Robert Gates, president of Boy Scouts of America, announced at the group's annual meeting in Atlanta on May 21 that the organization’s ban against gay scout leaders "cannot be sustained."
Gates, a former U.S. secretary of defense under President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama, told Boy Scouts' executives: “We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be," reported The New York Times.
Gates added, "If we wait for the courts to act, we could end up with a broad ruling that could forbid any kind of membership standard."
Gates also said that local scouting groups should be able "to determine the standards for their Scout leaders.”
"Such an approach would allow all churches, which sponsor some 70 percent of our Scout units, to establish leadership standards consistent with their faith. We must, at all costs, preserve the religious freedom of our church partners to do this," Gates stated.
Even though Gates wants to preserve religious freedom for the scouts, Rev. Franklin Graham slammed him on Facebook:
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"Robert Gates, shame on you for not having the moral courage to do what is right. Yesterday Gates, the president of Boy Scouts of America, called for an end to the group’s ban on gay troop leaders. What are you thinking? We shouldn’t shift as the winds of cultural change blow through society; we need to stand for God’s truth and things that are morally right.
"This move is bending to LGBT activist groups and would put young, innocent boys at risk. I encourage every former Boy Scout and every parent involved in the Boy Scouts to let Robert Gates know how displeased you are and that if he leads the organization down this road, they may lose your support, your participation — and your sons."
Graham made no mention of Christian TV reality star Josh Duggar, who was accused of committing sexual abuse against as many as five minor girls, who reportedly included some of his sisters, in 2002-2003.