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Taking the lead in change

“The times, they are a’changing,” Andrea Mitchell of Andrea Mitchell Reports on NBC news said. I have been saying this, to an extent, for a while now. Apparently the Boy Scouts of America agrees. It was recently announced that the Boy Scouts, one of the nation’s largest private youth organizations, is “considering an end to its decades-long policy of banning gay scouts or scout leaders, according to scouting officials and outsiders familiar with internal discussions.” This is from an article by Pete Williams on Monday, Jan. 28.

If this passes through the organization’s board of directors, the ban will be taken out of the organization’s rules, and every unit and chapter will be able to decide whether to allow gay leaders or scouts. One chapter of the Boy Scouts in Maryland had included sexual orientation on the non-discrimination policy of their guidelines. The chapter was told to take that out because national leaders of the organization said it didn’t agree with their policies. Individual scouting troops are sponsored by religious and civic organizations and so represent a diversity of views on this subject.

After decades of controversy, one of the largest youth organizations is stepping into the fight. Just over six months ago, the organization upheld their ban after a two-year examination on the policy. Recently, pressure came from local chapters and two corporate CEOs to end the ban. Parents and leaders would then be allowed to choose chapters that best fit their beliefs and needs.

I applaud the Boy Scouts for accepting that things have to change. This country is not in the same place it used to be. Women can vote. Adults 21 and over can purchase and drink alcohol. Pregnant, unwed teens and young adults are not put in homes out of the sight of their town until they have their baby and give it up for adoption. So why can’t we let gay people be leaders to our young people? We need leaders for our children. If we let former criminals be leaders, why can’t we take this step? In Memphis Tenn., Mayor A C Wharton appointed five former gang-members and drug dealers to head up a violence intervention team. Yes, former criminals have lessons to teach young people. But so does everyone else, including gays and lesbians. Why shouldn’t we trust them to influence the children they lead when we do trust everyone else?

I am not condoning that lifestyle, and I am not condemning it. The question here is not the lifestyle these people choose to live but the leadership abilities they have. And I believe they would make great leaders to this country’s youth. People need to put aside their prejudices and think about what is best for others.




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