(Photo: The Christian Post)
GRAPEVINE, Texas – The Boy Scouts of America will announce Thursday the outcome of the 1,400-member national council's vote after they cast their ballots on a new resolution allowing for openly-gay membership into the scouts, which many fear will lead to the dissolution of the faith-based organization, and the promotion of LGBT activism.
In April, the BSA released a proposal that states: "No youth may be denied membership in the BSA on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone." While allowing homosexual members, the scouts would maintain its gay ban when it comes to leadership.
John Stemberger, an Eagle Scout and founder of OnMyHonor.Net, a coalition of BSA parents and scouting leaders who are asking members of the national council to vote "No" on the BSA's resolution, announced at a Wednesday press conference that the BSA's own estimates reveal "200,000 to 400,000 youth will leave the program if this change is made. That doesn't include scout masters and parents associated with those boys."
Stemberger also underscored the point that scouting doesn't discriminate based on sexual orientation. "Every time I turn on the TV, they're saying 'scouting bans gays.' But yet I see adults and kids in uniform that have been in there for many years. Well, what happened? What happened is that they acted openly. They began to promote gay activism, they began to flaunt their sexuality and engage in behavior and conduct which is a distraction to the mission of scouting."
"There's no witch hunt in the BSA to find out what your sexual orientation is," Stemberger added. "We don't care about it. Scouting is for camping, and for fires, canoeing and swimming. We're not interested in bringing in sexuality. And this proposal will inject hyper-sexuality right into the blood veins of scouting, making it an inappropriate program."
The BSA doesn't ask scouts about their sexuality, and that will not change if there's a modification to their policy of not allowing homosexual scouts, Deron Smith, director of public relations for BSA, told The Christian Post.
Smith also pointed out that the new resolution will state that any sexual conduct, homosexual or heterosexual, is not consistent with the moral teachings upheld by the BSA. The resolution will also recognize that scouts, like all adolescents, will be working through a process of understanding morality and their duties to God.
"The BSA handbook currently teaches, 'Waiting until marriage is the wise course of action.' …We are unaware of any major religious chartered organization that believes a youth member simply stating he or she is attracted to the same sex, but not engaging in sexual activity, should make him or her unwelcome in their congregation," Smith said.
If the majority of the delegates vote in favor of the resolution, Smith asserts that the BSA will be ready to implement the policy and address concerns about the scouts' safety.
"No other organization has the same level of expertise for administering logistics and protecting the safety of its participants," Smith said. "To further prepare the organization, the BSA has created an implementation task force to make sure it's ready, should this resolution pass. It's looking into how other organizations have dealt with these issues. The BSA chose the effective date of Jan. 1, 2014, to give the organization the time it needs to make sure it's operationally ready for this policy."
In the BSA's official "Voice of the Scout" survey, among the members of the scouting community, 61 percent said they support their current policies. Additionally, 61 percent of respondents agreed that it's acceptable for an openly gay teenager to be denied membership into the Boy Scouts. Likewise, 58 percent of the scouting community supports the current policy that "prohibits open homosexuals from being scouts or adult scout leaders," and agree that the policy "is a core value of scouting found in the Scout Oath of Law."