The conservative N.C. Values Coalition, which championed North Carolina’s anti-gay House Bill 2, is now taking a stand against the Boy Scouts of America for announcing this week that it will begin admitting transgender boys to its ranks.
Churches that host Boy Scout troops are being asked to abandoned them for “faith-friendly alternatives,” such as Trail Life USA.
In a letter sent Tuesday to supporters, the N.C. Values Coalition said the decision shows the revered organization has “lost its way.”
“The Boy Scouts were founded in part to foster the healthy development of masculinity and morals among boys. It is sad to see an important institution that has served over 110 million individuals buckle beneath the weight of political correctness,” said the statement.
“The reversal is most evident in how this act violates the Scout Oath which forms the core of the institution.”
It was unclear which part of the oath the organization is accused of violating. The Scout Oath calls for scouts to do their duty to God and country, to help other people and to keep themselves “physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.”
The Boy Scouts of America announced Monday that it will allow transgender children who identify as boys to enroll in programs. The Boy Scouts had previously held a policy that relied on the gender listed on a child's birth certificate.
Mecklenburg County’s Boy Scouts council has 349 packs, troops, teams, crews and posts, and a membership of 11,900. Many of the troops are affiliated with houses of faith.
Tami Fitzgerald, N.C. Values Coalition executive director, is encouraging her supporters to voice their concerns about the scout decision via Twitter or by calling the organization’s national office.
The statement concluded with a pitch for donations to the N.C. Values Coalition.
Fitzgerald’s group is not the first to try and put a wedge between scout troops and churches. A Jan. 31 Fox News editorial by Todd Starnes bore the headline: “It's time for churches to sever ties with Boy Scouts.”
It suggested groups like Family Research Council feel similarly and asked such questions as: “Will transgender children be able to share tents and bathrooms in the Great Outdoors with heterosexual boys?”
Fitzgerald’s stance comes at a time when the N.C. Values Coalition is seeing a surge in popularity among conservatives, credited largely to its support for North Carolina’s House Bill 2. Donations to the group jumped 1,100 percent jump last year, she says.
House Bill 2, passed by the state in a single day, is a law that makes clear lesbian, gay and transgender people will not be extended civil rights protections in North Carolina, including the right to be openly gay at work.
The coalition has lately been focused on keeping state legislators from repealing HB2, which has been heavily criticized around the world and blamed for costing Charlotte millions of dollars in business.
Boy Scout leaders had been faced with making a decision on the transgender issue after a recent case in Secaucus, New Jersey, where an 8-year-old transgender child had been asked to leave his Scout troop after parents and leaders found out he is transgender.
However, the Monday announcement said the change was made because of the larger conversation about gender identity going on around the country.
"For more than 100 years, the Boy Scouts of America, along with schools, youth sports and other youth organizations, have ultimately deferred to the information on an individual's birth certificate to determine eligibility for our single-gender programs," the statement said. "However, that approach is no longer sufficient as communities and state laws are interpreting gender identity differently, and these laws vary widely from state to state."
The Boy Scouts said the enrollment decision goes into effect immediately.
"Our organization's local councils will help find units that can provide for the best interest of the child," the statement said.
The national Girl Scouts organization, which is not affiliated with the Boy Scouts, has accepted transgender members for years.