Parents of Boy Scouts in Oakland County, were urged to take action and contact their local Boy Scout Council and board members to oppose a policy decision that would allow openly homosexual members and leaders.
A decision on the policy change that would give individual troops the option of lifting the ban or not, was expected Wednesday, Feb. 6, but was delayed until May. In Rochester Hills, Boy Scout Troop Committee member, Mark Joyce, says the delay will “probably buy time for the leadership to tailor a response – but I have reservations no matter how it comes out.”
Said Joyce, “It is a huge trap. I don’t see how the policy can be workable. If the decision is given to individual groups, it can’t be sustained. Many would pull their charters and leave.”
Parent reactions regarding the policy change have been mixed. Scout mom Margaret Kreider, called the proposed change, “the destruction of the boy scouts.”
In an e-mail forwarded from The Constitutional Coalition, Executive Director Donna Hearne said, “Allowing homosexuality will directly compromise and challenge the Boy Scout Oath of ‘duty to God,’ to keep physically strong and morally straight.”
The Supreme Court allowed the BSA in 2000 to discriminate against active homosexuals because of the ‘core-beliefs’ of the scout principles. All Boy Scouts take the Scout Oath:
On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.
The Scout Law: A Scout is: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, Reverent.
“All Scouts are expected to learn, memorize and live by the oath they take including the last two words: ‘morally straight’. How do they explain this? Homosexual behavior is no longer immoral?” said Joyce.
But reaction is mixed among parents. Boy Scout troop leader, Bob Marselle, when asked his opinion on lifting the ban admitted, “I have no strong feelings one way or the other.” Marselle says he wants groups to be ‘inclusive’. “There is a potential to open it up to some who have not been involved,” he said. Marselle’s Boy Scout troop #255 meets Tuesday nights at St. Mary of the Hills Catholic Church in Rochester Hills. St. Mary’s has been a sponsor of troop #255 since 1999. Marselle says he has no idea what the Catholic Church will say if the homosexual ban is lifted.
One mother of two young scouts, ages 11 and 15, was completely unconcerned about homosexual leaders in the troop. “In this world, you read about it (homosexuality) in literature, you see it on TV, on the radio, it’s out there. They have youth protection training so it should be okay,” she said. “On camp-outs they have the buddy system. That should protect them.”
According to the BSA website, “The Boy Scouts of America is the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. In the future, Scouting will continue to:
Offer young people responsible fun and adventure
Instill in young people lifetime values and develop in them ethical character as expressed in the Scout Oath and Law
Train young people in citizenship, service and leadership
Serve America’s communities and families with its quality, values-based