Family Research Council has praised more than 60 Texas elected officials for joining Gov. Rick Perry in encouraging the Boy Scouts of America, which is considering changing its no-gays membership policy, to stay true to their support of family values and moral principles.
"Gov. Rick Perry, and now over 60 fellow elected officials in Texas, are showing the Boy Scouts that they're not alone in standing for their values," FRC President Tony Perkins said in a statement Friday, referring to an open letter the leaders have written to the BSA. "As leaders from the Boy Scouts organization meet in Texas, we hope that seeing the solidarity of so many Texas leaders will encourage them to reaffirm their current policy on homosexuality."
"Capitulating to the liberal social agenda not only undermines the very principles of scouting, but sets the stage for the erosion of an organization that has defined the American experience for generations of young men," said the letter, an initiative of Texas Values.
Perkins recalled that the Boy Scouts last year confirmed that "the vast majority of the parents" of Boy Scouts reserve to themselves the right to introduce and give guidance on sexual topics. "Gov. Perry and these Texas officials understand that, and are putting parents' rights first, and we applaud them for it."
Scouts begin each meeting with an oath, "to do my duty, to God and my country, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight." The officials said in the letter that the BSA national leadership would violate each of those principles if they "cave in to pressure from the social left."
The contemplated national policy would also "throw to the wolves" chartering organizations and scout troops that choose to stick with scouting's historic and legally protected policy, they added. "Rest assured that while adopting this ill-considered and wrongly devised policy might earn temporary kudos, you can never do enough to appease those who want to see the scouts robbed of their moral authority."
The Texas officials, which include several state senators and representatives and Congressman Kenny Marchant, also warned that "many churches and other entities will choose to simply abandon scouting altogether – it will be the safer course, and one hastening the organization's eventual collapse."
Last month, the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution urging the BSA leadership to not change their policy. "… we call on and urge the representatives of the approximately 1,400 voting members of the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America courageously to stand strong on their moral convictions and vote to reject the proposed resolution from the national Scouting leaders, retaining the current policy of moral rectitude that has marked the Boy Scouts of America for more than one hundred years," reads the resolution.
The Roman Catholic Church has also criticized the proposed policy change.
In January, the BSA announced that they were going to reconsider their national policy banning openly gay leaders and members. The new proposal would strike down the national ban and allow local BSA chapters to decide whether or not to admit openly gay members.
"This would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation, and the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with each organization's mission, principles, or religious beliefs," said Deron Smith, BSA's director of public relations.
However, the BSA last month announced that they would be delaying their decision on the possible change of policy until May, stating that they wanted "a more deliberate review of its membership policy." "To that end, the National Executive Board directed its committees to further engage representatives of Scouting's membership and listen to their perspectives and concerns. This will assist the officers' work on a resolution on membership standards," said BSA officials in a statement.
The proposed policy change has been hailed by President Barack Obama, who said last month ahead of the NFL final: "I think that my attitude is that gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does in every institution and walk of life."
However, Gov. Perry, an Eagle Scout, has called on the BSA to remain rooted in its original values. "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 recently said after his speech at the Texas Scouts' 64th annual Report to State in the House chambers in Austin.