Boy Scouts need to end the gay ban, now!

(Eric Gay/AP) As the mother of two former Boy Scouts, as the daughter of a former Cub Scout Den Mother … Continued

(Eric Gay/AP)

As the mother of two former Boy Scouts, as the daughter of a former Cub Scout Den Mother and as a priest and pastor I am paying attention as the Boy Scouts’ National Council gathers in Dallas this week to vote on a resolution on the Boy Scouts’ longstanding ban on gay members. And my message to them as they gather is that it is time for that ban to end.

It is time for the Boy Scouts to walk the talk of their diversity statement (“Scouts come from all walks of life, all types of family units, faiths, and racial and ethnic groups”) and to live out the Scout oath “to help other people at all times” by removing the asterisk after “other people*” that reads “*unless they are gay kids wanting to experience the gifts that Scouting offers.”

It is time to refuse to allow what is best about Scouting to be held hostage by homophobia. It is time to stop being blackmailed into bigotry by the increasingly strident voices from the fringe who insist that continued discrimination is their price tag for participation. It is time for equality.

We have been having this discussion for a very long time. Over a decade ago at its 2000 General Convention, the Episcopal Church adopted a resolution to “Encourage the Boy Scouts of America to allow membership to youth and adult leaders irrespective of their sexual orientation.” And today, faith leaders from the Methodists to the Mormons have issued statements supporting lifting the ban against gay kids.

The Boy Scouts do not “need more time” to send the message to young gay American kids that they are just as loved, valued and important as their straight friends and neighbors. They need to claim the courage of their convictions, the values of the Scout oath and do the right thing in Dallas.

The time is now to end discrimination against our kids — and fair minded Americans need to step up, speak out, and drown out the voices of those marginalizing and excluding gay youth from Scouting. Justice delayed IS justice denied — and both our kids and our country deserve better!

The Rev. Canon Susan Russell is Senior Associate at All Saints Church in Pasadena California.

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  • practica1

    How about we just end religiously influenced quasi-military organizations for kids?

    Can’t kids just learn and play together, with adult leadership, without it having to be dens and troops and men in funny costumes?

  • theFSM

    I’m fine with them, just as long as they don’t receive public funds. Keep it inclusive to all, and thou shall receive thy public funds.

  • LGBT Youth Allies (

    Check out an in-depth and recently updated analysis of the issues in Question-and-Answer format, at youthallies (dot) com

  • dcrswm

    Practica, the point of a structured system is for the boys to learn leadership skills themselves, not to simply do what is dictated to them by adults. That is why you see groups within groups with leaders and a merit based hierarchy, much like the real world……

  • FrenchChef

    Thank you for your contribution, Rev. Russell. You, your congregation, and your church, stand as a shining light of morality in America, as opposed to the shocking immorality of trying to hurt LGBT Americans.

  • Revsusanrussell3

    Thanks so much!

  • rhc52

    Well said, Canon Russell. As a scout leader and an Episcopalian I believe it is high time that we reject the notion that the “religious right” has a copywrite on the word “Christian” or ownership of the BSA.

  • Revsusanrussell3

    Word just in that the Boy Scouts have lifted the ban against gay scouts but will continue to discriminate against gay leaders. A wise mentor of mine once encouraged us to “set audacious goals and celebrate incremental victories.” This is absolutley an incremental victory to celebrate — even as we work toward the audacious goal of ending homopobic based discrmination. Period.

  • crisppusa

    Rev Canon Susan Russell….. how did this slug get on the National Council

    It appears….these weasel delegates….masked …hid…deceived… local regional council with
    their good intentions.

    Remember …Boy Scout Oath & Law asks for good will between members. ….Not Godless Illwill.
    The Church fo the Leftist… is apparently complicit in the plan to destroy the “Goodwill and Achievments
    of 100 Year of Scouting.
    The Law of the Pack

    The Cub Scout follows Akela.
    The Cub Scout helps the pack go.
    The pack helps the Cub Scout grow.
    The Cub Scout gives goodwill.

    They have…shown a directed — planned attack on America’s character builders the BSA.

    Susan Russell you are a disgrace…& not fit for office or council.

  • crisppusa

    The Church of the Left… has —a copyright on— deception /deceit/
    all– a far cry from — the ” simple clean principles of Scouting”

    Your delegation …attends to destroy principle…attend by deceit & ill will.
    In essence…. the church of the left …opposes every thing the BSA stands for.
    Is that not a “copyright of — the seeming godless.”

    The deceivers {yeah} Canon Susan Russell mock the principle of character -truth – goodwill –
    between members.

    ** Like all gouls — They fear the lowly Cub Scout Pack
    The Law of the Pack

    The Cub Scout follows Akela. { Akela – supposed to be responsible adults /parents etc}
    The Cub Scout helps the pack go.
    The pack helps the Cub Scout grow.
    The Cub Scout gives goodwill.

    The ill will toward others – & – deceitful tactics of “false flags ” church delegates …make this
    vote…. a travesty of tyrants.
    Church delegates voting in this way….violated the very tenants they took at oath.

    This vote must be redone.. The National Council must send all delegates home.
    Godless Bad Faith ….is the product & consequence of such deceitful delegates.

  • crisppusa

    Your kidding of course.

    The Law of the Pack……..even a Cub Scout know better. Canon?? Susan Russell is perfect
    example of the deceit …now practiced by the church of the left. Principles are meaningless.

    The Cub Scout follows Akela.
    The Cub Scout helps the pack go.
    The pack helps the Cub Scout grow.
    The Cub Scout gives goodwill.

  • crisppusa

    Canon?? Wrapping herself in the church of the left’s flag….. Susan..has changed her tune.
    To be a delegate …she must deceive…& fool those silly regional councils…that pick delegates.

    For the church of the left….the cadgeing of the BSA …is deception / masked opinions…pretense to be
    for Cub Scout and Boy Scout oath and law.

    Ill will …instead of “good will”….is evident. Every tenant calls for BSA [Akela -Adults ] to work with
    each other in goodwill & cooperation.

    These tilted church delegates…. had only “bad faith motives”… to overturn 103 years of the BSA tradtion.

    Disgusting….Ill Will…… Violated their oath on the National Council…
    Political tyranny …hidden by such–peddlers & deceivers…. has attacked “every positive principle of Scouting”
    Susan…you are ” an out & out denier of the BSA” You have the
    “moral low ground ” as fake –faith delegate