What an incredible moment it was yesterday when we learned that after years of delay, the Boy Scouts finally decided to allow openly gay youth to participate. This has been a long time coming and the Boy Scouts leadership took this step in the face of incredible opposition, particularly from religious conservatives. Unfortunately, that opposition means this was only a partial victory.
While the resolution is a step in the right direction, it is not entirely inclusive. Under the new ruling, the Boy Scouts still bar openly gay adults from serving as Scout leaders, and refuse atheist youth and adults from the organization. While the Boy Scouts of America has been nationally endorsed as an organization that provides values for our youth, it continues to uphold discriminatory policies.
At the Interfaith Alliance, we consider religious freedom, which includes the freedom to not believe in a supreme being, to be a key foundation of American democracy. Moreover, we believe that individual rights and matters of personal conscience are sacred and must be protected in our country. That being said, while we praise its decision to permit gay youth, we encourage the Boy Scouts of America to take additional action to ensure total inclusivity.