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IRVING, Texas (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Boy Scouts of America's (BSA) new policy accepting so-called transgender applicants won't affect scouting units sponsored by the Catholic Church.
In an official statement issued on February 4, the National Catholic Committee on Scouting (NCCOS) said:
(The new policy) has no impact on the operation and program delivery of Scouting program(s) in Catholic-chartered units. Scouting serves the Catholic Church through the charter concept, which is similar to a franchise. The units chartered to a Catholic institution are owned by that organization. The BSA has stipulated that religious partners will continue to have the right to make decisions for their units based on their religious beliefs.
On January 30, the Boy Scouts of America decided to change membership eligibility based on gender from one's birth certificate to one's membership application.
Michael Surbaugh, the head of the BSA, remarked:
We've taken the opportunity to evaluate and update our approach. I hope you'll join with me in embracing the opportunity to bring scouting to more families and children who can benefit from what our organization has to offer. This is an area that we will continue to thoughtfully evaluate to bring the benefits of scouting to the greatest number of youth possible, all while remaining true to our core beliefs.
Zach Wahls, the co-founder of Scouts for Equality, stated "This is another historic day for the Boy Scouts of America. The decision to allow transgender boys to participate in the Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts is an important step forward for this American institution."
The decision was immediately criticized by conservatives and pro-family organizations.
Todd Starnes, a conservative radio host and writer, remarked the move to accept transgender scouts is "a complete capitulation to the gender and sex revolutionaries."
In an official statement, Trail Life, a Christian alternative to the BSA, wrote:
Many of you have expressed, privately and publicly that Trail Life USA may also be subject to changing its membership standards. I want to assure you that our bylaws and standards, having been forged in the fires of this cultural battle, are secure against such changes. Beyond that, we were birthed with the conviction that the principles resident in our Statements of Faith and Values are beyond debate, confirming the very reason for the strength of our grassroots growth. It should be noted that the BSA decision was not driven by legal pressure. It was a voluntary departure from timeless values they once embraced. Three-years old and 26,000 strong in 48 states, we will not neglect the principles and truths that brought us here and promise our good future. To abandon this conviction is unthinkable.
The NCCOS went on to state, "Scouting's chartered organizations have the right to uphold their own moral standards within the units they charter. The teachings of the Catholic Church are upheld."
The Catholic Church has spoken out strongly against the notion that one can change or choose one's gender.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) asserts, "Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his or her sexual identity. Physical, moral and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life."
During a meeting with Polish bishops at World Youth Day 2016, Pope Francis excoriated gender ideology saying, "Today, schools are teaching children — children! — that everyone can choose their own sex," He continued, "And why is this being taught? Because their textbooks are chosen by the people and institutions that give money. This is ideological colonization, promoted by very influential nations. This is terrible."