web analytics
Local

Boy Scouts of America votes to allow gay leaders, LDS Church threatens to leave

Staff
Written by Staff

The Boy Scouts of America national executive board voted Monday to allow openly gay leaders to serve in the organization, while allowing local troops to determine their own policies on the matter.

Mormon Church leaders are angered by the decision, even though an earlier statement made it appear the church was simply asking for a religious exemption, which was part of the resolution.

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is deeply troubled by today’s vote by the Boy Scouts of America National Executive Board. In spite of a request to delay the vote, it was scheduled at a time in July when members of the Church’s governing councils are out of their offices and do not meet,” the new statement reads. “When the leadership of the Church resumes its regular schedule of meetings in August, the century-long association with Scouting will need to be examined. The Church has always welcomed all boys to its Scouting units regardless of sexual orientation. However, the admission of openly gay leaders is inconsistent with the doctrines of the Church and what have traditionally been the values of the Boy Scouts of America.”

The statement goes on to allude to the organization finding a global boys organization.

As a global organization with members in 170 countries, the Church has long been evaluating the limitations that fully one-half of its youth face where Scouting is not available. Those worldwide needs combined with this vote by the BSA National Executive Board will be carefully reviewed by the leaders of the Church in the weeks ahead.”

Under the new policy, discrimination based on sexual orientation will be barred in all Boy Scout offices and for all paid jobs — a step that could head off looming lawsuits in New York, Colorado and other states that prohibit such discrimination in employment. New York Attorney General, Eric T. Schneiderman announced Monday that his office was ending its investigation of the Scouts for violating state anti-discrimination laws in response to the announcement.

“This change allows Scouting’s members and parents to select local units, chartered to organizations with similar beliefs, that best meet the needs of their families,” national BSA leaders said in a statement. “This change also respects the right of religious chartered organizations to choose adult volunteer leaders whose beliefs are consistent with their own.”

Seventy-nine percent of the executive board members voting by telephone approved of the change.

In a statement earlier this month, the LDS Church simply called for a religious exemption to allow them to determine their own leaders.

“As a chartering organization, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has always had the right to select Scout leaders who adhere to moral and religious principles that are consistent with our doctrines and beliefs.  Any resolution adopted by the Boy Scouts of America regarding leadership in Scouting must continue to affirm that right.”

The church’s new position has surprised some scouting leaders.

“It’s just a surprise to me to hear that [church] statement,” Stan Lockhart, president of the BSA’s Utah National Parks Council, told the Deseret News, “because my own experience is quite different. We’ve just had a very positive, productive relationship with the LDS Church.”

More than 430,000 of the BSA’s roughly 2.6 million Boy Scouts belong to units sponsored by the LDS Church, making it by far the largest charter in the country.

About the author

Staff

Staff

7 Comments

  • re: "The statement goes on to allude to the organization finding a global boys organization." History repeating itself: German youth could join the Hitler Youth beginning at the age of 10. The organization was divided into two categories, one for members ages 10-14 and the other for members 14-18. The organizational structure was based on a military model, with troops, squads and platoons.
    Hitler was a firm believer in the need to indoctrinate Nazi ideology early and the power of young people in ensuring the continued vitality of the “Thousand Year Reich.”

  • Yet the same group would be incensed if others complained that there were "Mormons" in the troop. Must be nice to live in a world where everyone else is a freak but you (and your kind)

  • Are you seriously comparing the boy scouts to Hitler's youth? Wtf is wrong with you? First, participation is voluntary for BSA, second they are taught to respect, survive and be global citizens. Essentially teaching the children to not grow up to be a narrow minded imbecile like yourself…

  • Cheryl Rowe The answer to your first question is obviously no. The answer to second question is not wording my comment in a way so that you could better understand it.

  • Cheryl Rowe, the answer to your first question, is no. I hope you spend some time trying to understand the meaning of the first sentence in my comment. Obviously, it's not the BSA looking to find a new organization. Carry on and have a great day.

  • Gerald, seems like some think the BSA standards are just fine, no?
    You see;
    Scouts Canada has oaths, troops, uniforms and merit badges.

    There is no rule excluding gay members or leaders since the early 2000's. That is no problem for the many Mormon troops, which use the program for LDS boys and young men. Scouts Canada opened its ranks to girls however, where the LDS Church was permitted an exemption to have boys-only troops.

    Why has the sky not fallen or the world ended for our northern neighbors? Where are the screams and outcries for the safety of scouts in Canada? Has Satan been having his own Jamborees in Canada for the past decade and we haven't heard a thing about it here in the US? Could Scouts Canada be morally bankrupt and adrift in a morass of sin and debauchery? Yet, the church hasn't pulled its youth out of Scouts Canada after all this time?

    Some folks time would be better spent questioniong LDS hipocrisy than the standards of the BSA.

  • Gerald Fifield Do you have any examples of how gay scouts and their leaders are NOT complying with the scout oath? Your logic is akin to "Integrating colored troops" will lower the standards of scouting. So it sounds like garden variety bigotry, ignorance and fear. These are common attributes of racism, heterosexim and homphobia. It appears the problem is with you and not with the BSA policy. You fail to understand that scouting ISN'T defined by the individual identities of the participants, which you seem to think. Instead, scouting is defined by the responsbilties and good deeds of the particpants according to the scout oath. This is probably why the LDS church continues to support Scouting Canada and their gay scouts and leaders.

Leave a Comment