While the Boy Scouts of America has stood by its policy of barring openly gay scout leaders, one blogger for the national organization says the scout leaders should embrace a tolerance-boosting initiative spearheaded by a gay student organization.
In a blog post on Monday for Scouting magazine, Eagle Scout Bryan Wendell wrote in support of No Name Calling Week, coordinated by the Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network. He encouraged leaders to stop name-calling among their scouts.
Eliza Byard, executive director of GLSEN praised the blog post and the BSA on the Huffington Post on Tuesday, for supporting No Name-Calling Week.
"However," she said in a statement to the news site, "the lessons of this week are not enough to counteract the overwhelmingly negative message sent to scouts by the Boy Scouts of America's continuing anti-LGBT policies. The Boy Scouts of America must recognize that gay people can be--and are--positive contributors to its vision of building respectful and service-oriented leaders of tomorrow."
Deron Smith, a spokesman for the BSA, told The Advocate on Wednesday, that the blog post should not be construed as a ringing endorsement of GLSEN, but the general respect that Boy Scouts should have for each other.
"For 100 years Scouts have been instructed to use respect in dealing with other and to live by the Boy Scout Oath and Law, which teaches Scouts to be, 'trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent,'" he said in an emailed statement. "Scouting respects everyone's right to have and express different opinions and teaches its members to use courtesy and respect at all times - even with those with whom they may disagree or who are perceived to be different. In Scouting, to disagree does not mean to disrespect and is never an excuse to 'call names.'"