(Photo: REUTERS/Darrell Byers)
A panel of experts with conservative values is set to discuss their views of the risks involved with a proposed change in the Boy Scouts of America that would allow gay youths to join local troops while continuing to exclude gay leaders. The discussion will be hosted by the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., and is scheduled for this coming Tuesday.
John Stemberger, Eagle Scout and Founder of OnMyHonor.Net, a coalition of concerned BSA parents, Scoutmasters, Eagle Scouts and other Scouting leaders, says the Christian-based organization will not only lose a large number of members and financial sponsorships, but will run the risk of creating an environment where boys will be susceptible to homosexual encounters.
"The most important point is, and the BSA knows this, but they are not talking about it or entered it into their analysis, is that this move will absolutely dramatically increase boy-on-boy sexual contact," Stemberger told The Christian Post on Thursday.
"If only one boy is going to be violated, have his life transformed and turned around in a negative way as the result of this policy – that is enough alone [to not be in favor of the new policy proposal] – not to mention the fact that it is not going to be just one boy, it will be hundreds and thousands of boys over time," he said.
The proposed resolution would change the membership policy to require all chartered scouting units to foster open homosexuality among boys in the organization but not adults, according to organizers of the panel.
Stemberger contends that BSA's current policies for adult leadership are not the problem because they are "very strict and one of the best child-protection programs in the world. No adult can be alone with any child ever."
A boy's sexual preference is not the issue, says Stemberger. BSA never asks about a member's sexual identity, but it is the acceptance of homosexual behavior that will cause gay activists to instill their agenda on the organization, he said.
"What you will have is young, activist/predator types, 15, 16, and 17-year-old boys, in situations with boys where they can be manipulated," Stemberger said. "It creates an environment that is hyper-sexualized and inappropriate for kids."
He said the current proposed policy, that does not allow for a local option, "violates the theologies, the morals, and the religious conviction of the vast majority."
Seventy percent of the BSA units are faith-based, says Stemberger, and "of that 70 percent, the vast majority of them are LDS first, Methodist second, Catholic third, and finally Southern Baptist."
In an editorial article supporting the proposal published in the Los Angeles Times late last month, the newspaper stated that "Americans are turning a corner on gay rights, and slowly but surely, they seem to be dragging the Boy Scouts along behind them. Leaders of the organization recently proposed dropping its ban on openly gay Scouts, while continuing to prohibit gay adults from serving as scoutmasters. Although we're glad to see the Boy Scouts of America become more tolerant, however limited and belated that change is, it must waste no time before taking the next step as well. There is no valid reason to exclude gay troop leaders of either gender, and the Scouts' lack of acceptance smacks of old and ignorant prejudices against homosexuality."
The paper also states that while it's "true that the organization [BSA] has been beset by past cases of molestation," it also says "the belief that openly gay and lesbian adults are more likely than heterosexuals to be predators is based on thoroughly discredited myths."
The Heritage Foundation hosted panel, which includes Heritage Vice President Matthew Spalding as moderator and panelists Edward Whelan, President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and Cathy Ruse of the Family Research Council, is planning to discuss ethical and legal analysis of the proposal and "some examples of what happened to other programs like Girl Scouts and Indian Scouts when they opened up their organizations to homosexuality."
"First of all, from a practical matter," Stemberger explained, "the move by the BSA's own estimation will devastate the organization in terms of the human capital that will leave the program, the chartering partners [that will leave], the parents that will pull their kids out, and the scout masters that will not continue.
"Financially and from the human capital standpoint it will just devastate the organization."
The resolution will be voted on by the national council on May 23 in Grapevine, Texas.
Recently, OnMyHonor.Net published an open letter providing a legal and ethical analysis of the BSA resolution, giving council members ten reasons to vote "No" in May.