LegalWorks Apostolate - Counsel for a Culture of Life

Boy Scouts Choose Limbo

By Stu Nolan

The BSA Executive Board today declined to adopt the proposed change in its national prohibition on participation in Scouting by the homosexually active. However, the Board did not endorse the current prohibition, either. Rather, they decided to continue studying the matter and let the issue be decided at BSA's national meeting of its officers in May. More details are available here.

The decision represents a victory of sorts inasmuch as the Board had appeared to be on "auto-pilot" setting and ready to bring Scouting in America into an abyss. At least now those who honor the legacy of Scouting have time to persuade BSA officials to retain Scouting "as we know it" and to work to organize an alternative vehicle for traditional Scouting in the event BSA walks away from its role as defender of that legacy.

The text of BSA's press release is available at bottom.

A couple of points I have not yet made in this forum:

(1) The homosexual activists had reportedly already announced that the proposed change was insufficient in their eyes (and not only in the eyes of the faithful). In other words, it was not good enough for BSA to refrain from dictating that the homosexually active not participate in Scouting; rather, BSA could only please the radicals by dictating that all BSA troops accept participation by the homosexually active.

(2) Proponents of the change, including the corporate executives and grant-making officers of philanthropic foundations, frequently refer to policies that "prohibit discrimination". But everyone discriminates. Gay men presumably discriminate against women. Catholics discriminate against non-Catholics by denying the sacraments to those not in union with Rome. We all presumably discriminate against that which we believe to be immoral. What matters is not whether one discriminates, but whether one discriminates illegally or -- at the very least -- immorally. The radicals in this "controversy" want everyone to assume as a given that a failure to condone homosexual activity as if it is moral is in fact a bigoted and immoral act. In what they tried to accomplish by suing BSA in the decision the Supreme Court decided in BSA's favor back in 2000, such activists wanted to outlaw discretion on the part of private associations in selecting their membership criteria. Notwithstanding the fury of these activists, it is hardly a settled matter that discretion amounts to illegal or immoral or even unreasonable discrimination. Every time you read the word "discrimination" in the context of this controversy, remember that someone is trying to manipulate you by using this emotionally charged language.

* * * BSA Press Release * * *

For 103 years, the Boy Scouts of America has been a part of the fabric of this nation, providing it's youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. In the past two weeks, Scouting has received an outpouring of feedback from the American public. It reinforces how deeply people care about Scouting and how passionate they are about the organization.

After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the Scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America's National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy.

To that end, the executive board directed its committees to further engage representatives of Scouting's membership and listen to their perspectives and concerns. This will assist the officers' work on a resolution on membership standards. The approximately 1,400 voting members of the national council will take action on the resolution at the national meeting in May 2013.

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