Nice to see Boy Scouts welcoming gay youth

As the pastor of a church that hosts a Boy Scout troop, I was grateful to read not only that the Boy Scouts of America will now welcome gay youth, but that the executive of the local council, Russell Etzenhouser, fully supports it, too. Our church adopted a vision statement a few years ago that affirms our welcome to all people regardless of any social barrier, including sexual orientation. My hope now is that the organization will complete the good work it has begun and lift the ban on gay Scout leaders as well.

Unfortunately, gay people have been the victim of mistaken identity, with people wrongly assuming that gay people are more prone to be pedophiles than straight people. The truth is that pedophiles are found roughly equally among gays and straights, as a percentage of the overall population of each. Because there are many more straight people than gay people, there are also many more heterosexual pedophiles than homosexual pedophiles. If the Boy Scouts truly wants to protect children, it needs to recognize that Scouts do not need to be protected from gay people, but from pedophiles.

I’m sure the Boy Scouts of America is simply testing the waters by taking these decisions one step at a time, because many host groups, especially churches, have said they will pull out now. I am troubled by that. In a time when some gay people still end their lives because of who they are, shouldn’t the church be the one place where all people are welcome and loved, and all life is held sacred? Isn’t that what Jesus was all about? Thankfully, there are many churches that do welcome all people and are even more thankful now that the Boy Scouts in our buildings have begun to do the right thing.

Rev. Langdon “Buddy” Hubbard

Pastor, First Presbyterian Church

East Aurora