To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.
~Boy Scout Oath
Across the nation, many Christians are suffering whiplash after being caught off guard by the official statement made by Boy Scouts of America that they are considering abolishing a ban on gay scout leaders and members.
“Currently, the BSA is discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation,” BSA spokesman Deron Smith said in a prepared statement. “This would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation, and the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with each organization’s mission, principles, or religious beliefs.”
Curiously, BSA’s statement is in direct opposition with a statement made just six months ago. BSA issued an official statement reaffirming its position of excluding gays. Parental support was cited as a key factor in retaining the 100-year-old policy. The Scouts’ national spokesman, Deron Smith, told The Associated Press that an 11-member special committee, formed discreetly by top Scout leaders in 2010, came to the conclusion that the exclusion policy “is absolutely the best policy” for the organization.
In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Boy Scouts of America v Dale, ruled that the group had the constitutional right to “freedom of association” – allowing it and other groups to exclude persons from membership when the “the presence of that person affects in a significant way the group’s ability to advocate public or private viewpoints.”
According to the BSA’s website, of the approximate 100,000 scouting units in the U.S., 69.6 percent are chartered to faith-based organizations, 22.7 percent are chartered to civic organizations such as Rotary, Kiwanis and chambers of commerce, and 7.9 percent are chartered to educational organizations such as PTAs and private schools.
Conservative religious bodies sponsor the vast majority of Boy Scout units. Mormons lead with more than 37,000 units and 400,000 boys involved. United Methodists place second, with 11,000 units nationwide. The Roman Catholic Church sponsors more than 8,000 units. More units are sponsored by Southern Baptists and other evangelical groups. The potential loss of membership should have BSA reeling.
So why would BSA proverbially “thumb its nose” at religious entities and parents who have demonstrated strong support for the current policy?
Money and “bullying” by LGBT and GLAAD are the primary reasons, no matter how many statements The Boy Scouts of America issues.
BSA is sponsored by several large corporations, including AT&T, Exxon Mobile, and until more recently, Merck and United Parcel Service, both which have withdrawn their support from BSA because of its anti-gay policy. Merck, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the country, issued a statement in December 2012, withdrawing Merck Foundation support.
“Merck Foundation has suspended all funding to the Boys Scouts of America (BSA). The Merck Foundation will consider funding the BSA again when the organization’s inclusion criteria has been expanded.
The BSA’s policy of exclusion based on sexual orientation directly conflicts with the Merck Foundation’s giving guidelines. The Foundation re-evaluated funding for the BSA when the organization restated its policy that excludes members on the basis of sexual orientation. Merck Foundation has notified the BSA of this decision.
As part of the broader review of funding decisions in 2013, the Foundation is currently assessing all current and future funding commitments to ensure that it is not funding organizations with policies contrary to its own.”
Another corporate sponsor, Intel, which was recently identified as the Scouts’ largest corporate funder, announced that it is no longer giving to the youth organization. In 2010, Intel reportedly gave more than $700,000 to local troops and councils.
Prominent BSA board members, Randall Stevenson, CEO of AT&T, and James Turley, CEO of Ernst & Young, have openly called for the board to reconsider its position. Both helm companies considered friendly to gay rights. Under increasing financial pressure, The Boy Scouts of America are proving that there is proof in the old adage: The love of money is the root of all evil.
Part 2: Why the Bullies Won