Scouts' Plan Makes for Some Unhappy Campers
The Boy Scouts must have gone to the Barack Obama School of Media Management, where rule number one of controversial news-making is burying the story on a busy Friday. The BSA headquarters tried that strategy unsuccessfully last week, hoping Boston's massive manhunt might overshadow a bombshell of its own. In a move that caught both sides by surprise, Scouting's national headquarters has proposed yet another ill-advised "compromise." As part of the resolution to be voted on next month, the BSA Executive Committee is recommending that the organization allow open homosexuality among boys--but ban it for adults.
"Youth membership in the Boy Scouts of America is open to all youth..." the proposed resolution reads. "No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone." Like its other failed bargain, which would have let individual councils decide their membership policy, this is a completely unworkable solution that neither side can support. While the Scouts are desperately trying to straddle the fence, the reality is that true morality isn't dictated by age. If it's wrong at 30, then it's wrong at 13. What this resolution would suggest is that homosexuality is acceptable until a boy is 18--and then, suddenly, it's not.
Both sides agree: That's a ridiculous distinction. Either homosexuality is compatible with Scouting values or it isn't. Anything less, FRC's Ken Klukowski explains, would forfeit the organization's First Amendment protection in court. Liberals at the Human Rights Campaign, Washington Post, and Time magazine blasted the Boy Scouts for even floating such an idea. As far as HRC is concerned, the resolution "continues discrimination against parents and in employment." Scouting parents were equally outraged. After all, this opens the door to homosexuality across the ranks, giving an all-important foothold to those who would eventually abolish the ban altogether.
John Stemberger, who is helping to beat back this attack on Scouting, wrote a great op-ed in today's Washington Times that explains how this resolution is a violation of parents' trust and children's safety. Under the current policy, the Scouts' application doesn't even ask about sexual orientation. "...[T]here are currently Scouts and adult leaders in uniform who have same-sex attractions and who are in good standing with the program. They are discreet... they are private, they are discerning, and most of all, they conduct themselves appropriately in front of other young boys..."
So what's the national controversy about? "The real issue is this: Homosexual-rights activists are not satisfied with membership in good standing... they want to be able to openly promote homosexuality. They want to promote a gay-rights political agenda... They want to inappropriately inject sex and politics into the BSA program, where children as young as six years old are involved."
You can help stop this from happening. Join thousands of Americans across the national at 7:00 p.m. (EDT) on May 5 for our special Stand with Scouts Sunday simulcast, as prominent leaders urge the Scouts to practice the courage they teach. Click here for information on how you or your church can tune in or host your own Stand with Scouts Sunday event!
Nevada Ups the Ante on Marriage
It looks like the gambling capital of the world is ready to take its chances on marriage. Five months after Judge Robert Jones dealt conservatives a winning hand in court, the Nevada State Senate is getting to work on a piece of legislation that would overrule his strong opinion. If state liberals are successful, theNevada marriage amendment--which passed not once, but twice--would be well on its way to repeal. Under state law, the legislature would have to pass its same-sex "marriage" resolution two consecutive years--2013 and 2014--before voters would get a crack at approving it in 2015.
Although the measure passed out of committee 11-10, the two sides could not be more divided. State Sen. Pat Spearman, a lesbian minister, tried to attract more support by attaching a weak religious exemption to the overall bill. And while some leaders seem reassured by the change, the reality is that the biggest targets--Christian businessmen and facilities--are just as vulnerable as they ever were. Spearman's language is directed at religious groups--not religious people, who tend to be the most directly affected.
Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis (D), a Mormon, says he struggled with the proposal but thinks the new amendment will protect people who object. Take it from Washington State--it won't. There, a Christian florist is facing two lawsuits--simply for exercising her conscience. When she refused to help a longtime client with his "wedding," the state attorney general sued her, and the ACLU followed. So much for her religious liberty! All the talk about conscience exemptions was just a head fake so that the Left could garner more votes. After watching so many bakers, photographers, florists, and banquet halls lose their rights, Nevada should know better. If you live in the state, contact your leaders this week and urge them to reject Senate Joint Resolution 13--before it's too late!
Brownback Gives Back to Patients
When Governor Sam Brownback said he wanted to build a culture of life, he meant literally. This morning, the Kansas leader made good on his promise by signing SB 199 into law, effectively creating the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center for the advancement of ethical cures. For lifelong experts and bioethicists like FRC's Dr. David Prentice, today's ceremony was the fulfillment of a longtime dream to create a central location for patient-focused trials, resources and training programs, and new and improved therapies.
Dr. Prentice, who helped write the proposal, spoke at today's signing, expressed his gratitude to Gov. Brownback and the others who championed this important legislation. "Kansas is well positioned to become a leader in this medical revolution, and a unique global resource. Adult and cord blood stem cell therapies are rapidly blooming, and the Center can make Kansas a focal point for therapies, education, and training... The potential benefits for patients are immeasurable." Congratulations to Dr. Prentice, Governor Brownback, and all Kansans on this incredible achievement!
** What are Americans getting for the big investment we're making in foreign aid? FRC's Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison explain in a new Townhall.com op-ed, "Egypt Persecutes Christians and Americans Pay the Bill." Also, what's next for the Boston Marathon bombing suspect? A civilian criminal trial, which FRC's Ken Klukowski breaks down in his new Breitbart column.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.