance of equality.

It means that any boy or teenager in the USA who is gay will feel deliberately welcomed by the Scouting community.

It also means that scout leaders who happen to be gay will not feel like second class citizens or leaders under some kind of suspicion.

Anybody and everybody wishing to be a scout leader realises that there is a code of conduct required of all who are involved, particularly in the area of child protection.

The new decision takes away that irrational cloud of suspicion over leaders who happen to be gay.

Anybody working with young people, regardless of their own situation, is called to the same standard. 

Once again, of course, the stone age attitudes of the so called Christian churches are shown up.

But gradually these churches, thankfully, are losing their influence.  

3 comments:

  1. This is a disgrace. I would not allow my son to join the scouts. Another wothwhile and good thing gone in an ever shrinking Christian world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Would you let your gay son join the scouts?

      Delete
    2. No such thing as gay, its a myth and something can be done to help him if he felt that way.

      Delete