'Stand with Scouts' sets forth action plan
NASHVILLE (BP) -- "Stand with Scouts," a national simulcast by the Family Research Council, urged viewers to preserve Scouting's traditional values by opposing a policy change to allow youth who identify themselves as gay to become Scouts.
Organizers said the online simulcast's purpose May 5 was to provide information about the significance of the proposed change and how people can get involved.
The proposed policy, unanimously recommended by the Boy Scouts Executive Committee, states in part, "No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone." The matter will be put to a vote by Scouting's 1,432 voting members at the national convention May 23 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
John Stemberger, an attorney and Eagle Scout, told Family Research Council President Tony Perkins the policy change would "devastate" Scouting.
Stemberger is the founder of OnMyHonor.net, which describes itself as a "nationwide coalition of concerned parents, Scout leaders, Scouting donors, Eagle Scouts and other members of the Boy Scouts of America who are united in their support of Scouting's current membership policies and their opposition to the proposed resolution which requires open homosexuality in the Boy Scouts."
After he and Perkins encouraged people to pray for the May 23 vote and the delegates, Stemberger set forth a three-part strategy to connect, network and rally.
People can connect by signing up for e-mail alerts at www.OnMyHonor.net. The site offers 10 ways they can get involved to make a difference, and its resources include an open letter to the voting delegates of the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America titled, "Ten reasons to vote no on openly gay Boy Scout resolution." Stemberger asked that voting delegates identify themselves when signing up at the site.
The networking aspect of the strategy includes social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter to circulate information.
Rallies to support the Scouts' longstanding policy will be held May 17 at area councils. Scouts and others concerned about the proposed change are encouraged to participate in one of the rallies, to be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. local time around country.
Throughout the simulcast, speakers addressed the major issues the Boy Scouts will face if they allow membership to openly homosexual boys, underscoring the importance of taking action to "preserve Scouting as its founders envisioned it."
"It's all about convictions," said Congressman Steven Palazzo, R.-Miss., who expressed concern that the Boy Scouts are being "harassed and ridiculed by liberal media" for their beliefs. "If we can't stand up for the Boy Scouts, then what does America stand for?"
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, an Eagle Scout and supporter of the current policy that bans openly homosexual boys and men from participating in Scouting, described Scouting as a bedrock of values and traditions and a developer of men.
Concerning the proposed change Perry said, "I hope the American people will stand up and say, 'Not on my watch.'"
Don Beehler is a writer and public relations consultant in Franklin, Tenn. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).