Monday, January 28, 2013

Scouting for Equality: Will the BSA get it right at last?

Mr. Wayne Perry, President
Boy Scouts of America 
1325 Walnut Hill Lane 
P.O. Box 152079 
Irving, Texas 75015-2079

Dear Mr. Perry,

As a Rabbi, Charter Organization Head, Cubmaster, BSA Chaplain, Northern New Jersey Council Member at Large, father of 3 cubs, supporter of Friends of Scouting and member of the Jewish Committee on Scouting...

...I was thrilled to hear that the national policy of the Boy Scouts of America on homosexuality may finally be changed to no longer conflict with the Declaration of Religious Principles.  

Just this year my own children's Jewish Day School refused to renew its charter over this issue.  

The morality of homosexuality is informed by the religious community to which a scout, and/or a charter organization belong.  My religion teaches me that homosexuality is a valid creation of God.  The national organization must not abrogate BSA's own Declaration of Religious Principles by vetoing my approval of scouts and scouters in my synagogue's scouting program.

I recognize that other religions, and even other denominations of my own religion, interpret this teaching differently.  That is precisely why the national organization must leave the matter up to the conscience of the individual scout and scouter, or to the house of worship if it is a religious charter organization.

I was sent an e-mail saying that your board is "actively considering an end to their national ban on gay and non-theist members and leaders. Chartered organizations that oversee and deliver scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with their organization's mission, principles or religious beliefs, said Deron Smith, a spokesman for the Boy Scouts'..."

Please confirm that this is true.  

I have, while in the Heart of America Council and here in New Jersey, always said that this is the only policy consistent with scouting's core values of religious diversity in service to God and Nation.  

If we can affirm the priority of the Declaration of Religious Principle in this matter, it will help in my recruitment and my ability to find tangible support for scouting in my region.

I look forward to your timely reply.

Yours in Scouting,

Rabbi Robert L. Tobin

CC: Stephen Gray, Scout Executive NNJC

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