‘‘We caution others not to speculate about our position,’’ Mormon church spokesman Michael Purdy said. ‘‘Neither has the church launched any campaign either to affect or prevent a policy change.’’
On the liberal side of the religious spectrum, a leader of the Reform branch of American Judaism released the text of a letter to BSA President Wayne Parry, urging the ban on gays to be lifted nationwide. Reform synagogues have been discouraged from sponsoring units since 2001 because of the ban.
‘‘We look forward to the day we can encourage our congregations to return to their historical role in hosting BSA troops,’’ wrote Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. ‘‘Indeed, we hope that day may be soon.’’
In Houston, civil rights lawyer and scoutmaster Bill Helfand worries that the eventual outcome might fracture the Scouting movement.
‘‘Whatever decision is made, there will be people absolutely certain it is wrong,’’ he said. ‘‘I hope Scouting doesn’t suffer for whatever the decision is, because it is the boys who will suffer.’’
Helfand says his Troop 55, one of the country’s largest with 225 Boy Scouts, will abide by whatever rules the BSA leadership sets, but he hopes the end result is a uniform policy for all Scout units.
‘‘I don’t think it’s productive for Scouting’s goals to have different rules for different troops,’’ he said.
While some gay-rights activists criticized the BSA for delaying a decision, Richard Socarides, a former Clinton White House adviser on gay issues, expressed empathy.
‘‘It’s important for gay groups to keep the pressure up ... but the Boy Scouts may have done the right thing for now,’’ he said. ‘‘If they need more time to get people on board with the new policy, I'm fine with that. Getting it right is more important than getting it fast.’’
Boy scouts: http://www.scouting.org/
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