One of the hallmarks of how change occurs in religious organizations is that it is done very slowly, by a series of small steps. We see that happening with the Boy Scouts of America. They have been getting a beating about their hostile attitude towards gay members and leaders, with people and businesses withdrawing their financial support, always a bad sign for organizations like that.
So now a resolution will be presented at the May meeting of its governing board that, if approved, will allow openly gay members to participate but not openly gay adults. This kind of halfway measure is unlikely to satisfy critics and will also anger supporters of the current ban. It is an inherently unstable compromise but the kind of thing that such organizations tend to adopt.
Supporters of the current policy of total exclusion of all gays have said that a change would cause problems for those troops that are associated with the Catholic and Mormon churches, which have taken a hard line against homosexuality. But it turns out that at least as far as the Mormon church is concerned, it is going wobbly on this issue, as a result of the huge backlash it experienced for its massive role in passing California’s Proposition 8, a role that it had tried to conceal. While it has not reversed itself, it seems unlikely that it will go to the mat on anti-gay issues again.
While the Mormon church still describes homosexuality as a sin, and it filed a friend of the court brief in support of the Proposition 8 case in the Supreme Court, it took pains to describe its opposition as being based on state’s rights. More tellingly, it did not provide any financial support to the anti-same sex marriage movements in the four states that passed ballot measures last November.
Here’s the song Turn it off from the musical The Book of Mormon that describes current Mormon policy.