Friday, May 22, 2015

Boy Scouts' President Calls for End to Ban on Gay Leaders

Facing the reality that the forces of hate, bigotry, and reaction are losing their war against gay equality and acceptance, Robert Gates, the president of the Boy Scouts of America has called for the end of the organization's ban on gay leaders at the organization's annual national meeting in Atlanta.  It goes without saying that sheets of spittle will be flying from the Christofascists who desperately need to be able to discriminate against gays in order to feel better about their own miserable lives as they cling to Bronze Age myths and fairy tales.  The New York Times looks at the development.  Here are excerpts:
Robert M. Gates, the president of the Boy Scouts of America and former secretary of defense, called on Thursday to end the Scouts’ ban on gay adult leaders, warning the group’s executives that “we must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be.”

Speaking at the Boy Scouts’ annual national meeting in Atlanta, Mr. Gates said cascading events — including potential employment discrimination lawsuits and the impending Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, as well as mounting internal dissent over the exclusionary policy — had led him to conclude that the current rules “cannot be sustained.”

If the Boy Scouts do not change on their own, he said, the courts are likely to force them to, and “we must all understand that this will probably happen sooner rather than later.”
In a nod to the religious organizations that sponsor a majority of local Scout troops, he said they should remain free to set their own guidelines for leaders. “I support a policy that accepts and respects our different perspectives and beliefs,” he said, adding, “I truly fear that any other alternative will be the end of us as a national movement.”

He said that he had not yet made a formal proposal to the national board, but that it must act soon to head off possible disaster.

Though his position is voluntary, Mr. Gates, an Eagle Scout, wields enormous power in the Boy Scouts, which have been struggling to stem a shrinking membership for decades.

The treatment of gay men and boys has been a source of wrenching debate. Conservative religious groups that sponsor many Scout troops, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Roman Catholic Church and some evangelical churches, opposed the participation of openly gay members, while local leaders in more liberal regions have called for an end to discrimination.

The Mormon Church uses the Boy Scouts as its main organization for boys and is by far the largest sponsor of Scout troops, overseeing more than 437,000 youths as of 2013, of a national total of 2.6 million youths participating in the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Explorer Scouts and other programs.

The church issued a guarded statement Thursday: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will, of course, examine any such changes very carefully to assess how they might impact our own century-long association with the B.S.A.” If the Scouts’ executive board adopts the policy Mr. Gates has recommended, letting local groups set their own leadership rules, the church is not likely to be affected.

Religious conservatives, who had already condemned the Boy Scouts for the decision to admit openly gay boys, were strongly critical of Mr. Gates’s plan.

John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, a conservative Christian group, said: “I think it’s a sad thing. I think that many families and boys will be negatively affected by the Boy Scouts’ departure from their longstanding principles.”
Expect the hysteria of the Christofascists to become even more extreme as they see the world move away from their toxic form of Christianity which needs ignorance and censorship of information to prosper.

1 comment:

Stephen said...

Illustration by Norman Rockwell is apt, as his sexual orientation seems to have been toward males; see