Culture

The Corner

Boy Scouts End Ban on Gay Scoutmasters: LGBT Groups Not Satisfied Unless Religious Liberty Is Trampled

To no one’s surprise, this happened:

The Boy Scouts of America voted Monday to lift a long-established ban on gay adults as employees and volunteers within the organization.

The BSA’s full executive board voted 45 to 12 in favor of the change, effective immediately. The vote came after the National Executive Committee unanimously approved a resolution earlier this month stating that “no adult applicant for registration as an employee or non-unit-serving volunteer, who otherwise meets the requirements of the Boy Scouts of America, may be denied registration on the basis of sexual orientation.”

The Scouts, however, included a necessary exemption for church-sponsored troops — allowing them to set their own policies. This displeased the lords of political correctness. Here’s the Human Rights Campaign’s Chad Griffin:

Including an exemption for troops sponsored by religious organizations undermines and diminishes the historic nature of today’s decision. Discrimination should have no place in the Boy Scouts, period.

Yet if the church-sponsored troops pull out of scouting, the BSA would collapse. In many jurisdictions — including scouting’s most healthy and vibrant — church-sponsored groups dominate. I know of multiple local troops that would sooner close shop (or explore alternative affiliations) than violate their deeply-held values. But the HRC and the rest of the LGBT Left doesn’t care. It would rather destroy scouting than see it maintain its culturally and religiously conservative heritage. Already the Mormon church — which is heavily involved in the scouting community — is expressing concern:

The Mormon church quickly issued a statement saying that it was “deeply troubled” by the vote and that its “century-long association with Scouting will need to be examined.”

“The Church has always welcomed all boys to its Scouting units regardless of sexual orientation,” the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints statement said. “However, the admission of openly gay leaders is inconsistent with the doctrines of the Church and what have traditionally been the values of the Boy Scouts of America.”

Liberalizing socially conservative organizations is a great way to shrink them to irrelevance. Just ask the vanishing Protestant Mainline. But the goal here was never to help the Boy Scouts of America but rather to send scouts the same cultural signal the sexual revolutionaries send to the rest of America: Join . . . or else.

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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