I was sad to read the article in the July 5 Metro section reporting that Grace Baptist Church would not renew its sponsorship of Scouting. As an Eagle Scout, the father of two Eagle Scouts and a adult volunteer, I can say that Scouting has been a major influence in my life and that of my family. The controversy over the “membership standards” threatens the very important work that Scouting does in developing good citizens and good leaders for our country.
Scouting has not abandoned its principles, nor has it given way to “political correctness.” Rather, it is a recognition that youth who are homosexuals have the same need for the experiences offered by Scouting as every other young man in America, and that our country will be stronger for the good citizens produced by the Scouting movement.
While I can understand the concerns over safety for boys in the program, Scouting already has in place a rock-solid youth protection program to guard against any type of abuse. Anyone can view this training on the National Council website.
Finally, I want to express my gratitude to my pastor, the Rev. Greg Porterfield of Wesley United Methodist Church, for his stance on this issue, as reported in your article, and to other United Methodist congregations in the CSRA that have stepped up to offer sponsorship to Scout units that may have lost their sponsors because of the change in membership standards.
The important work of Scouting must go on. It is still the same great organization it has always been. I urge everyone’s continued support for the Scouting movement.
Robert W. Thomas