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In Theory: Should the Boy Scouts salute inclusion?

April 18, 2014

One of the topics up for discussion at the national meeting of the Presbyterian Church (USA) this year is the suggestion that the Boy Scouts institute polices that allow membership and leadership in the organization regardless of gender and sexual orientation.

Q: Is this a denomination trying to speak truth to social injustice or making a paternalistic statement telling others how they should live their lives?

I believe that the Presbyterian Church, the denomination out of which my denomination, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has sprung, places the highest priority on the safety of children. Children must never be in danger being led and facilitated by any who would have any other motive than the children's best interest as their foremost objective.

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The American Psychological Assn. has said in a recent report to the Southern Poverty Law Center that there is no evidence of a higher molestation rate of children by LGBT adults. Therefore adults of all orientations should be equally extensively vetted before being allowed to lead children. Again, children learn and prosper when they know they are safe.

In addition, children of all sexual orientations need well-meaning clear-headed compassionate adults who are not put off by the child's differences to guide that child to a productive adulthood. As a pastor I have worked with children whose parents have taken me aside and asked me if I thought their child was gay. I have always told those parents I am not concerned with your child's orientation. I am more concerned with how well they flourish under my leadership.

All denominations are struggling to catch up with a world that more and more understands that sexual orientation is not a sin or a virtue; it is simply a part of who each individual is. How can the Boy Scouts or a church, or any organization prepare children for a world of diversity if it refuses to accept and respect the entire varied world in which the child already lives?

The Rev. Dr. William Thomas Jr.
Little White Chapel
Burbank

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First of all, let me say that as a past youth-pastor of a PCA church, it was my understanding that the PCUSA denomination was contrarily liberal and didn't care at all what, or who, wanted to do anything, because the Bible did not apparently, decisively, inform any of their decisions. That this is an issue finds me intrigued, but having read the preliminary document to this question, I see that they are kvetching about Boy Scout leadership.

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