Alleluia and praise be! The Boy Scouts of America have agreed to allow openly gay boys as members!!
The AP reports that of the local Scout leaders voting at their annual meeting in Texas, more than 60 percent supported the proposal. The policy change approved by the 1,400-member National Council would take effect Jan. 1, 2014, the organization said.
Here’s a statement issued by the BSA after the vote:
“For 103 years, the Boy Scouts of America has been a part of the fabric of this nation, with a focus on working together to deliver the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training.
“Based on growing input from within the Scouting family, the BSA leadership chose to conduct an additional review of the organization’s long-standing membership policy and its impact on Scouting’s mission. This review created an outpouring of feedback from the Scouting family and the American public, from both those who agree with the current policy and those who support a change. …
“The resolution also reinforces that Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting. A change to the current membership policy for adult leaders was not under consideration; thus, the policy for adults remains in place.”
As a parent with two girls in scouting (one a rising 10th grader who is still involved!) I am so grateful for this step you have taken. Though I wish you could have gone one step further to welcome gay leaders, I do understand where you’re coming from.
See, I love my kids with such an intensity it is sometimes staggering. I move heaven and earth to protect them and their friends from the evils of this world. I also know that I am sometimes afraid of things that I do not fully understand. Sometimes I’m willfully ignorant and sometimes the culture around me conspires to keep me uninformed and afraid. So as I think about your decision to allow gay scouts but not gay leaders I believe I see hearts and minds that are opening to love in beautiful new ways. You are actively listening to the lives of the young people you serve – thanks be to God. I can also feel your struggle to protect them with a ferocity I recognize in myself. I want to believe that, in your lack of understanding, you simply still believe that your children are not safe with gay leaders so of course you want to protect them. I can not fault you one iota for loving children so much.
But this seems like as good of time as any to cut right to the chase: according to the American Psychological Association, “homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.” Gregory Herek, a professor at the University of California, Davis, reviewed a series of studies and found no evidence that gay men molest children at higher rates than heterosexual men.
The empirical research does not show that gay or bisexual men are any more likely than heterosexual men to molest children. This is not to argue that homosexual and bisexual men never molest children. But there is no scientific basis for asserting that they are more likely than heterosexual men to do so. And, as explained above, many child molesters cannot be characterized as having an adult sexual orientation at all; they are fixated on children.
So though you are wrong in your ignorance, I love you for how fiercely it seems you love children. I lift up a prayer of immense gratitude for your love that seeks to protect and now include far more children. I hope you don’t mind that I’ll also be praying for your continued discernment and that your hearts and minds keep on evolving. I’m also asking that YOU will keep praying, listening and learning to be allies of gay adults who want to serve in your organization. I pray you will take the phone off the hook when well-funded, lie-spreading organizations ring you up as much as I hope you’ll pick up when the still small voice of Love rings. I believe that love can and will win out over the droning drums of fear and ignorance.