Boy Scouts wrestle with policy change

by Shawn McDuffee correspondent

Photo by Jackson MillsOn June 28, 2000, the United States Supreme Court decided the Boy Scouts of America were under no legal obligation to allow openly homosexual members in their organization. However, according to CNN.com, after increased pressure from gay right activists, the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America is reconsidering their position. According to usatoday.com, President Obama, who is also the honorary president of the BSA, commented, “My attitude is that gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does in every institution and walk of life.”

During their annual meeting in May, the board will vote on whether or not local chapters should be allowed to make their own membership policies regarding homosexuality. The current mission statement of the BSA is still “to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.” But as Nathan Fralic, freshman theology major and Eagle Scout, comments about the proposed policy change, “Institutions which were once untouchable from this kind of doctrine are starting to get poured into. Right now it’s homosexuality, but the scary thing is a few generations down the road, Scouts may not recognize these issues as a problem.”

As their website relays, the Boy Scouts of America were founded in 1910 by a naturalist Chicago businessman after he had an encounter with British scouts. It was not originally founded as a religious group, but according to CNN.com, around 70% of Boy Scout troops are sponsored by a church or religious organization. Many of these organizations have vowed to stop supporting the BSA if the proposed policy change is implemented, according to NYtimes.com. Governor of Texas Rick Perry, who himself is an Eagle Scout, said, “[To] have popular culture impact 100 years of their standards is inappropriate,” according to usatoday.com.

As reported on CNN.com, a poll published on Monday, Feb. 4 by Quinnipiac University found that 55% of people were in favor of lifting the ban, while 33% were against it. However, many religious organizations are uncomfortable with the possible changes. As the article goes on to say, the Southern Baptist Convention has said that a policy change would be catastrophic.

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