Scouts place flags in cemetery

A Boy Scout helps place U.S. flags next to head stones at Fort Sam Houston Memorial Cemetery on Friday for Memorial Day in San Antonio. Scouts place more that 100,000 flags at the cemetery. After Thursday’s vote to allow gay Scouts, local religious sponsors of troops are uncertain what changes the policy will bring.

AP/Eric Gay

Thursday’s decision by the Boy Scouts of America to allow gay Scouts into its membership has raised questions about how the organizations that support Boy Scout troops at the state and local level will respond.

More than 60 percent of the BSA’s National Council members voted Thursday to lift the ban on gay Scouts by supporting a proposal drafted by the organization’s executive committee. The new policy, which goes into effect Jan. 1, will not remove the ban on gay adults who want to be Scout leaders.

While the BSA has addressed the controversial question of gay youth in Scouting, it remains to be seen whether the various organizations that charter troops, many with religious affiliations, will continue their support.

In the BSA’s Leon Valley District — which covers Killeen, Harker Heights, Copperas Cove and other areas in Central Texas — most of the organizations that charter local Scout troops are affiliated with a church or other religious group.

The district’s website shows that 14 of the 22 Boy Scout troops listed were chartered by churches such as Crestview Christian Church, Trinity Baptist Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Killeen and Cove, and St. Paul Chong Hasang Catholic Church, or by affiliated religious organizations such as the Knights of Columbus of Killeen.

Even with the policy change looming, local Scout troop leader Clair Stringham said he did not think things would change much for his troop.

“I think there has been individual concerns,” said Stringham, a Scout leader for Troop 243 in Killeen. “But overall, things for us won’t really be that different.”

Stringham’s Scout troop is chartered by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Killeen.

Shortly after the BSA announced the decision, the church released a statement that appears to indicate it would continue to support Scouting.

“Sexual orientation has not previously been — and is not now — a disqualifying factor for boys who want to join Latter-day Saint Scout troops,” according to the statement, released Thursday. “Willingness

to abide by standards of behavior continues to be our compelling interest.”

According to the Leon Valley District’s website, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints charters six area troops.

The website also shows that three local troops are chartered by Catholic churches or Catholic-affiliated organizations such as the Knights of Columbus. A statement from the National Catholic Committee on Scouting released Thursday said the church is still considering its response.

“Since the change in policy will not take effect until Jan. 1, 2014, the National Catholic Committee on Scouting has adequate time to study its effects,” the statement read. “The NCCS will determine how it may impact Catholic chartered Scout units and activities. In doing so, we will work within the teachings of our Catholic faith and with the various local bishops and their diocesan Scouting committees.”

Contact Chris McGuinness at or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

(4) comments


To the Boy Scouts of America, all I have to say is 'this is a sad day for scouting'. To the scout master, Clair Stringham, It must be lovely up in the clouds. I personally think that any scout, of straight orientation, would look upon any scout, of a different orientation, with disdain and so will the parents of said scout. I personally would not allow a child of mine to join an organization that allows openly gay kids. I would not give to a group that supports 'mixed' groups. I guess we should modify the oath ending with the line – Morally – Eh. We can't say – Morally straight anymore. It's too bad the BSA's National Council didn't have the backbone to keep the organization – morally straight.


Appearing in the New Yorker publication

May 24, 2013
Scalia Resigns Post as Scoutmaster
Posted by Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who for the past forty-seven years has served as a weekend scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America, angrily resigned from that position yesterday, effective immediately.

Justice Scalia quit his post in a terse resignation letter that read, in part:

“Some of the happiest memories of my adult life have been as a scoutmaster. Huddling under blankets around the campfire, and so forth. But now, all of that has been ruined. Ruined.”

Shortly after sending the letter, Justice Scalia destroyed his scoutmaster uniform in the blazing fireplace of his Supreme Court office.

Later, he went across the hall to share his decision with his close confidant on the Court, Justice Clarence Thomas, telling him, “There’s nowhere I feel safe anymore, Clarence. The military? The N.B.A.? Nowhere. I guess the only place I still feel safe is the Supreme Court. This is still a safe place, isn’t it?”

Justice Thomas said nothing in reply.


The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.

Scout Oath
On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.

From reading the above Boy Scout Mission and Oath, I see nothing, that pertains to there being a need, or requirement, to allow gay members into the organization. As a matter of fact ,I see that the value of being morally 'straight' is one of the core values.

Since the organization is supposedly all about ,what most adults, consider 'boys',
I would wonder how many boys were allowed to vote in this very important decision which has been made pertaining to' them' and 'their' organization. I would bet, the boys themselves, had no say what so ever.

I have a feeling, this vote was to open the door, to work the gay adults into a position connected to the Boy Scouts.

Its been stated ,No Adults will be allowed to join. But if the adults who have allowed this new law to pass faces reality, you have to know, that is the next step on the agenda. I think that's really what it was all about, and now the door has been opened. Another American tradition has been allowed to start eroding.

Proud Mother of an Army Avi8er

I believe to each their own as long as they do not push their values and beliefs on me.
I didn't know the Scouts had religious affiliation. Oh the atheist will be jumping on their soap boxes. God help us all...

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