Barbara Weinstein: "One day, the Boy Scouts of America will recognize their decision as a mistake. We look forward to welcoming the Boy Scouts back into our synagogues - on the very day that they welcome all of our children into their organization."
Washington, D.C. July 19th, 2012 - In response to the decision of the Boy Scouts of America to continue their discriminatory policy of prohibiting gay and bisexual scouts and scoutmasters, Barbara Weinstein, Legislative Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
"This week, the Boy Scouts of America decided not to lift its ban on gay and bisexual scouts and scoutmasters. We are deeply troubled and disappointed in this decision.
"In our youth groups and at our synagogues, at our summer camps and at our Sunday schools, we have found that, like all children, LGBT children seek acceptance, a sense of belonging, and positive role models. The Boy Scouts' decision sends the opposite message, one of exclusion, telling boys that being gay or bisexual means they are unacceptable.
This is particularly troubling at a time when more is being revealed about the cost of persistent prejudice against LGBT youth - bullying, discrimination, harassment, and most tragically the high rate of suicide these too often lead to. It is a dangerous message that has been repudiated by vast segments of American society, from Fortune 500 companies to religious faiths such as our own Reform Movement to the military.
"As people of faith, we believe that all people are created in the image of the Divine, and as such are entitled to be treated with equal respect and humanity. That is why, in 1992, the Central Conference of American Rabbis called upon the Boy Scouts to end its discriminatory policy and the North American Federation of Temple Youth called upon all Reform Jewish youth to divest from and refuse participation in the Boy Scouts of America. It is also why, in 2001, we recommended that Reform synagogues refrain from sponsoring or housing Boy Scout troops and packs.
"One day, the Boy Scouts of America will recognize their decision as a mistake. We look forward to welcoming the Boy Scouts back into our synagogues - on the very day that they welcome all of our children into their organization."