WASHINGTON — The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has announced that it will implement its new policy allowing openly homosexual youth to serve as members beginning on January 1st.
As previously reported, in May of this year, over 60 percent of the scout national council voted in favor of altering the organization’s current policy, which bars “open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.”
Over 1,400 scouting members reportedly cast their ballot over the issue as the BSA gathered for its annual meeting in Grapevine, Texas. The resolution posed the question of whether prospective scouts should be denied membership “on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.”
“The Boy Scouts of America will not sacrifice its mission, or the youth served by the movement, by allowing the organization to be consumed by a single, divisive, and unresolved societal issue,” the organization commented in a statement after announcing the results of the vote. “While people have different opinions about this policy, we can all agree that kids are better off when they are in scouting. Going forward, our scouting family will continue to focus on reaching and serving youth in order to help them grow into good, strong citizens.”
A number of Christian organizations then predicted a significant exodus from the Scouts as a result of the decision. Soon after, churches across the country announced that they were booting the Boy Scouts from their building to stay true to the Bible.
“We try to have the authority being in the Scriptures rather than ourselves,” Pastor Paul Thompson of Aldan Union Church in Pennsylvania told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We believe that among those sins is the sin of homosexuality.”
“We don’t hate anybody,” Mike Shaw of the First Baptist Church of Pelham, Alabama stated. “We’re not doing it out of hatred. The teachings of the Scripture are very clear on this. We’re doing it because it violates the clear teaching of Scripture.”
The Boy Scouts state, however, that they hope that the implementation of the new policy on January 1st will have no ramifications.
“My hope is there will be the same effect this Jan. 1 as the Y2K scare,” Brad Haddock, policy implementation committee chair, told the Associated Press. “It’s business as usual, nothing happens and we move forward.”
Nonetheless, to outline possible issues surrounding the change, BSA has released a Membership Standards Implementation manual that provides answers to frequently asked questions, such as, “How does the BSA define ‘morally straight?'”
“The Boy Scout Handbook continues to define ‘morally straight’ as ‘Your relationships with others should be honest and open. Respect and defend the rights of all people. Be clean in your speech and actions and faithful in your religious beliefs. Values you practice as a Scout will help you shape a life of virtue and self-reliance,” it outlines.
BSA also notes that “[a] general move toward individual toilet and shower facilities is already underway” and that “[e]ach unit’s leadership along with their committee will be responsible for working with their parents to determine appropriate sleeping arrangements.”