SYNAGOGUES and other Jewish organisations across the US are cutting ties with the BSA over its policy of discriminating against gay members and leaders.
One example of the strained relationship between Jews and the Boy Scouts over the issue of homosexuality will be manifest itself next week in New Orleans.
For the last decade, Touro Synagogue hosted an event for Boy Scouts to learn the virtues of the Ten Commandments during a Thanksgiving Day festival organised with local churches and mosques.
But this year, for the first time, the synagogue withdrew its support because of Boy Scouts discriminatory policies towards gay people.
Back in July, after a two-year review, the Boy Scouts of America announced it would retain its ban on gay members, volunteers and staff.
Rabbi Alexis Berk, who used to host the Boy Scouts at her Reform Synagogue told the Religious News Service:
Maybe it would be one thing if this were a long-standing policy and they’d never revisited it – but the fact that they freshly revisited it and rendered a freshly bigoted opinion, well, I freshly feel like I can’t participate.
Jewish scouting leader Alan Smason said:
I can’t participate in religious experience that uses religion as a hook on which to hang bigotry. My personal opinion is the Scouting policy in place now is wrong. They’re discriminating, and there’s no way to justify discrimination in this day and age.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the National Jewish Committee , A J Kreimer told the Religious News Service:
This position has taxed Scouting’s relationship with the Jewish community. Our committee’s motto since 1926 has been ‘Scouting Serves the Jewish Community’ – and that relationship has been strained.
News of the Jewish groups’ losing patience with the BSA came shortly after America’s Family Research Council – officially designated as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Centre because it engages “in baseless, incendiary name-calling and spreads demonizing lies about the LGBT community” – lived up to its reputation when its President, Tony Perkins, defended the Boy Scouts’ anti-gay policy with an argument that paints gay people as paedophiles.
What UPS and other corporations refuse to acknowledge is that the Scouts’ policy isn’t a matter of intolerance – but security. After hundreds of cases of child sex abuse plagued the organization, the BSA tried to create a membership criteria in the best interest of kids’ safety and parents’ rights.
The BSA was recently forced to release what are commonly called the “Perversion Files”, which was a list of cases of suspected sexual abuse along with a list of potential abusers.
The list blatantly grouped anyone found to be gay alongside actual paedophiles.
Over the years, the Boy Scouts have paid millions — possibly hundreds of millions — to boys victimized by same-sex predators. And the financial toll was nothing compared to the emotional trauma of these children, whose lives are forever scarred by those encounters.
For more than 100 years, the Scouts have focused on instilling character and leadership into America’s boys. They aren’t about to compromise that mission just to placate liberal companies and activists.
The Boy Scouts’ anti-gay policy is not limited only to men either. Among the most high-profile recent cases is that of Jennifer Tyrrell, a mom who is a lesbian and who was removed as a den leader earlier this year.
Perkins and FRC are not alone in defending the Boy Scouts by claiming young boys need to be protected from gay people. Fox wingnut Mike Huckabee took a call on his radio show from a molestation victim and said:
You make us all understand why the Boy Scouts made a decision that at least I think was the right one.