The Boy Scouts of America made the right call on Monday when it finally ended its ban on gay adult leaders. The ban was unnecessary and discriminatory.
In 2013, Scouts decided to allow openly gay youths to join the Boy Scouts. But several religious denominations that collectively sponsor close to half of all Scout units have been apprehensive about ending the ban on gay adults.
The Boy Scouts will still allow church-sponsored Scout units to maintain the exclusion for religious reasons. The Boy Scouts, as a privately funded organization, certainly have the option but it would have better served to make it clear discrimination in any form is not acceptable.
A Scout leader’s sexual preference – homosexual or heterosexual – should have nothing to with being qualified to lead. It’s about striving to help boys become men of strong character and teaching them skills. It is about doing what is right. Not discriminating against someone because of race, religion or sexual orientation is right.
“For far too long this issue has divided and distracted us,” said Robert Gates, the former U.S. secretary of defense who is now president of the Boy Scouts of America. “Now it’s time to unite behind our shared belief in the extraordinary power of Scouting to be a force for good.”
Monday’s decision won’t be the end of the discussion. The various church-led Scout troops will weigh in. Some, such as the Mormon church, already have and they are not pleased. Church officials indicated they would look into the possibility of forming their own Scout-like organization.
The decision to take a national stand against discrimination, as Gates and the Scouts’ 17-member Executive Council have done, is what needed to happen.
Now it’s up to the supporting organizations – religious or otherwise – to also do the right thing and take a stand against discrimination.
This excerpt is from the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin.