Boy Scouts of America President Robert Gates ruffled more than a few feathers this week with a recommendation he made at the organization’s annual national meeting. The BSA’s longstanding ban on homosexual scout leaders, he said, is a policy in need of revision.
Citing a cultural shift in how gays are viewed in America – along with legal challenges against the right of Christians to speak out against homosexuality – Gates explained that it is only a matter of time before the Boy Scouts are taken to court because of its perceived discrimination against gays.
“If we wait for the courts to act,” he cautioned, “we could end up with a broad ruling that could forbid any kind of membership standard.”
Instead, Gates recommended a proactive policy allowing individual troops to set their own policies.
“Such an approach,” he explained, “would allow all churches, which sponsor some 70 percent of our Scout units, to establish leadership standards consistent with their faith. We must, at all costs, preserve the religious freedom of our church partners to do this.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which sponsors more Boy Scout troops than any other faith, has already responded to the new proposal. In a statement released this week, the church did not lay out any concrete plans, instead stating that if Gates is correct in his assurance that local groups may establish their own standards, “then the church is not likely to be affected.”
Gates’ recommendation was not the first controversial stance the BSA has taken regarding homosexuality. As Western Journalism reported in 2013, the organization lost support among some churches following its decision to allow homosexuals to become scouts.
Will allowing gay scout leaders further alienate the Boy Scouts from its faith-based supporters? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth