Boy Scouts to allow self professing homosexual young men as members this week
Situation will need to address camping arrangements, showers
Come New Year's Day this week, the Boy Scouts of America will begin accepting self professing homosexual youths as members. It's a historic change that has prompted the scouts to address potential complications, such as policies on tent mates and showers. Among the many questions this policy change raises is whether or not Scouts can march in gay pride parades which promote the homosexual lifestyle.
Pascal Tessier, 16, center left, a Boy Scout, and his brother Lucien Tessier, 20, pose for a portrait with their parents at their home in Kensington, Maryland, earlier this year.
But - "No member may use Scouting to promote or advance any social or political position or agenda, including on the matter of sexual orientation."
Approved in May, the policy won support from 60 percent of the 1,400 voting members of the BSA's National Council. The matter had sparked nationwide debate. The BSA reiterated that it would continue to exclude openly gay adults from leadership positions.
A BSA national executive board member Brad Haddock, who chairs the policy implementation committee, told reporters that "isolated pockets" of problems are likely to surface. Haddock expects adult leaders will have the skills to defuse potential conflicts.
In regards to shower and toilet facilities, the BSA say it's encouraging units to provide greater individual privacy, including moving away from the tradition of group showers.
The question of sleeping arrangements have also been addressed, with specific decisions left to unit leaders, according to extensive explanations and question-and-answer documents related to the policy distributed by the BSA.
Will a Scout be permitted to march in a gay pride parade?The BSA said that while each youth member was free as an individual to express thoughts or take action on political or social issues, members must "not use Scouting's official uniforms and insignia when doing so."
There are an estimated one million adult leaders and 2.6 million youth members in Scouting in the United States. Of the roughly 110,000 Scout units, 70 percent are sponsored by religious organizations, including several conservative denominations that had long supported the BSA's exclusion of gay youth and gay adults.
Some churches are dropping their sponsorship of Scout units because of the new policy. Several alternatives, such as one called Trail Life USA, are being offered for families who wish to instill classical Christian values in their young and oppose the effort to support efforts to make homosexual practice and the lifestyle so often associated with it as somehow morally equivalent.
Some claim that massive defections from the Boy Scouts have not yet materialized. "There hasn't been a whole lot of fallout," Haddock says. "If a church said they wouldn't work with us, we'd have a church right down the street say, 'We'll take the troop.'"
However, the numbers of alternatives to the Boy Scouts programs is growing rapidly. Many classical Christian organizations, churches and associations are observing, waiting to see what will come from the change in policy.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
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