A 2000 Supreme Court decision rules that because the Boy Scouts of America is a private organization, they are within their rights to exclude gays, atheists, and agnostics from its membership ranks. So why did the Boy Scouts of America reverse course and announce that local units now have the ability to choose whether to allow gay Boy Scout leaders and/or gay Boy Scouts to become part of their troops?
I was listening to “A Woman’s View” on KSL Radio Sunday morning. The show is hosted by Amanda Dixon, and she asked her guests to weigh in on the latest Boy Scout controversy. One of her guests paraphrased the Boy Scout oath, stating that Boy Scouts only accept “morally straight” boys. The Boy Scout oath states:
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. (emphasis added)
Is that really what “morally straight” means? I had to look it up. According to Wiki answers:
Being morally straight means to live your life with honesty, to be clean in your speech and actions, and to be a person of strong character.
Even the official Boy Scout website doesn’t seem to refer to sexual orientation:
. . . and morally straight.
To be a person of strong character, your relationships with others should be honest and open. You should respect and defend the rights of all people. Be clean in your speech and actions, and remain faithful in your religious beliefs. The values you practice as a Scout will help you shape a life of virtue and self-reliance.
Due to the controversy generated by the announcement, the BSA has decided to wait until May to allow time to discuss the issue and see if they will stick by the decision. The LDS Church is the largest sponsoring organization with about 1/3 of the total Boy Scout membership, following by Methodists and Southern Baptists.