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Ask Congress to revoke the congressional charter of the Boy Scouts of America

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The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has in place policies of discrimination which prohibit youth and adult volunteers from membership who are openly gay or lesbian as well as those who are atheist, agnostic or non-religious. We believe these policies are inconsistent with American values and should not be the policy of an organization chartered by the Congress of the United States of America.  

To wit,  

1) The BSA forbids open homosexuals and bisexuals from membership. The following policy statement was issued by the BSA in 2004: "Boy Scouts of America believes that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the obligations in the Scout Oath and Scout Law to be morally straight and clean in thought, word, and deed. The conduct of youth members must be in compliance with the Scout Oath and Law, and membership in Boy Scouts of America is contingent upon the willingness to accept Scouting’s values and beliefs. Most boys join Scouting when they are 10 or 11 years old. As they continue in the program, all Scouts are expected to take leadership positions. In the unlikely event that an older boy were to hold himself out as homosexual, he would not be able to continue in a youth leadership position."  

As recently as June 7, 2012 the BSA clarified its policy in a press release stating, "The BSA policy is: 'While the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA. Scouting believes same-sex attraction should be introduced and discussed outside of its program with parents, caregivers, or spiritual advisers, at the appropriate time and in the right setting. The vast majority of parents we serve value this right and do not sign their children up for Scouting for it to introduce or discuss, in any way, these topics. The BSA is a voluntary, private organization that sets policies that are best for the organization. The BSA welcomes all who share its beliefs but does not criticize or condemn those who wish to follow a different path.'"  

This position, a "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy, was rejected by Congress for the military in 2010. Consequently we believe this discriminatory policy is inconsistent with American values of equality as expressed by Congress.  

2) The BSA forbids agnostics, atheists or other non-religious youth and adult volunteers from membership.  

Article IX, Section1 of the Charter And Bylaws of the BSA state: "The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. In the first part of the Scout Oath or Promise the member declares, 'On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law.' The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship and are wholesome precepts in the education of the growing members. No matter what the religious faith of the members may be, this fundamental need of good citizenship should be kept before them. The Boy Scouts of America, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and the organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life."  

We believe that religious tests are inconsistent with American values and any organization chartered by Congress should welcome individuals of any religious persuasion as well as those who profess none at all.

Therefore, if the BSA wishes to continue with these policies, it can do so without the recognition or sanction of the American people implicit in a congressional charter.  

We, therefore, petition the United States Congress to pass legislation revoking the charter and all other federal recognition, privileges and funding of the Boy Scouts of America until the BSA abandons its discriminatory policies and adopts policies of inclusion representative of our American values.

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