- No mas: Principal bans Spanish language in intercom announcement
- Hacking software could put ‘zombie drone army’ in user’s hands
- Support for stricter gun laws drops: poll
- 10 whales dead, 41 others stranded in Everglades
- John Boehner faces bipartisan pressure to allow gay-rights vote
- Martin Bashir resigns from MSNBC over ‘ill-judged’ comments about Sarah Palin
- Rep. Duncan Hunter: While Obama prays for Iranian change, U.S. should ready its nukes
- Best company ever? Veteran Beer Co. exists to employ vets, provide quality beer
- Iran official: Sanctions ‘utterly failed’ to stop nuclear program
- ‘Black Santa’ display at IU sparks student outrage
Evangelical weakness in gay Boy Scouts debate could hurt GOP
Signs of waning evangelical power in the nation’s culture wars and in Republican policy — and some unexpected challenges for GOP candidates — loom as the 103-year-old Boy Scouts of America gears up for a definitive vote this week on whether to welcome openly gay youths into the organization’s ranks.
If the BSA delegates gathering just outside Dallas vote to admit gays, it will reinforce the growing notion that evangelical Protestants and their conservative Catholic allies no longer can muster their troops as they once did, in such battles as state referendums over same-sex marriage and the 1996 enactment of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
“There’s no lobby more vicious than the homosexual lobby, and the 65 to 80 million-member evangelical constituency provides no troops for the fight against that lobby,” said David Lane, president of Pastors & Pews and a leading religious right political organizer. “Evangelicals are playing checkers in a chess game.”
A prominent Mormon and board member of a national conservative political organization said privately said that his church, bruised from public relations battles with gay-rights activist groups, has been left holding the financial bag after other denominations failed to come through with promised aid in the fight for Proposition 8, California’s voter initiative against same-sex marriage. The Mormon church has moved on to other battles in the cultural wars rather than take on the gay-rights activists.
After floating a plan to end the 3.9 million-member group’s ban on gays, BSA leaders have crafted a compromise that would allow openly gay Scouts to participate but maintain the ban on adult gay Scout leaders. Even that move sparked adamant opposition from some Christian leaders, especially those who ally with the Republican Party.
Reed’s role in question
Mr. Reed, the evangelical founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition who has been involved in Scouting for 43 years, said he took the job to build bridges between BSA officials and religious leaders who oppose changing the policy on homosexuality.
“My role was to facilitate a dialogue based on mutual understanding and respect, including respect for the deeply-held religious views of the evangelical community,” Mr. Reed, an Eagle Scout, said in a statement. “At no time have I advocated to anyone that the Scouts should change their membership policy.”
“Ralph can issue all the statements on his opposition to the pro-gay resolution he wants, but he was paid money by the BSA to help them set up meetings to try and pass the resolution — and actions speak louder than words,” said Mr. Stemberger, a constitutional lawyer, Eagle Scout and father of two boys in Scouting.
Mr. Reed has the support of Stu Epperson, chairman of the country’s largest Christian radio network and an opponent of the proposed policy change. Mr. Epperson said in a statement that Mr. Reed’s efforts “helped us more fully understand the enormous pressure the BSA is under to accommodate the gay agenda. Those Scout leaders (I’m told they are in the minority) opposed to the change need and deserve our support.”
BSA officials say they fully understand the angst the proposed change engenders.
“The Boy Scouts of America respects the deeply held religious beliefs of the faith community,” said Deron Smith, BSA public relations director. “Ralph Reed is a lifelong [Scout] and supporter of the program and has helped the Boy Scouts arrange conversations with the faith community.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Chief political writer Ralph Z. Hallow served on the Chicago Tribune, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Washington Times editorial boards, was Ford Foundation Fellow in Urban Journalism at Northwestern University, resident at Columbia University Editorial-Page Editors Seminar and has filed from Berlin, Bonn, London, Paris, Geneva, Vienna, Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Belgrade, Bucharest, Panama and Guatemala.
- Jindal v. Obama: The new school choice battle; La. voucher fight revives reform led by conservatives
- Chris Christie's coup: George W. Bush appears on his behalf at GOP summit
- GOP governors lay out own agenda with Washington gridlocked
- Walker, Christie: The tale of 2 very different GOPers on a quest for the presidency
- Rick Perry visits Israel again, insists GOP won't be bruised by Ted Cruz
Latest Blog Entries
- Hola: Boehner prepares to push amnesty bill through House
- Apple wins facial recognition patent for iPhone 6
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- Puerto Rico caravan honoring Paul Walker ends in 6 drunken-driving arrests, 72 speeding tickets
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- Xbox One, Playstation 4 games penalize users for cursing in their own homes
- MILLER: Obamas EPA closing smelter will not affect ammunition supply
- Pentagon may give recruits 'a shot to start over' after shameful social media posts
- Tipsforjesus mystery diner leaves huge tips across America
- U.S. drops 2,000 mice on Guam by parachute to kill snakes
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Playing Through covers the world of PGA golf, as well as tips your the average golfer to play better.
The only thing broken about our immigration policy has been our collective cowardice as a nation to enforce our current immigration laws
Al Maurer provides a common sense, conservatarian, Constitutional conservative perspective from the battleground state of Colorado
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.