The reverberations of the Boy Scout's of America (BSA) membership policy change have reached Alaska. Last week, Anchorage Baptist Temple has exercised it’s right of free association and informed Boy Scout Troop 1316 and Cub Scout Pack 316 that due to the BSA policy on sexual orientation, they can no longer support the Scouts meeting in their facility.
Several churches in Alaska have indicated that they will continue to charter BSA Troops ; many churches and secular chartering organizations are waiting for BSA to clarify it’s recent decision to allow youth of any sexual orientation or attraction to participate in Scouting. Critical policy guidance and training is yet to be provided, to answer such questions as:
How will overnight tenting be arranged? What are the liabilities of adult leaders, and what training will be provided to mitigate those liabilities? Will the moral and character-development teaching of faithful Christians in any way be restricted by forthcoming BSA policy?
Here is the actual resolution adopted by the BSA:
Youth membership in the Boy Scouts of America is open to all youth who meet the specific membership requirements to join the Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, Sea Scout, and Venturing programs. Membership in any program of the Boy Scouts of America requires the youth member to (a) subscribe to and abide by the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law, (b) subscribe to and abide by the precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle (duty to God), and (c) demonstrate behavior that exemplifies the highest level of good conduct and respect for others and is consistent at all times with the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law. No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.
Interpretations of what this implies vary. Chip Turner, chairman of the BSA Religious Relationships Task Force and past president of the Association of Baptists for Scouting, penned this letter to fellow Baptists:
On the other hand, any church that charters a BSA Troop many now face significant legal risks as outlined here.
Alaska Family Action has previously provided an in-depth policy analysis and we await BSA's policy and training materials before taking a formal position and offering recommendations to Alaskan families.
However, for parents who are looking for a wholesome environment for their sons to grow and flourish in, there are a variety of Christ-centered programs for boys already in existence including AWANA,Calvinist Cadet Corp, Christian Service Brigade, Columbian Squires, Pathfinders, Royal Ambassadorsand Royal Rangers.
In addition, a new organization focusing on Christ-centered character development for boys is forming called OnMyHonor.net. Those interested in learning about this group in Alaska may contact Dan Brooks at [email protected]
Alaska Family Action encourages all families to make fully informed decisions about the organizations they entrust with their children’s character and social development.
MONDAY ON THE GLEN BEIGEL SHOW
I'll have a chance to chew on this and other issues on the airwaves this coming Monday, August 12th from 6:00am to 9:00am on 700AM KBYR in Anchorage as I'm hosting the Morning News and Comment Show for my friend Glen Biegel. Tune in if you can.