As the Boys Scouts prepare to decide whether or not they will allow open homosexuals in their membership, churches nationwide that support the current policy will host a simulcast featuring Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.
Perkins’ FRC is sponsoring “Stand with Scouts Sunday” this Sunday evening, which aims to show Christians what they can do “to help preserve Scouting.”
The event, which begins at 7 p.m. Eastern Time, can be viewed via the Web as well as at hosting churches.
Perry is an Eagle Scout and author of the 2008 book “On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For.”
In a February speech to a group of Scouts in Texas, Perry, a Republican presidential candidate last year, urged the organization to not change its policy and to follow its “historic position of keeping the Scouts strongly supportive of the values that make scouting this very important and impactful organization.”
The approximately 1,400 rank-and-file Scout leaders who form the BSA’s National Council will vote on the resolution at the organization’s national conference in Grapevine, Texas, May 22-23.
The resolution, a revision of a plan issued in January, seeks to strike a compromise by allowing open homosexuality by boys but not adult leaders. The previous proposal would have allowed local troops to decide whether to accept openly homosexual members and leaders.
FRC says the 60-minute event Sunday night will help people learn what they can do “to preserve Scouting as its founders envisioned it – as a resource for young men to develop in morally, mentally, and physically healthy ways, free to be boys and teens without the invasion of cultural controversies.”
Along with Perkins and Perry, who will speak via Skype, scheduled speakers include John Stemberger, president of OnMyHonor.net; Zina Hackworth, mother of six Eagle Scouts and one soon-to-be Eagle Scout; and Robert Hall, pastor of Calvary Chapel in Rio Rancho, Calif.
FRC said that if a local church is unable to participate in the live simulcast Sunday, the organization will provide a DVD of the event that can be shown at a later date.
FRC’s Perkins has said the outcome of the upcoming vote “will affect the very future of Scouting, as a shift in the policy would undermine the very principles held by the BSA for over a century.”
As WND reported, Stemberger’s OnMyHonor.net has charged that the proposed resolution is “logically incoherent and morally and ethically inconsistent.”
“Opening the Boy Scouts to boys who openly proclaim being sexually attracted to other boys and/or openly identify themselves as ‘gay’ will inevitably create an increase of boy-on-boy sexual contact,” said Stemberger in an open letter to the Scout leaders who will vote later this month.
Stemberger asserts a change in policy would “gut a major percentage of human capital in the BSA and utterly devastate the program financially, socially and legally.”
He said internal estimates by the BSA project an estimated $44 million of lost annual revenue if the policy is changed.
He points to BSA’s own “Voice of the Scout” surveys that indicate tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of parents, Scoutmasters and Scouts will leave the program if the proposal is adopted.
A member of the National Council who plans to vote on the policy previously told WND a decision to change the policy will prompt many at all levels of the organization to quit.
The BSA’s own official “Voice of the Scout” survey, he points out, shows respondents support the current policy by a supermajority of 61 percent to 34 percent.
The Scouts count more than 2.7 million members and more than 1 million volunteers.
About 70 percent of local Scout troops are supported by churches or other religious groups, most of which have taught that homosexual behavior is sinful.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons, however, issued a statement last week affirming the proposal.
Policy affirmed last year
Last July, after a thorough two-year study, an 11-member committee of professional scout executives and adult volunteers unanimously concluded the policy should be maintained.
The BSA executive committee announced that while not all board members “may personally agree with this policy, and may choose a different direction for their own organizations, BSA leadership agrees this is the best policy for the organization and supports it for the BSA.”
In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the right of the Scout organization to exclude homosexuals, because the behavior violated the core values of the private organization.
The BSA’s new policy proposal, as WND reported, coincides with a sudden drop in major corporate funding that began last summer after a “gay”-rights blogger for the Huffington Post published a collaborative report that named the donors and chastised them for violating their own policy of not discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.