Ralph Reed, the founder of Century Strategies and the high-profile Faith and Freedom Coalition, has come under fire for facilitating discussions between the Boy Scouts of America and some evangelical leaders over the organization's proposal to allow homosexual members.
Despite any criticism directed toward the former Christian Coalition leader, Reed maintains he was only trying to inform Christians and other religious leaders about the group's policy change and never suggested that Christian and religious leaders accept the Scouts' proposed change.
"At no time have I acted as an advocate for changing the Scouts' membership policy," proclaimed Reed in an email to The Christian Post on Tuesday.
OnMyHonor.Net founder John Stemberger, whose group opposes any change to the current BSA policy, suggested Reed's perceived role in the controversial issue may have been to give the Boy Scouts an opportunity to change the minds of religious leaders.
"After the introduction is made [by Reed], the BSA officials try to convince these top conservative evangelical leaders to support the resolution by finding friendly media venues to discuss it," said Stemberger in a World Magazine article that sparked the controversy.
Most interesting is that Stemberger and Reed both reached the pinnacle of success in the century-old group by obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout and both say they are opposed to allowing homosexual members within the BSA.
"My relationship with the Boy Scouts began 43 years ago and continued as I became an Eagle Scout, a vigil member of the Order of the Arrow, the father of two Scouts, and a member of the executive board of the North Georgia Council of the Boy Scouts," Reed said.
"To be clear, I support the current membership policy of the Boy Scouts and have said so publicly. The Scouts approached me and asked if I would help foster a conversation with the faith community, which I believe is beneficial to all parties involved and can only strengthen Scouting. My role was to facilitate a dialogue based on mutual understanding and respect.
In a conversation with CP, Stemberger characterized Reed's action as "doubletalk" given he was paid a fee by the BSA to facilitate some conversations and that none of the conversations would lead to a suitable resolution.
"There is no middle ground on this issue," said Stemberger. "What's there to talk about?"
The controversy arose in late January when CP reporters discovered that the BSA had visited leaders within the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in an attempt to sell a proposal that would allow both homosexual scouts and leaders to join the organization.
Leaders within the SBC were quick to tell the BSA that under no circumstance would they give their approval to such a move, and in fact, advised the BSA they would pull out of the organization if such a change were made. Catholic and Mormon leaders elected to take a "wait and see" attitude before jumping into the fray.
As a result of a backlash among religious and conservative leaders, the BSA decided against acting on the issue at their February board meeting, instead pushing the issue back to their May 20 board meeting next week.
"They (BSA) recruited corporate board members whose sole objective was to advocate for allowing homosexuals in scouting," said Stemberger. "As far as I know, some of the 'corporate leaders' were not scouts nor have they ever been involved in scouting. Why are they even on the board?"
OnMyHonor.Net has a series of 40 rallies scheduled to be held across the country on Friday to oppose any change in the existing Scout policy.