To: Boy Scouts of America Executive Board and President Wayne Perry
People of Faith Say: Lift the Ban on Gay Scouts
As people of faith, we call upon the Boy Scouts of America to end the ban on gay, bisexual, and transgender scouts. Once the ban is lifted, we pledge to continue and amplify our support for the Boy Scouts.
Why is this important?
We issue our call as Eagle Scouts, as Christians, and as ministers ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). We support the full inclusion of gay, bisexual, and transgender boys in the Boy Scouts of America. This is a moral choice: there is no way for us to be true to our oath as Eagle Scouts without affirming the dignity and inclusion of all God’s children.
The Boy Scouts Executive Board just announced that they’re considering ending the longstanding ban on gay Scouts and leaders. The question is: Will they only hear from religious extremists advancing discrimination cloaked in scripture, or will we drown out hate with our call for dignity for all Scouts?
We invite people of faith and fellow Eagle Scouts to join us in this petition. The Boy Scouts need to know that the “religious” voices calling for the ban to stay in place do NOT represent the whole of the faith or Scout community – especially when we are so close to a victory for equality.
(Rev. Dr. Chris Iosso and I, Rev. Patrick Heery, both Eagle Scouts – share our own personal stories in a short letter titled, "Two Eagle Scout Ministers Say, Lift the Ban on Gay Scouts" - http://justiceunbound.org/action-alerts/two-eagle-scout-ministers-say-lift-the-ban-on-gay-scouts/.)
To secure victory, the Boy Scouts need to hear from congregations pledging to maintain, if not enhance, support for scouts and their troops when the ban is lifted. And to know that troops currently hosted and sponsored by churches will not suddenly find themselves kicked out and on the street – or that, if they do, new worshiping communities will take them in.
It’s why we’re: (1) calling on the Boy Scouts to lift the ban, and (2) promising to support newly inclusive Scouting. Let’s make sure the Boy Scouts know we've got their backs when they stand for equality!
We know that this change may be challenging for some, even though troops will remain able to make their own local policies on this issue. Others of us would like to see a stronger policy guaranteeing protection for gay Scouts. But the truth is that lifting the ban will provide an opportunity for Scouts all over this great nation to discuss and wrestle with these questions—to do so bravely and openly as leaders for today.
How it will be delivered
The petition will be mailed to the Executive Board and will be hand delivered to the regional Kentucky Boy Scouts of America office.