Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
A Seattle-area Boy Scout troop has apparently had its charter revoked after it refused to remove a Scoutmaster who is an openly gay man, as Time.com reports:
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The BSA has revoked the charters of the Rainier Beach United Methodist Church and its two scouting units, Troop 98 and Pack 98, for standing by Geoffrey McGrath after the BSA ousted him as a Scoutmaster in March, according to Scouts for Equality, a group that lobbies against discrimination in the scouting movement.
The church’s Rev. Dr. Monica Corsaro has refused to remove McGrath from his leadership position. “Based on our religious principles, we will continue to act as an autonomous church that does not discriminate,” she said in a statement to Scouts for Equality. “We will continue to have our troop meetings here, every Thursday night, with business as usual.”
The BSA’s director of communications, Deron Smith, said the organization had no choice but to withdraw the church’s charter as it refused to follow the terms of its chartered organization agreement and policies. “We are saddened by this development, but remain committed to providing all youth with the best possible Scouting experience where the Scouting program is the main focus. We are contacting the parents and leaders of the units to inform them of the chartered organization change.”
The BSA permits gay people to become scouts, but not to take adult leadership positions. McGrath is believed to be the first openly gay adult to have his leadership status revoked by the BSA. He acknowledged his sexuality to the BSA in March after an NBC story about the troop’s inclusiveness prompted the scouting movement to inquire about his orientation.
Monday, July 22nd, 2013
Some 30,000 Boy Scouts and 7,000 leaders gathered July 15 in West Virginia for the annual National Scouts Jamboree, and for the second time in the event’s history, each of them was subject to a body mass index (BMI) cutoff that was designed to prohibit obese or unhealthily overweight people from participating in the event. The standard, organizers say, is in place to protect the health and safety of participants, as the Jamboree is packed with physical activities ranging from hiking to rock climbing.
“This policy is not meant to keep anyone out at all, and it’s just to make sure that they’re safe,” Boy Scouts of America’s public relations director Deron Smith told CNN. “We offer thousands of summer camp experiences (that) do not have this requirement.”
But Dr. Jennifer Shu, an Atlanta pediatrician, told CNN, “Any organization can make their own rules, but as a pediatrician I feel like we should be promoting physical activity for everybody, be as inclusive as possible, and only exclude from activity if there’s a physical threat to their health,” she said.
Boys whose BMI is slightly lower than 40, but who are still considered obese for their height can be admitted to the Jamboree, but they are subject to additional health scrutiny, including a personal health recommendation from a health care provider.
Image: Scout campsite, via Shutterstock
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Monday, June 3rd, 2013
Boy Scout units hosted by Southern Baptist churches may soon dwindle in number, in response to the Boy Scouts of America’s recent vote to allow openly gay boys to be Scouts. Baptist leaders say the move is counter to their religious beliefs, and they may leave the organization “en masse.” More from CNN’s Belief Blog:
Baptist churches sponsor nearly 4,000 Scout units representing more than 100,000 youths, according to the Boy Scouts of America.
That number could drop precipitously.
The Southern Baptist Convention, the country’s largest Protestant denomination, will soon urge its 45,000 congregations and 16 million members to cut ties with the Scouts, according to church leaders.
The denomination will vote on nonbinding but influential resolutions during a convention June 11-12 in Houston.
“There’s a 100% chance that there will be a resolution about disaffiliation at the convention,” said Richard Land, the longtime head of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, “and a 100% chance that 99% of people will vote for it.”
“Southern Baptists are going to be leaving the Boy Scouts en masse,” Land continued.
Roger “Sing” Oldham, a spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention, emphasized that local congregations make their own decision on the Scouts.
But he, too, said he expects Baptist delegates, which the church calls “messengers,” to voice their disagreement with the BSA’s decision to allow gay youths.
“With this policy change, the Boy Scouts’ values are contradictory to the basic values of our local churches,” Oldham said.
Image: Church, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
The Boy Scouts of America’s National Council has voted to end a ban on openly gay boys becoming Scouts.
The Associated Press reports that more than 60 percent of the voting members of the council approved of admitting openly gay Scouts. However, the proposal continues a longstanding ban against gay adults being Scout leaders.
According to the AP, some conservative churches that sponsor Scout units wanted to continue excluding gay youths, in some cases threatening to defect if the ban were lifted. More liberal Scout leaders — while supporting the proposal to accept gay youth — have made clear they want the ban on gay adults lifted as well.
Image: Boy Scout uniform and flag, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, February 6th, 2013
The Boy Scouts of America’s current policy banning openly gay boys and men from membership in the organization will remain in place until at least May, when the group’s board has said it may vote on a proposal to change the policy. That vote had been expected Wednesday, but has been delayed, according to a statement from the BSA, because of “the complexity of this issue.” From CNN:
“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,” the group said Wednesday morning.
“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.”
Read recent coverage from Parents News Now of the Boy Scouts of America:
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