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Religious Tolerance logo

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) cancels ban on gay youths

2013-MAY-23/24: Reaction to the BSA national council
vote by: Americans for Truth about Homosexuality,
Assemblies of God, Family Research Council, GLAAD.

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This topic is a continuation from the previous essay.

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Reactions by various faith groups, parachurch groups, secular human rights organizations, etc. in alphabetical order (Cont'd):

  • By the Americans for Truth about Homosexuality (AFTAH):

This is still another group listed as an active anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of its "... propagation of known falsehoods" and the use of "... demonizing propaganda" against LGBT people. 1

Peter LaBarbera heads AFTAH. He said:

"The Scouts has now become an organization which promotes the normalization of homosexuality. If you say that open homosexuality is consistent with being morally straight, you are a confused organization. You're sending a confused moral message to young boys. ..."

"The Scouts have snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory that they won when they preserved the right in the Supreme Court years ago to not have homosexual Scouts." 2

  • By the Assemblies of God:

The AOG General Superintendent, Dr. George O Wood, issued a statement indicating that their denomination's troops will leave the BSA:

    "Assemblies of God leadership regrets that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has voted to change its policy regarding inclusion of homosexual youth members. We believe – as do a majority of Boy Scout volunteer leaders and parents – that this is not the best policy for BSA, nor for the young men it serves.

    As the landmark 2000 Supreme Court decision stated, BSA is a private organization with freedom of association to determine its own membership standards, upholding BSA's policy not to allow homosexual leaders or members. BSA stated at the time that a departure from that longstanding policy would undermine its purpose of guiding boys to keep themselves "morally straight," which is part of the Boy Scout Oath.

    While we are disappointed by BSA's recent membership decision, we are pleased that the organization will retain its policy regarding adult leaders, and applaud the organization for standing firm on that issue. However, today's vote to allow homosexual youth members negates BSA's ability to legally defend its position regarding leadership and opens the door to more efforts by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) lobbies to make further policy changes.

    A majority of scout groups are sponsored by churches or other religious entities, which have as their foundation a belief in biblical teachings that identify homosexual behavior as outside of God's plan for sexuality. While we agree that youths who experience confusion or same-sex attraction need to be welcomed, in our churches they are confronted with this biblical teaching and will be counseled and prayed with that God will help them to align their lives in conformity to that teaching. We agree with the BSA that we need to demonstrate compassion and welcome those who are struggling with sexuality issues, but not in a way that condones such behavior, which is what the new BSA policy does.

    Though the BSA shares a common mission with the Church, "to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes," the Church answers to a higher Authority in providing a value-added spiritual dimension. As such, based on Scripture, we provide a loving, welcoming environment to young people in their search for purpose, meaning and God's best for their lives. Until this decision today BSA agreed in teaching that "homosexual conduct is not morally straight" and in not wanting to "promote homosexual conduct as a legitimate form of behavior." BSA had been well-served by holding to that position.

    We believe that the BSA policy change will lead to a mass exodus from the Boy Scout program, as Assemblies of God and many other churches can no longer support groups that are part of an organization allowing members who are openly homosexual. However, as a positive alternative, we offer a program – the Royal Rangers 3 – that operates with values consistent to that of the BSA prior to today's change. [Emphasis not in the original statement.]

    In the fractured family and culture today, we recognize that many youth are struggling with sexual identity and behavior. Our Assemblies of God churches seek to help these young people experience sexual purity in their lives, and remain virgins until married to a person of the opposite sex. Love, counseling and prayer is given for those who fail in this regard so that young people who engage in sexual relations outside marriage can reset their moral compass toward God's will through repentance, forgiveness and restoration." 4

  • By the Family Research Council (FRC):

The FRC has been listed as an active anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. 7 The FRC issued the following press release from Grapevine, TX on MAY-23:

    "Family Research Council (FRC) expressed deep disappointment at the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) for changing their long-standing position today on membership regarding open homosexuality within the Scouts.

    Family Research Council President Tony Perkins  made the following comments:

    'Sadly, the Boy Scouts' legacy of producing great leaders has become yet another casualty of moral compromise. Unfortunately, Boy Scout delegates capitulated to strong-arm tactics and abandoned the timeless values that have served the organization well for more than 100 years.

    The delegates succumbed to a concerted and manipulative effort by the national BSA leadership despite the BSA's own survey showing 61 percent of its members in opposition to changing the policy.

    The Boy Scouts has for decades been a force for moral integrity and leadership in the United States. BSA councils, Scouting parents, and leaders of the faith-based organizations that charter over two-thirds of the packs and troops, must now decide how to respond to this moral compromise. Many will separate from the organization so that they can continue to foster character among boys and respect the right of parents to discuss issues of sexuality with their sons.

    It is clear that the current BSA leadership will bend with the winds of popular culture, and the whims of liberal special interest groups. There is little doubt that God will soon be ushered out of scouting. Now is the time for new leadership. In the meantime, we will stand with those BSA Councils who will now act to protect boys from a new policy that only creates moral confusion and disrespects the views of the vast majority of Scouting parents,' concluded Perkins." 5

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  • By GLAAD:

"GLAAD" was originally the acronym for "Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation." During late 2013-MAR, the advocacy group shortened its name to simply "GLAAD" in order to emphasize that it worked for the equality of the entire LGBT community, including transgender persons and transsexuals. GLAAD played a major role in the battle to make the BSA's policies less discriminatory.

A GLAAD spokesperson, Rich Ferraro, said:

    "Today's vote is a significant victory for gay youth across the nation and a clear indication that the Boy Scouts' ban on gay adult leaders will also inevitably end. The Boy Scouts of America heard from religious leaders, corporate sponsors and so many Scouting families who want an end to discrimination against gay people, and GLAAD will continue this work with those committed to equality in Scouting until gay parents and adults are able to participate." 6

Dave Montez, the acting president of GLAAD, and Evan Wolfson, the lawyer who handled the Boy Scouts of America vs. James Dale lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court in the year 2000. The Court ruled 5:4 that as a private organization, the BSA had a legal right to discriminate in membership. Montez and Wolfson wrote an op-ed on GLAAD's web site, saying -- in part:

    "... Gay scouts can now join the organization or stay with it after they've come out. Until they turn 18, that is, because the ban on participation by gay adults is still in place.

    Almost 2 million people have signed various petitions, mostly on, opposing the ban on participation by gay teens and parents alike. Faith leaders from the United Church of Christ and the [Evangelical] Lutheran Church [in America] (which sponsor about 5,000 troops between them) have urged a thorough end to the ban. The BSA's own report on a survey it has conducted said that 28 out of 30 current and prospective corporate sponsors oppose the bans on gay scouts and leaders. This isn't just support for gay inclusion, this is overwhelming support for gay inclusion. ..."

    What's clear is that Americans have already decided that though the BSA may have the [legal] right to discriminate against some gay people, that doesn't make it right to discriminate against any. And they won't stand for it.

    The Boy Scouts of America has produced some of this country's most influential figures, from Gerald Ford, John F. Kennedy, and Bill Clinton to Bill Gates, Walter Cronkite, and Steven Spielberg. If BSA officials want to truly prepare the boys who will become the leaders of tomorrow — or even, frankly , if the organization hopes to survive the demands of a rapidly evolving culture, which is quickly rendering it irrelevant — then they must listen to the growing number of people calling for equality in scouting.

    The BSA claims to be grooming young men to be leaders of the future. But these young men are being taught to discriminate — in many cases, against their own older siblings or their friends' families. This is not leadership, and it will have no place in the future.

    Anti-gay discrimination of any kind is already unacceptable in today's America, and it will be even more so in tomorrow's." 7

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This topic continues in the next essay.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "18 Anti-Gay Groups and Their Propaganda," Southern Poverty Law Center, Intelligence Report, Issue #40, Winter 2010. Online at:
  2. "Family groups on Boy Scouts’ vote: Expect a mass exodus," OneNewsNow, 2013-MAY-24, at:
  3. Royal Rangers' home page is at:
  4. George O Wood, "Assemblies of God Response to the Boy Scouts of America's Resolution May 23, 2013," Free Republic, 2013-MAY-13, at:
  5. "Boy Scouts' Decision Another Casualty of Moral Compromise," Family Research Council, 2013-MAY-23, at:
  6. "Boy Scouts votes to lift ban on gay members, retain ban on bay leaders," Towelroad, 2013-MAY-23, at:
  7. Dave Montez & Evan Wolfson. "Op-ed: Boy Scouts Must Complete the Inclusion Process to Remain Relevant," GLAAD, 2013-MAY-23, at:

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Home > Religious conflict > U.S. & Worldwide > Boy Scouts > Reconsider gays > here

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Copyright © 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
Original posting: 2013-MAY-23
Latest updated: 2013-MAY-25
Author: B.A. Robinson

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