May 23rd marked a monumental decision that allowed gay youth to become members of the religiously-influenced organization the Boy Scouts of America. The Boy Scouts of America will repeal its almost 22 year ban on gay scouts and will be implemented January 1st.
Despite the decision to include LGBT youth, several southern Baptist leaders have condemned the Boy Scouts’ decision to allow gay youth to participate in the organization’s functions. Southern Baptists proposed a resolution to remove Boy Scout officials that support the change in policy.
A meeting was held in Houston to find an alternative way to deal with how scout leaders handle the anticipated policy change. According to one of the resolution committees, the church does not have the power nor authority to force other churches to leave the Boy Scouts. In some extreme instances, several Southern Baptist churches have cut all ties with the Boy Scouts. In Winston-Salem North Carolina, leaders are making it their duty to cut ties with the Boy Scouts of America and cite God as their motivation.
A senior pastor of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marrietta, Georgia Ernest Easly is one of the many pastors who are severing ties with the organization. “It is extremely sad,” exclaimed Easly, “I’d never dreamed that I’d be standing in front of a group preaching on Sunday, encouraging parents to pull kids out of Boy Scouts of America.” Ernest, as well as several churches along the Bible belt blatantly protest the organization’s inclusion of gay youth.
When will America see the bigger picture? LGBT inclusion is not only inevitable, but necessary in order to make America a more pluralistic and diversified nation. Interestingly enough, the Boy Scouts of America has an extremely long history of discrimination. It wasn’t until 1974 that the Boy Scouts decided to integrate one of its last segregated councils. In 1998, the state of California supported the Boy Scouts of America’s discriminatory practices. The Supreme Court of the United States added insult to injury in June, 2000 when they ruled in a 5-4 decision that the Boys Scouts can discriminate against others, which makes their 22-year ban on gay youth unknowingly permissible. Honestly, the Boy Scouts of America’s “love for God” vividly explicates the hypocrisy in organized religion, and more specifically, exposes the fallacy-ridden arguments used to advocate against homosexuality.
Peter Sprigg, a speaker for the Family Research Council was blasted by Carol Costello on CNN’s News Room in February 2013. Carol Costello debunks the stereotypical and extremely outdated “facts” used by Sprigg relating to how American’s perceive homosexuality: the video is featured below. Granted, religion is unconsciously engrained within our society considering our predecessors came to the Americas to seek religious freedom. But if we continue to use religion to justify the oppression and marginalization of subjugated groups like LGBT individuals, America will continue to be a divided nation.
Ironically, the Boy Scouts of America’s repeal of their 22 year ban on openly gay youth does not include gay scout leaders: go figure.