Decatur residents are speaking out about the Boy Scouts' consideration of lifting its ban on gay members and leaders.
For the last 103 years, the Boy Scouts of America have banned gays from joining their ranks. On Feb. 6, the organization announced that it would delay until May its decision to either continue enforcing the ban or to admit gays, which has sparked both outrage and praise from parents and those involved with Scouts.
David White said, "(It) has failed miserably for the Catholic Church. will fail miserably for the Boy Scouts...tolerant of everyone? nudists in Decatur, flashers (a more active nudist)? how about being tolerant of people already known to have a sexual focus on young males? I have noticed that women tend to be the most 'tolerant' of homosexual behavior even though they are not equipped to understand male sexuality. this is not a topic really suited for women to fully understand."
Mike Readey said, "it's another round won by the devil."
Sarah Hill said, "Scouts are learning and growing up to be future leaders and outstanding members of society. That includes being tolerant of everyone, regardless of their personal or religious beliefs regarding homosexuality. If the kids have questions, its an issue that should be discussed with the families/caregivers at home."
@lmartinhansen: "We know wonderful gay parents good friends who could be den leaders -- not allowed.Other friends are boycotting scouts."
The Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts released the following statement:
"While the National Board continues its discussions, I promise that the Atlanta Area Council will continue to provide the best Scouting program to as many youth in Atlanta as possible. This is an important and complex national issue, but we cannot allow a policy debate to negatively impact the quality of the program we deliver to our Scouts. They are counting on us."
Non-religious-affiliated donors have vocalized to the BSA that they will pull funding of the organization if the ban continues.
However, many others who sponsor Boy Scouts want the ban to remain.
While the Boy Scouts' national executive board deliberated changes to allow gays for three days at the organization's headquarters, hundreds supporters rallied outside with signs that read "Don't invite sin into the camp" and "Homosexuality is a sin! BSA please resist Satan's test. Uphold the ban."
Reports, such as this one from the Associated Press, show that about 70 percent of all Boy Scouts are sponsored by religious denominations, which could completely gut the organization if they decide not to renew their sponsorships. This post from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution states that Mormons sponsor the most Boy Scouts in the nation, followed by Methodists and then Catholics– all three groups have traditionally supported the ban on gays in the organization because it lines up with their religious doctrine that homosexuality is a sin.
However, others in and around Atlanta, like southwest Atlanta Scoutmaster Donald Wheat said he believes homosexuality is a sin and will leave the Scouts after 46 years as a leader if the ban is lifted.
Wheat said, that, for him, the issue is a matter of morals and standing up for his beliefs. He said that the admittance of gays into Boy Scouts would mean support of homosexuality, which he said is counter to his Christian faith and to the Scout’s Oath, which requires Scouts remain “morally straight.”
“Either you’re going to take a stand one way or the other. As much as I would hate to give it up, I’m going to stand if I stand by myself,” Wheat said.
What do you think? Should the Boy Scouts of America lift its ban on gay members and leaders? Tell us in the comments below.