Activist Groups Urge Obama to Reject Boy Scout Honor
From Fox News:
Activist groups, including Scouting for All, urge President Obama not to accept the honorary Presidency of the Boy Scouts of America until they stop discriminating.
Scouting for All is a 100% Volunteer 501-(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization. Every dollar donated goes toward our education and advocacy programs, and is tax deductible.
Indian Head Council, St. Paul, Minnesota
This resolution was presented at the last National Council meeting (San Diego) in May 1999, and referred to
the Relationships Division which meets in October. It calls for a commission to study diversity in the BSA to be
formed, representative of the different constituencies in Scouting (churches, schools, government, civic organizations,
etc), to explore the BSA membership requirements in light of the situation today.
This resolution was obtained per a posting in the discussion group Rec.Scouting.Issues and was proposed by The
St. Paul MN Indian Head Council to revisit membership requirements for Boy Scouts. This council has proposed "that
the executive board of the National Council, BSA establish a representative commission to examine the relevance
and appropriateness of the present membership requirements for traditional BSA programs and report its findings
to the executive board in the year 2000.
BSA Proposed Resolution
Resolved, that the executive board of the National Council Boy Scouts of America, establish a representative commission
to examine the relevance and appropriateness of the present membership requirements for traditional BSA programs
and report its findings to the executive board in the year 2000.
Since 1910 Scouting has served as a positive, unifying force, bringing together many faiths and viewpoints to fulfill
a common mission: instilling the values of the Scout Oath and Law in young people.
Present membership standards for "traditional" BSA programs deny membership to any youth or leader who
identifies himself or herself as homosexual. While there is no expressed requirement that a prospective Scout or
Scout leader identify himself or herself as heterosexual, the current practice is to deny membership to any youth
or adult who admits to homosexual orientation.
National administrative policy of the Boy Scouts interprets the provision of the Scout Oath requiring a Scout to
be "morally straight" as being antithetical to homosexual orientation. In other words, according to present
interpretations, a homosexual person cannot be "morally straight." Many others in the Scouting movement
have interpreted these terms to refer to proper behavior rather than a
definition of a person's sexual orientation. This interpretation holds that it is a person's behavior that should
be assessed in determining whether one is "morally straight."
Many other youth organizations and charitable service groups, as well as business and government, base their employment
or membership policies on standards of sexual *behavior* rather than on sexual *orientation*.
The chartering organizations of traditional BSA programs are a broad and diverse group. Many are religious institutions
that proscribe homosexual orientation as immoral. Others proscribe homosexual conduct as immoral. Still others
accept homosexual orientation as an existent condition within the general population. Many traditional chartered
organizations, religious and secular, advocate maintaining existing membership requirements, as do many parents
of Scouting youth.
The present Boy Scout membership policy is the subject of litigation. It is being challenged by both private and
public institutions that historically have supported the Boy Scout program. Businesses and foundations that have
been sources of substantial financial support have questioned the continuation of
such a policy, and the United Way in some communities has withdrawn financial support or threatened to withdraw
This challenged to traditional BSA membership standards must be viewed in the context of fundamental Scout principles
that urge us to value and respect human diversity and to defend the rights of others to practice their own beliefs.
Whether sexual orientation is an elective lifestyle or determined by genetic disposition (or both), is being debated
in the medical and scientific professions and among religious leaders and sociologists. Information and knowledge
on this issue is expanding rapidly. It is being examined at all levels
of society--among private and public institutions, from business and industry to government and the military, from
churches and synagogues to public schools and private colleges, from golf clubs to fraternal lodges and service
clubs. In these circumstances, the BSA cannot avoid the challenge of such introspection.
It is the proponents' purpose in submitting this resolution to initiate a deliberative process whereby all traditional
membership requirements will be examined, where positions will be studied and recommendations made to sustain a
robust BSA program for future generations.
It is the proponents' view that without such a deliberative process, membership standards may ultimately be dictated
by the courts or by the most powerful or most vocal among BSA's constituencies. Further delay in addressing this
issue may result in the diminution of Scouting's leadership as one of the nation's most effective character-building
programs for youth.
Following are suggestions for the composition and operation of the commission. These suggestions should not be
construed to in any way limit or restrict the National Council, BSA in establishing its own criteria for the commission
or to in any way limit the commission from establishing its own
1. The commission should consist of representatives from various BSA constituencies, particularly those which have
had sustained involvement in the traditional program.
2. Membership on the commission should consist of men and women in leadership positions in business, government,
professions and such other persons the board deems appropriate.
3. The commission should examine the consequences of maintaining present membership requirements upon chartered
organizations, future financial support, public school cooperation, use of public facilities for meetings and
camping, United Way support and such other issues the commission may deem appropriate.
4. The commission should examine the scientific and medical basis for the determination of sexual orientation and
the effect of homosexual orientation upon youth in dealing with their own sexuality. It should seek objective expert
opinions and review available medical and scientific literature and current religious doctrine.
5. The commission should examine the moral and religious basis for defining homosexuality as a moral issue and
the effect upon BSA if homosexuals are admitted into membership.
The commission should be staffed with personnel from the National BSA Office and an appropriate budget should be
appropriated for meeting and travel expense and other expenses incidental to its work .