SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – July 27, 2015 (Gephardt Daily) — The Church of Jesus Christ is considering severing its century old ties with the Boy Scouts of America.
The move comes in response to Monday’s 45-12 vote by the BSA’s National Board to allow gay adults into its leadership roles, reversing a policy it had embraced for decades.
The LDS Church reacted swiftly to the BSA announcement, releasing a statement saying church leaders were “deeply troubled” by the vote, which had been held despite a Church request to delay the decision until LDS governing councils could convene to discuss the issue next month.
“When the Church resumes its regular schedule in August the century long association with Scouting will need to be examined,” the statement said. “The Church has always welcomed all boys into its Scouting units regardless of sexual orientation. However, the admission of openly gay leaders is inconsistent with the doctrines of the Church and what have traditionally been the values of the Boy Scouts of America.”
That examination will likely include consideration of a plan to create an all new international scouting program aimed at men ages 12 to 18. LDS spokesperson Eric Hawkins told church-owned Deseret News the program is actively being considered on a worldwide scale.
“As a global organization with members in 170 countries, the Church has long been evaluating the limitations that fully one-half of its youth face where Scouting is not available,” Hawkins said. “Those worldwide needs combined with this vote by the BSA National Executive Board will be carefully reviewed by the leaders of the Church in the weeks ahead.”
Word of Monday’s announcement did not come as a complete surprise. The Boy Scouts of America made it known in April the policy decision to accept openly gay scouts into leadership roles, or as employees, would be headed to a vote in late July. The new Scout policy stipulated, however, that its charter organizations would be exempt from the gay leadership ruling should they object to it on religious grounds. That sentiment was echoed in a statement released by BSA after Monday’s vote.
“This change allows Scouting’s members and parents to select local units, chartered to organizations with similar beliefs that meet the needs of their families. This change also respects the right of religious chartered organizations to choose adult volunteer leaders who beliefs are consistent with their own.”
Currently, there are 2.6 million young men serving in the Boy Scouts, nearly a half-million of them belong to LDS Church sponsored units.