Ralph Reed, founder and chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, told longtime radio broadcaster Steve Malzberg on Tuesday that “it would be a grave mistake” if the Boy Scouts allowed gay Scouts and troop leaders into its ranks.
“The conventional wisdom is that the national board is going to decide that there’s no longer going to be one national policy on this — and they’re going to allow each local unit to make their own decision,” Reed said on “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV in New York. “Now, whether or not that is in fact what happens I don’t know, but that certainly appears to be what the initial signals were.”
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The Boy Scouts of America began considering on Monday whether to eliminate its decades-old national policy of banning gay Scouts and troop leaders. The proposed change would leave decisions on membership and leadership to the organization’s 290 local governing councils and 116,000 sponsoring religious and civic groups.
The organization’s national executive board is expected to vote on the issue on Wednesday.
Just seven months ago, the Boy Scouts reaffirmed its ban after examining the issue for two years. The volunteer review committee was convened by national leaders of the Boy Scouts of America.
Reed, who sits on the executive board of a Boy Scouts council in Georgia, said he suspected that the group was re-visiting the policy issue because corporations are now scored by outside groups on whether they contribute to charitable organizations with such policies.
“There are major corporations that have a policy that their charitable giving has to go to organizations that don’t ‘discriminate based on sexual orientation or preference,’” Reed told Malzberg. “That becomes a problem in their corporate giving — and it is an issue that the Boy Scouts have to deal with.
“They also have an issue relating to local school districts who have said that if you’re not going to allow gays to be a member, you can’t organize in this school district. I can tell you as a member of an executive board of a Boy Scout council, this is an issue.
“There are some school administrators and some principals and school board chairs who say scouting is great; we want you to be able to come into our schools and organize,” Reed added. “Others say because of your policy on exclusion of gay scouts and scout masters, we do not want you coming in. If the scouts lose the ability to go into schools, it again becomes a problem.”
Reed told Malzberg that those troops most likely to be affected by any national policy change would be those not affiliated with religious organizations.
“The bigger issue is going to be in those units that are not affiliated with a house of worship,” he said. “I go to a very large evangelical church in the city of Atlanta. The church that I go to has a troop affiliated with that church. The entire leadership of that troop comes from that church. In that troop, nothing is going to change.
“It would be a grave mistake for the National Board of the Boy Scouts to change this policy,” Reed added. “I hope that they don’t.”
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