The Boy Scouts seem to be slowly inching their way towards modernity when it comes to dealing with gays. After initially rejecting gay scouts, and then having a kind of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ attitude, they decided in 2013 to accept gay scouts but not gay adult scout leaders. But now they have reversed that policy too. On July 10, the Executive Committee unanimously adopted a resolution that “will allow chartered organizations to select adult leaders without regard to sexual orientation”.
They still allow those groups that are affiliated with religious organizations to carry on as before, saying they “respect the right of religious chartered organizations to continue to choose adult leaders whose beliefs are consistent with their own”. That was meant to try and stave off any defections but it is not clear that it will satisfy all religious groups.
The Mormons seem to be cautiously agreeable to the new policy but others are warning that the Boy Scouts seem to be on a path that will soon make them incompatible with their beliefs.
Southern Baptist Convention ethicist Russell Moore said he’s not so sure how free faith groups will be to make leadership decisions after the upcoming vote.
“I don’t believe the Boy Scouts when they say that religious groups will have freedom to choose their own leaders,” he said. “The Boy Scouts have pursued an ongoing evolution, if evolutions can happen at breakneck speed, toward the moral priorities of the sexual revolution. At every point, the Scout leadership tells us that they will go this far and no farther.”
I think that Moore fears that the Boy Scouts may eventually adopt an non-discriminatory policy that will not allow affiliated groups to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation if they wish to be part of the parent organization.