The Boy Scouts of America have changed their policy and now welcome homosexuals as sanctioned leaders of young boys.
The news was welcomed by Tulsa homosexuals and Oklahomans for Equality announced it would create a local Cub Scouts pack, presumably led by homosexuals.
The BSA’s National Executive Board voted 45-12 during a closed-to-the-media teleconference to embrace homosexuality.
“For far too long this issue has divided and distracted us,” said the BSA’s president, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd said this will hurry the exit of Southern Baptists from scouting.
“Sadly and regrettably, I believe churches who stand on the biblical ethic of sexuality will have to cease their sponsorship and involvement in the Boy Scouts of America,” Floyd told Baptist Press in written comments. “I also believe it is important that everyone understands that in reality, it is the Boy Scouts of America that is walking away from their historic heritage that has been embraced by the vast majority of Americans.”
In the leadership selection section of the youth protection portion of the BSA website, it states, “While no current screening techniques exist that can identify every potential child molester, we can reduce the risk of accepting a child molester by learning all we can about an applicant for a leadership position—his or her experience with children, why he or she wants to be a Scout leader, and what discipline techniques he or she would use.”
Part of the BSA’s “safeguards” against sexual abuse include a policy of having at least two leaders on all outings, male and female leaders at every overnight coed scouting trip, a prohibition on one-on-one contact between adults and youth members (including digital communication), and while camping, boys and girls should not be in the same tent plus leaders should avoid putting boys more than two years apart in age in the same tent.
Gilbert C. Hanke, general secretary of the General Commission on United Methodist Men (GCUMM), downplayed the impact of the inclusion of homosexual men as scout leaders.
“The new policy will not change the process for selecting scout leaders,” Hanke said in a statement. “The decision of who will lead a unit (Cub Scout pack, Boy Scout troop or Venturing crew) chartered by a United Methodist Church still resides with the local church. Local churches will continue to select and approve Scout leaders based on the church’s Christian convictions and the evaluation of the character and skills of potential Scout leaders.
“No church will be required to accept any volunteer as a Scout leader simply because of the new policy.”
Inclusion of men who prefer sex with men rather than women raises some liability issues for churches who sanction scout groups. Also, any church that separates from the Boys Scouts of America because of the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality or turns down a homosexual’s request for a leadership role could be sued for “discrimination.”
Hanke said part of the current charter agreement, the local church is protected by general liability insurance for its board, officers and volunteers related to authorized scouting activities.
He wrote, “The Boy Scouts of America will defend and indemnify to the fullest extent allowed by law any bona fide religious chartered organization against any claim or action contending that the chartered organization’s good faith refusal to select a unit leader based upon the religious principles of the chartered organization is in violation of the law.”
GCUMM, has relationships with the Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of the USA, Camp Fire and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
“The primary reason for these partnerships is our commitment to ministering to the children and youth of our church communities, including at-risk youth,” Hanke wrote.
Roger S. Oldham of the SBC Executive Committee said groups with Christian convictions “are being put into a situation where they have to either compromise their conviction or choose to leave. And for those for whom biblical sexual morality is a conviction, they have no alternative.”
The Board of the General Commission on United Methodist Men will meet August 20-22 and discuss the change in BSA policy.
Churches in Tulsa and all over America abandoned the Boy Scouts in 2013 after it changed its policy to allow boys who openly claimed to be homosexual . Bible-believing churches pointed out passages in the Old and New Testaments that labeled homosexuality as sin and an “abomination” as they defended their withdrawal from scouting.
For years, the Boy Scouts of America had excluded leaders and members who did not conform to moral standards. BSA went to court and won the a case before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 that defended the exclusion of homosexuality.
The Tulsa homosexual group, which targets young people in its drive to force social acceptance of homosexuality, hopes to have the first homosexual scout group in America.
Trail Life USA (www.traillifeusa.com) is one of the growing number of Christian camping organizations that is starting and growing because of the BSA homosexual policy. Christian Service Brigade (www.csbministrie.org) is another.
The Southern Baptists have Royal Ambassadors for boys grades 1-6 and Challengers for youth in grades 7-12.
Assembly of God has Royal Rangers.
The Mormon Church, the largest sponsor of Boy Scout troops in the nation, has indicated they might leave the BSA.
The Los Angeles Times has reported a 13 percent decline in scout membership overall since 2013.