(Photo: Reuters/Chris Keane)
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has called on the Boy Scouts of America on Saturday to keep its strict no-gays membership policy, as the organization's national executive board, scheduled to meet in Irving on Monday, is expected to discuss, and possibly vote on, changing the policy.
"Hopefully the board will follow their historic position of keeping the Scouts strongly supportive of the values that make scouting this very important and impactful organization," Perry said, according to The Associated Press. Perry, himself an Eagle Scout, made the comments after his speech at the Texas Scouts' 64th Annual Report to State in the House Chambers at the Texas State Capitol in Austin.
"I think most people see absolutely no reason to change the position and neither do I," Perry said, adding his views have not changed since he wrote the book, On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For, in 2008. It would be "inappropriate" for popular culture to impact 100 years of the Scouts' standards, he said.
In his speech, Perry told hundreds of Scouts from around Texas, who had filled the state House of Representatives, to announce their delegation's recent accomplishments, that society's failure to adhere to the organization's core values was a cause for high rates of teen pregnancy and wayward youth who grow up to be "men joining their fathers in prison."
In his book, the Republican governor wrote, "Because gay activism is central to their lives, it would unavoidably be a topic of conversation within a Scout troop. This would distract from the mission of Scouting: character building, not sex education."
Perry donated profits to the Boy Scouts of America Legal Defense as "they continue to be under attack from the forces of secularism."
The Scouts can legally retain the no-gays membership policy, which was reaffirmed by the organization's leaders about seven months ago.
In Boy Scouts of America v. Dale more than a decade ago, the Supreme Court upheld the right of private organizations to make their own decisions about membership, points out Dr. Eastman, a constitutional law professor at Chapman University and Chairman of the Board of the National Organization for Marriage, on his blog.
Eastman wrote the blog on Saturday, days after the Scouts' national leadership announced that it was considering ending the mandatory exclusion of gay members. Under the proposals each individual sponsoring organization would be left to independently determine whether to infuse homosexuality into the core of the local troop organization.
A source who has knowledge of the situation recently told The Christian Post that the Boy Scouts' top executives had met with top leaders at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention, among others, over the last few weeks to inform them of the possibility of this policy shift.
"The policy change under discussion would allow the religious, civic, or educational organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting to determine how to address this issue," the Boy Scouts told CP in an email message last week. "The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members, or parents. Under this proposed policy, the BSA would not require any chartered organization to act in ways inconsistent with that organization's mission, principles, or religious beliefs."
But once the organization's leadership has capitulated by taking "an agnostic position on the question, it will become increasingly difficult for the constituent parts to adhere to the view that homosexual conduct is immoral," warns Eastman, an Eagle Scout.
The Boy Scouts is a major corporation with revenues in 2010 of more than a quarter billion dollars, and has 3,771 employees with the chief executives getting lucrative salaries, Eastman notes. "So, when members of the national board, CEOs of major corporations like AT&T and Ernst & Young, start pressuring the executives at the national office… someone with his own million dollar salary at risk might, just might, have a personal stake at odds with the Boy Scout's long-standing policy against interjecting homosexuality into a youth organization."
Greg Quinlan, president of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays, expressed his opinion on the issue in an article for CP on Friday. Boy Scouts leaders are leaders in the real sense, he wrote: "Boys watch them very closely. Boys also look up to older Boy Scout members and want to imitate them and follow their examples. Boys at that stage of maturity emulate male role models. A homosexual who gently eases boys and young men into exposure of homosexuality by his own personal example promotes homosexual behavior as normal, natural and healthy. This paves the way for youth to question their own sexuality and be affirmed into homosexuality."