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Sexual orientation and faith - BSA stance vs. CO

I’m not sure how to ask this question, so I will ask it as straight forward as I possibly can.

We are considering a new CO. The new CO is a church and, not surprisingly, they have specific views on sexual-orientation and faith. The CO has concerns with the BSA’s stance on these two topics, and, they have specifically said that any unit associated with them would have to be completely aligned with “their own views”. I don’t know exactly what they meant by that, but I can read between the lines to an extent. Anyway, I was under the impression that, regardless of BSA’s non-discriminatory approach, that a CO still had local authority to permit/deny membership (for both leaders and scouts) based on the criteria of sexual orientation and faith, as the CO sets the aims and value of any unit. Is my assumption not accurate?

When it comes down to the nitty gritty, I’m basically clueless about this. And I wouldn’t want to give a potential CO any misrepresentation of what is/isn’t allowed in Scouting.

Thanks.

From Boy Scouts of America Membership Standards

The Boy Scouts of America allows chartered organizations to select adult leaders without regard to sexual orientation, continuing Scouting’s long-standing policy of chartered organizations selecting their leaders. This allows Scouting’s members and parents to select local units, chartered to organizations with similar beliefs, that best meet the needs of their families. This change also respects the right of religious chartered organizations to continue to choose adult leaders whose beliefs are consistent with their own.

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Don’t make assumptions, ask your CO for clarification on what specific views they have that they are concerned about. We are charted by a liberal church (Unitarian Universalist) and they have very specific expectations of us that they verbally communicated to our founding Key 3 leaders (I am one of them) when they initially approved our charter. These include: be open and welcoming to all regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability; operate as “linked” troops that utilize cooperative leadership between both troops, recruit a diverse membership, incorporate Unitarian Universalist principles, etc. We have recently had some parents (not members of our faith) push back against how we are putting some of this into practice, so as part of the current recharter process we are working with our chartering org to write a formal document that I am calling a “basic tenets agreement” that provides specific requirements and basic principles that our CO has of our scouting program and how we operate. The BSA charter document that the CO signs as part of the recharter process does not really address well the relationship between the units and the CO, so I highly encourage Key 3 to develop an agreement with the CO that clarifies the expectations and the relationship between the units and the CO.

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Youth members v.s. volunteer adult leaders

In reply to:

regardless of BSA’s non-discriminatory approach, that a CO still had local authority to permit/deny membership (for both leaders and scouts) based on the criteria of sexual orientation and faith, as the CO sets the aims and value of any unit. Is my assumption not accurate?

@HuntFishCamp
My interpretation of BSA policies is that the CO may deny membership for the adult leader but not the youth. I have not seen any policy related to a parent or guardian partner of a child who is in kindergarten or the first grade with a Cub Scouting family pack.

I recommend getting your councli’s Scout Executive involved with recruiting the new CO.

Declaration of Religious Principle (DRP)

CHARTER AND BYLAWS OF THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA, 100-491, ©2019 Boy Scouts of America, June 2019 revision, 2019 printing, p. 19

BYLAWS—ARTICLE IX, POLICIES, Section 1

Declaration of Religious Principle

Freedom

Clause 3 . In no case where a unit is connected with a church or other distinctively religious organization shall members of other denominations or faiths be required, because of their membership in the unit, to take part in or observe a religious ceremony distinctly unique to that organization or church. However, no church or religious organization holding a valid charter shall be required to accept as an adult leader any person whose espoused personal beliefs are in conflict with the chartered organization’s religious principles.

Previous Discussion

It has been about 2-3 years since my last search so I am not sure how much has changed since 2018.

Membership Standards

@Bill_W - this has to experience its sunset. ^^^^^

The DRP is the most absurd conglomeration of Anglo words ever composed. Pure and utter nonsense

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