The Rt. Rev. Rayford B. High, Jr., provisional bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, provides a statement on the Boy Scouts of America‘s May 23, 2013 announcement of an amendment to its membership standards:
I am gratified to hear of the decision of the Boy Scouts of America to end its policy of forbidding participation by openly gay youths. I agree with Wayne Brock, the chief executive officer of the Boy Scouts, that the decision was “compassionate, caring, and kind.”
This significant vote to allow and encourage all boys to have the opportunity to enjoy and grow in the great tradition of scouting means so much to boys and the families of boys who have been excluded. But the truth is, we all benefit from it, because this great country is better and will be better for this acknowledgment of all of God’s creation. The joys of scouting should be for all boys, not just for boys who fit the image of what some think all boys should be.
I am saddened to hear that some faith communities have announced they will be ending their sponsorship of Boy Scout troops. I know the congregations in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth will remain steadfast in their support of this excellent organization.
Like many other organizations, both secular and church-related, the Boy Scouts have been and are engaged in a lengthy and often passionate debate about how best to acknowledge and include the magnificent diversity of God’s creation. They have taken a significant step forward with this decision and I have faith they will continue to grapple honestly with the related decision of whether to allow openly gay adults to serve as troop leaders.
I ask you to hold all touched by this decision – both those who rejoice because of it and those who grieve – in your prayers. And be kind, for we are all involved in a great struggle to learn how best to love one another.