In an interview yesterday with John Stemberger of the Florida Family Policy Council, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins alleged that the Boy Scouts of America will “throw the door open” to “sexual predators” by lifting their national ban on gay members and will face more child molestation lawsuits as a result. Stemberger warned that Boy Scouts will now have members who “promote this behavior and promote their personal sexuality.”
Perkins: The national board released about 15,000 pages of documentation on sexual predators and what had taken place in the Scouts from 1960-1995. One lawsuit alone cost the Scouts a settlement of about $20 million. Through the litigation the leading attorney who has litigated for the families of what they called the ‘preyed upon children’ estimates that each predator molested up to twenty-five children, roughly 1,900 predators’ names were revealed. This is under the current policy which forbids those who would be inclined to this from coming in, what’s going to happen when they just throw the door open?
Stemberger: The amazing thing really is that right now there are people that have a same-sex attraction involved with scouting but the rule is, kind of similar to the military, you just can’t be open about it. That’s the difference, there are lots of people who just want to live their lives privately—fine—but for those people who want to come out and promote this behavior and promote their personal sexuality, it’s inappropriate. There’s no place for this whatsoever in scouting and it’s just stunning that they are even considering a decision like this because of financial and political pressure.
Perkins: I imagine it’s going to cost them a lot more if they have any lawsuits along the lines of this.
Stemberger maintained that the admission of openly gay members is “insanity” and could “destroy” the Boy Scouts. He even said the “greatest threat” is not gay troop leaders but gay kids. “The greatest threat immediately is going to be not just adults but it’s going to be the kids,” Stemberger told Perkins. “There are so many young people today in high school and public school especially who are acting out homosexuality just because it’s the popular and cool thing, so you’re going to have lots of crazy stuff happening with boys.”
Perkins: Well obviously this news had to be very disappointing not only to you but your sons who have been involved in scouting as well.
Stemberger: It’s extraordinarily disappointing and if they go ahead with this decision next week I think it’s going to have an extraordinary impact, it’s not going to be good. I think you’re going to see a mass exodus, obviously Catholics, Mormons and Southern Baptists are all going to be very concerned about this. I just hope that they do not cave. The greatest threat immediately is going to be not just adults but it’s going to be the kids. There are so many young people today in high school and public school especially who are acting out homosexuality just because it’s the popular and cool thing, so you’re going to have lots of crazy stuff happening with boys. We’ve been through a whole round of problems that the Scouts have had with improper conduct with adults over the years and this just seems insanity to me that they would open the door and allow openly gay leaders and boys to flourish. Even if it is at a local level, so much of what goes on in scouting is not just local, you have district camporees, you have national jamborees, the order of the arrow involves people and summer camps; you know so much of it is working together with a district or a council or the Scouts nationally. So I think it’s a very negative thing which is going to have long-term repercussions which could destroy the entire program itself.