Tuesday, January 29, 2013

As a former Boy Scout leader, it...

...was with some interest that I read the story in the Times this morning, "In a Quick Shift, Scouts Rethink a Ban on Gays."

From the piece (my emphasis):

Perhaps even more momentous was the acknowledgment that scouting itself had moved on, with a diversity of thought like the multicultural and sexually diverse buzz of modern America itself, that no longer could be confined or defined by a dictated policy from headquarters. Local chapters would be able to decide whether to admit gay scouts.

“The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members, or parents,” said a spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America, Deron Smith, in a statement. “This would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation, and the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with each organization’s mission, principles, or religious beliefs.” 

Translation: Mormons, who make up the largest group within Scouting -- by far -- will be able to continue to exclude gays from their troops.

This is kind of a big deal, because when I was in Scouts other leaders had told me that the LDS had made it known -- in no uncertain terms -- that it would bolt the organization if "National" changed its policy on gays.  

So a compromise must have been made here: while Mormons can keep their troops the way they want, the rest can admit gays, or not, depending on each individual troop's preference. (Makes sense to me.)

Now while my old troop will probably continue to not care about gays, and the LDS troop down the road will continue to care about gays, it makes me wonder: How will the troop sponsored by the local Catholic parish react? 

This could actually be a crucial moment for American Catholics. 

So far, the Church has been confused on the issue. While it's not a sin to be a homosexual, it is sinful to act upon it. Huh? (That's kind of like saying it's okay to be left-handed so long as you write with your right hand.)

So how will the Catholic Church decide on gays in the Scouts? Will the decision be handed down from Rome, or will each parish get to make its own choice? (I think the question answers itself.) 

This could actually be a watershed moment for American Catholics. Finally, they will have to choose: To discriminate against gays and lesbians, or not.

P. S. No, that's not me in the picture above. A free hot dog and fries, though, for anyone who can identify the founder of Scouting.