The fact that the Boy Scouts have changed their policy regarding the ban on openly gay youth participating in Scouting is old news. What everyone has been waiting for since the change vote a few weeks ago has been official church reactions.
Michael Otterson, who heads the worldwide public affairs functions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, wrote this in an article on The Washington Post.
One key line in the new resolution that the scouting body approved is worth citing: “…any sexual conduct, whether homosexual or heterosexual, by youth of scouting age is contrary to the virtues of scouting.” That is it, in a nutshell. For the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this was never about whether the BSA or local scout leaders should try to discern or categorize ill-defined and emerging sexual awareness of pre-pubescent boys and early pubescent young men who make up 90 per cent of scouting. Sexual orientation has not previously been—and is not now—a disqualifying factor for boys who want to join Latter-day Saint scout troops. Rather, it has always about teaching moral behavior to all boys, and instilling the core values that are part of responsible adulthood. As the church said in a statement issued promptly after the BSA vote, it is responsible behavior that “continues to be our compelling interest.”
Top Catholic officials have also come out in support of the Boy Scouts.
“Scouting is still the best youth-serving program available to all youth,” Edward P. Martin, chairman of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, wrote in a May 29 letter addressed to “fellow Catholic Scouters.”
“We should be encouraged that the change in BSA’s youth membership standard is not in conflict with Catholic teaching,” Martin said, asking that “Catholic Scouters and chartered organization heads not rush to judgment.”
…One of the experts Martin cited was Edward Peters, a canon lawyer popular with church conservatives who wrote that while he disliked the new policy it was not contrary to church doctrine.
But, it should be no surprise that not everyone is is happy or even supportive of the decision. Southern Baptist leaders are considering pulling support from the Boy Scouts.
For Southern Baptist pastor Tim Reed, it was Scripture versus the Scouts.
“God’s word explicitly says homosexuality is a choice, a sin,” said Reed, pastor of First Baptist Church of Gravel Ridge in Jacksonville, Arkansas.
So when the Boy Scouts of America voted to lift its ban on openly gay youths on May 24, Reed said the church had no choice but to cut its charter with Troop 542.
…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.
None of these statements really surprises me.
Joel Watts, a fellow blogger, has decided to make a game out of Tim Reed’s statement on what the Bible explicitly says. You can play along here.