The organization made the announcement after two years of deliberations and pressure from those supportive of the homosexual lifestyle.
“The review included forthright and candid conversation and extensive research and evaluations — both from within Scouting and from outside of the organization,” BSA stated.
Reports state that top leaders with the Boy Scouts formed an eleven-member committee in 2010 to discuss the matter. The committee was comprised of Boy Scout executives and other volunteers who represented “a diversity of perspectives and opinions.”
When deliberations were completed, the group agreed unanimously that the Boy Scout’s longstanding policy prohibiting open homosexuals from serving in the organization was “the best policy” and should be upheld. The current policy reads, “While the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.”
“The committee’s work and conclusion is that this policy reflects the beliefs and perspectives of the BSA’s members, thereby allowing Scouting to remain focused on its mission and the work it is doing to serve more youth,” the statement from the organization outlined.
The policy was also upheld by the United States Supreme Court in 2000 by a 5-4 vote. It has been under fire from pro-homosexual groups for more than a decade in an effort to change the regulations to allow admission. A resolution was presented to the organization recently to revoke the policy, but after today’s announcement, executives state that it will not pursue it at this time.
“Resolutions can always be submitted as defined by our bylaws, but the officers of the board have no plans to further review this issue,” said spokesperson Deron Smith.
The Boy Scouts of America has been in the news recently regarding other issues as well.
As previously reported, Eagle Scout Max Neilson, an atheist, sued his local school district after officials at Irmo High School in Columbia, South Carolina allowed a student to proceed with the benediction during his high school graduation on May 30th.
“I support every individual’s rights to their religion as strongly as I support my right to be free of one. It is not that I did not want my classmates praying; this entire time my support has been strongly in favor of a moment of silence, where individuals of all faiths could take time to pray, instead of just the Christian majority,” Neilson said. “If, during the moment of silence, anyone wanted to stand and pray aloud, I suppose that’d be okay with me, since the school wouldn’t be ‘sponsoring’ that action.”
“In my understanding of the scout oath, duty [to] the nation is just as important as duty to God. Also, I am not rejecting God; God was never upon me,” he outlined. “I say the scout oath with full sincerity. My understanding of God in that sense is more alike to a set of ideals, instead of a conscious figure which tampers in the lives of lesser beings.”
“To become an Eagle Scout, a boy completes specific requirements – as is the case for other ranks – and then must undergo a board of review, where a review of the requirements is conducted for each rank,” Deron Smith told Christian News Network. “In this case, the scout went before a board of review, who confirmed that he had met the requirements to be awarded the Eagle rank. That represents a past achievement, much like a diploma. The fact that someone may subsequently indicate that they do not believe in the values of scouting or our principles, does not indicate they did not earn their achievements in scouting consistent with our values and standards.”
The case remains before a federal court for consideration.