(CNSNews.com) - Retired Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin, newly installed executive vice president of the Family Research Council, praised the Boy Scouts of America for “standing up for traditional values” by reaffirming the Scout policy barring homosexual scoutmasters and scouts.
“I think that we should all be applauding the Boy Scouts and the leadership for the decision that they have made, particularly given the fact that other similar organizations have not stood firm in terms of their traditional values on this thing,” Boykin told CNSNews.com Tuesday.
On Monday, the Boy Scouts national office announced that “after a nearly two-year-long examination” by an 11-member panel commissioned by the chief scout executive, the Scouts will maintain their membership policy
“After careful consideration of a resolution asking the Boy Scouts of America to reconsider its longstanding membership standards policy, today the organization affirmed its current policy, stating that it remains in the best interest of Scouting and that there will be no further action taken on the resolution,” the Boy Scouts said in a statement.
The Scout membership policy excludes homosexual scoutmasters and scouts from membership – and requires scouts and their leaders to subscribe to the Scout Oath, in which they pledge “to do their duty to God and to country.”
The re-examination came after a resolution was sent to the Scout Executive Board to overturn the policy, according to the statement.
The review “included forthright and candid conversation and extensive research and evaluations — both from within Scouting and from outside of the organization.’’
According to Bob Mazzuca, chief scout executive of the Boy Scouts, parents were behind the movement to keep the policy.
“The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers, and at the appropriate time and in the right setting,” Mazzuca said in the statement.
Gen. Boykin, the former commanding general of all Green Beret/Special Forces units in the U.S, and a former top commander of the Army’s elite Delta Force counter-terrorist unit, said the Scouts are simply acting in the best interests of the young boys in Scouting.
“I would say that if you look at the fact that there are many documented incidents of the abuse of young boys by homosexual scout leaders, the Boy Scouts are actually protecting the young men that are part of the Boy Scouts by ensuring that there are no homosexual predators associated with them,” Boykin said.
He added: “That is not to say that every homosexual is a pedophile, but there have certainly been many incidents that have been documented that reflect that there is a problem. So the Boy Scouts have a moral obligation to protect scouts from thus type of thing.”
Homosexual activists, meanwhile, roundly condemn the Scouts’ decision – and the policy.
Darlene Nipper, deputy executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said that the Scouts are “clinging to a policy of exclusion and intolerance,” which she said “is hardly a good lesson for our young people.”
“Once again, officials of the Boy Scouts of America have turned their backs on a chance to demonstrate fairness, exercise sound judgment, and serve as a role model for valuing others, free of bias and prejudice,” Nipper said. “ This is deeply disappointing. Discrimination is never the right policy, period.”
Ohio lesbian Jennifer Tyrrell, who launched a petition drive to call on the Scouts to on the Scouts to end its discrimination, has pledged to keep up pressure on the organization to change it’s policy.
“A secret committee of 11 people can't ignore the hundreds of thousands of people around the country -- including thousands of Eagle Scouts, scout families, and former scouts -- that want the ban on gay scouts and scout leaders removed,” Tyrrell, a Bridgeport, Ohio mother who was removed as a Cub Scout den mother after she made public her homosexuality, said in a statement.
But Boykin, author of the book, “Never Surrender: A Soldier’s Journey to the Crossroads of Faith and Freedom,” pointed to the fact that the Boy Scouts were created by Christians and that many scout units are associated with churches. Roughly one-third of all Boy Scout chapters today, he said, are associated with the Mormon Church.
“Every entity in America is under pressure now to accept the whole concept that homosexuality is a normal lifestyle, and obviously much of the Christian Church – not all of it, but much of it -- and, certainly, the Mormon Church, still holds to traditional values and finds homosexuality to be a choice and not something that you’re born with,” Boykin said.
It’s not discrimination, Boykin said, for groups to subscribe to traditional values – “the values that formed America,” he said – and to insist that members of such groups stand up for those values.
“In America, we believe in the whole concept of liberty,” Boykin said. “For us as a nation to believe that there cannot be any institutions in America to hold to traditional values, I think, is very ill-conceived. We ought to be able to make a free choice as Americans, and as organizations in America, as to how we want to conduct ourselves and our business.”
According to the Associated Press, two members of the Scouts’ national executive board -- James Turley, chief executive officer of Ernst & Young accounting firm and Randall Stephenson, the CEO of AT&T -- have reportedly said they would try to work from within to change the membership policy.
Neither Turley nor Stephenson provided comment to CNSNews.com.
But in its statement, Mazzuca and the national Scout office said the Boy Scouts won’t change the policy just because two board members disagree with the policy.
“Scouting believes that good people can personally disagree on this topic and still work together to achieve the life-changing benefits to youth through Scouting,” the statement said.
“While not all Board members may personally agree with this policy, and may choose a different direction for their own organizations, BSA leadership agrees this is the best policy for the organization and supports it for the BSA.”