Seems like the media is making this a big victory for gay rights in the Boy Scouts vote but it seems to me it’s at least a mixed bag for “gay rights” as defined by the media.
CNN reports while openly gay youths can join the scouts, the BSA will maintain its ban on gay adult leaders. It seems to me the adult leadership issue was the golden ticket, wasn’t it?
But Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute in Washington, D.C., seems pretty worked up about the decision so I could be wrong. He was quoted in USA Today saying the shift “would utterly change Scouting and dramatically reduce their ranks. The Catholic and Mormon groups would simply have to walk away.”
About 70% of all Scout troops are run by faith-based organizations, according to the Boy Scouts of America. About 37% are Mormon, 10% Methodist and 8% Catholic.
Months before the vote, the National Catholic Committee on Scouting said, “We would hope that the Boy Scouts of America will continue to provide young people a formative experience grounded in virtue and directed by service to God and others,” the National Catholic Committee on Scouting said in February.
I hope those who know more about this will offer their two cents in the combox but I just figured I’d pass on the news.
Update: The National Catholic Committee on Scouting released this statement that pretty much says it’s not a sin to be inclined towards homosexuality but it is a sin to have sex outside marriage.
That’s where the issue could be because as the NCCS says “Individuals who are open and avowed homosexuals promoting and engaging in homosexual conduct are not living lives consistent with Catholic teaching.”
In the end they say they’re going to review this policy in the coming months before it goes into effect in January of next year.
Here’s their short statement in full:
For over 100 years, thousands of children in Catholic parishes, schools and fraternal organizations have benefited from chartering Scouting units. The Catholic Church has maintained a strong relationship with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) through the National Catholic Committee on Scouting (NCCS) for many years and we hope to maintain that relationship.
Today, the voting members of the BSA voted to change the membership standards for its youth members. The BSA proposed in its resolution that “no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.” Its membership standards for adult leaders remain unchanged.
The Catholic Church teaches that people who experience a homosexual inclination or a same sex attraction are to be treated with respect recognizing the dignity of all persons. The Church’s teaching is clear that engaging in sexual activity outside of marriage is immoral. Individuals who are open and avowed homosexuals promoting and engaging in homosexual conduct are not living lives consistent with Catholic teaching.
Since the change in policy will not take effect until January 1, 2014, the National Catholic Committee on Scouting has adequate time to study its effects. The NCCS will determine how it may impact Catholic chartered Scout units and activities. In doing so, we will work within the teachings of our Catholic Faith and with the various local bishops and their diocesan scouting committees.
Ed Martin- National Chair
Father Michael Hanifin-National Chaplain