However, this does not include homosexual adults, who are still banned from the Boy Scouts in leadership roles.
Those opposed to this policy change cite a conflict with biblical teachings – specifically that homosexuality is a sin. Religious organizations sponsor approximately 70 percent of the BSA troops in the United States. Since the announcement, the Boy Scouts have lost funding from many religious groups including one of their larger supporters, the Southern Baptist Convention. However, not all religious groups have ostracized the Boy Scouts. The Mormons and the Roman Catholic Church are continuing to support the BSA.
Pastor Marshall Fant of Harvest Baptist Church in Rock Hill, South Carolina claims that the BSA was an extension of the church’s mission and a tool his church used to instill leadership. Fant believes the decision to allow gay scouts in the BSA conflicts with the mission of his church. “Any organization we support must line up with our view of scripture,” he said, “and when the Boy Scouts no longer considered homosexuality a sin, then we did not have the freedom to address it as a sin in the light of scripture.”
In response to the news of the Boy Scouts upcoming new policy, Trail Life USA was created last year. It is a youth program which mirrors the Boy Scouts. According to the Trail Life website, they are more “Christ-centered and service based” than the BSA. The site also states that “homosexuality, or any sexuality outside of the Sanctity of Marriage under God between a Man and a Woman is sin.” A steady flow of scouts, specifically with church ties, are leaving the BSA to join Trail Life.
The CEO of Boy Scouts of America’s Palmetto Council, Greg Leitch, remains optimistic. “We understand that people are passionate about the membership standards issue and about Scouting,” Leitch claims. “We believe good people can disagree and still work together to accomplish great things for youth.”
I am happy with the new policy in the BSA. The policy change does not promote homosexuality. It promotes inclusion for all. Everyone should have an opportunity to experience the life changing effects of the Boy Scouts. In scouting, the focus is not on sex or a member’s sexual orientation. It is on leadership – developing young men into responsible leaders of tomorrow. Homosexuality is not a plague. Having a gay scout will not infect the rest of the troop or cause straight scouts to miraculously turn gay. Being gay or straight does not define a man – it comes from courage, honor, integrity, honesty and responsibly.