Boy Scouts of America - Policy Change
Delegates to the national meeting of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) will vote on whether to change their membership policy to allow gay and bisexual scouts on Thursday, May 23, 2013.
Call to Action
May 17, 2013
Dear UCC members and friends
The National Council of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) will vote on Thursday, May 23, 2013, on whether to end discrimination against youth based on their sexual orientation. During the past few months, there have been many strong opinions expressed in opposition to changing this policy. But I am happy to report that there have also been many voices from across America that have ardently supported ending the discrimination. This includes people of different denominations and faiths -- Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans, United Church of Christ (UCC), Jews, and most recently, the Latter-day Saints. Leaders in both the public and private sector have come out to support ending BSA’s discriminatory policy.
National polls have consistently shown that America supports ending discrimination in Boy Scouts. During their campaigns last year, both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney supported ending discrimination in BSA’s membership policies. BSA’s leadership needs to hear from us this week that we support the proposed resolution to end the ban on gay, bisexual and questioning youth, as a first step to ending discrimination in the BSA programs.
What can you do to help?
We urge every church to contact their local Boy Scout Council and if you have a past or present affiliation with Boy Scout, please identify your affiliation to the Council staff member (alumni, formerly registered volunteer, currently registered member or volunteer, member of charter partner).
- Express your support for inclusion of LGBT youth in BSA programs
- Express your support for making scouting a safe haven for all youth regardless of sexual orientation
- Express your support for inclusion of LGBT adults leaders in the BSA programs
- Ask that the council personnel share this call with the President of the Council, the Council Commissioner, and all voting members of the National Council
You can find your local scout council at: https://beascout.scouting.org/ From this page, choose one of the colored tabs (e.g., cub scouts, boy scouts, venturers and sea scouts, or volunteers), and then enter your zip code. The website will give the local council name and phone number on the right side of the map.
Scouting is a great program for our youth -- too great to give up.
For more information, see Scouts for Equality.
Yours in Christ,
Brian Conn, Eagle Scout
United Church of Broomfield
Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 767
Letter from Rev. Geoffrey Black to the President and Executive Board of the Boy Scouts
Download your We Welcome ALL Scouts! banner for use this Sunday to stand with ALL Boy Scouts!
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As a member of the United Church of Christ, I support the #boyscout policy change that welcomes gay and bisexual scouts & scout leaders.
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Connecticut UCC member and former Boy Scout pushes for anti-gay policy change
Statement of Support for Policy Change
January 29, 2013
The Boy Scouts of America should open their doors to gay and bisexual scouts and scout leaders.
Although media stories have only represented the faith voice that opposes this action, for decades there have been hundreds of United Church of Christ congregations, as well as other welcoming and inclusive faith communities urging the BSA to eliminate discrimination in the Boy Scouts of America. We are calling on the BSA leadership to take advantage of this opportunity to make it happen now. Several churches—churches that affirm and welcome LGBT Christians into their fellowship—have either lost their scout troops or they are unwilling to sponsor troops because of the exclusionary policy of the BSA and with this policy change, they will have the opportunity to rejoin the BSA.
While every scouting program should be inclusive and welcoming to all, it is important to note that the policy change under consideration will give local scouting organizations the freedom to choose, creating a patch work of welcoming and not welcoming scout organization. Nevertheless, the policy change under consideration is an important step to full inclusion. Welcoming gay and bisexual scouts and scout leaders is way overdue and the BSA National Council should waste no time to change their policy and open the door to non-discrimination.
The General Synod of the UCC adopted a resolution (2003) called, The United Church of Christ and the Boy Scouts of America which states that discrimination against anyone based on sexual orientation is contrary to our understanding of the teachings of Christ. The resolution unambiguously urged the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America to adopt a membership policy that does not discriminate based on sexual orientation, and that allows for the reactivation of membership of persons who were previously excluded solely on that basis.
Since 1978, the Boy Scouts of America established a policy of not accepting gay scouts and gay scout leaders. They reaffirmed their discriminatory policy a few times since then, most recently last summer. TheBSA policy of excluding gay youth and adult gay leaders has caused pain to gay and bisexual youth and adults, as well as to their heterosexual peers, families, and allies. The discriminatory policies and practices of the BSA invite gay or bisexual persons to feel diminished, invisible, and marginalized. Thousands of boy scouts have felt shame and embarrassment about the current policy of exclusion, which they feel is inconsistent with the scout laws that embrace values of dignity and respect for all.
For many years, hundreds of UCC congregations and various other faith communities have protested the BSA’s policy of exclusion, calling on the BSA to lift the ban and welcome gay youth and gay adults into the scouting programs. Some troops joined an alternative program, “Scouting for All” which welcomes gay youth and gay adult leaders in their scouting programs. This is an important development not only for the BSA but also for the thousands of boys who have been excluded from scouting programs because of their sexual orientation.
Rev. Michael Schuenemeyer, Executive
Office for Health and Wholeness Advoacy
Andy Lang, Executive Director
United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns