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, 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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Tuesday, February 5th, 2013
The fact that more than two-thirds of Boy Scout troops are affiliated with houses of worship is heavily influencing both sides of the debate over whether the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) should allow openly gay boys and men to be members or leaders in the organization. The BSA is expected to announce its decision on a new policy February 6. More from NBC News:
“I think it’s clear that the Scouts have made a sea change in who they are and that down the road they will be a different organization than they are today,” said Roger “Sing” Oldham, spokesman for the conservative Southern Baptist Convention, whose leader, Frank S. Page, urged for a prayer be held among congregations on Sunday that the board members would not allow gays.
“I think there are a lot of parents and students who will make the decision to look for other organizations that are more in line with the principles that they espouse,” he said.
The Scouts’ board meeting starts today, and a decision on the gay ban is expected Wednesday.
The Scouting movement has heavy involvement from religious groups, with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church together sponsoring more than 1 million Scouts, according to Boy Scouts data for 2011. Overall, faith-based groups sponsored nearly 70 percent of the more than 100,000 Scouting units that year, compared with civic organizations backing 23 percent and educational outfits 8 percent.
In the Scout Oath, youth pledge to do their “duty to God,” and the organization holds special celebrations in tandem with churches, such as “Scout Sunday,” just ahead of the Feb. 8 anniversary of the founding of the Boy Scouts in 1910. This year, “Scout Sunday” was held Feb. 3 in a number of congregations across the country, and people on social media reported troops receiving their religious medals and posted pictures of Scouts in uniform at church. The BSA offers a guide to the church observance on its website.
“Boy Scouts are like baseball and apple pie,” said Rev. Chase Peeples of the gay-friendly Country Club Congregational United Church of Christ in Kansas City, Mo., which honored Scouts on Sunday and displayed on its front lawn a banner with a rainbow background reading, “We welcome ALL Boy Scouts.”
Image: Boy Scout troop, via Susan Montgomery / Shutterstock.com
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