The American Reform Jewish movement has called on Jewish families and synagogues to sever all ties with the Boy Scouts.

This is the strongest reaction by a U.S. religious group to the Supreme Court's ruling allowing the Boy Scouts to ban homosexuals from leadership posts. In a memo to congregations, the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism called the Scouts' policy "incompatible with our consistent belief that every individual—regardless of his or her sexual orientation—is created in the image of God and deserving of equal treatment."

The policy would amount to blatant discrimination if applied to blacks or Jews instead of to homosexuals, said Rabbi Dan Polish, director of the commission. "This policy is at clear odds with the values that the Reform movement has embraced," he said.

Religious communities have been divided since the court's 5-4 decision last June. There are 3 million Boy Scouts in the United States, an estimated 7,100 of whom have been sponsored by Jewish congregations.

Gregg Shields, a Boy Scouts spokesman, said his organization continues to enjoy tremendous support from other religious groups who have chartered scout troops, including Orthodox Jewish congregations. "Although we regret this decision, our doors remain open to all units that would like to continue chartering troops and dens," Shields said.

Related Elsewhere

Earlier Christianity Today coverage of the Boy Scouts' ban on homosexual leaders includes:
Scouts in a Jam—or Jamboree? | The courts protect rights. The media-savvy win hearts and minds. (Oct. 23, 2000)

Scouts Defend Homosexuality Policy (Apr. 3, 2000)

Scout's Dishonor | The judge told the Scouts just what their oath meant—and didn't mean. (Nov. 15, 1999)

Courts Divided on Scouting (Apr. 27, 1998)

More coverage of this and other developments in the brouhaha over scouting and homosexuality includes:

Local Scouting Board, Calling Gay Ban 'Stupid,' Urges End to National PolicyThe New York Times (Feb. 27, 2001)

Scouts sent packing | National group expels some in Ill. due to gay policy — Associated Press (Feb. 26, 2001)

Scout troop: 'Don't ask, don't tell'The Denver Post (Feb. 8, 2001)

Central Florida United Way reaches compromise with Boy ScoutsThe Orlando Sentinel (Feb. 8, 2001)

Girl Scouts' gay policy attacked by family group | But defenders say organization avoids lifestyle issues — Scripps Howard News Service (Feb. 7, 2001)

Court ruling didn't end scout debate | Towns, schools facing questions of inclusion — Chicago Tribune (Feb. 2, 2001)

Scouts Expel Troops Whose Leaders Oppose Gay BanThe Washington Post (Jan. 27, 2001)

Reform Jewish group targets Scouts | Union Of Temples opposes policy banning gay troop leaders — Chicago Tribune (Jan. 12, 2001)

Jewish Group Splits With Scouts Over Gay Ban — Fox News (Jan. 11, 2001)

Synagogue Breaks Off 49-Year-Old Tie With Boy Scouts | Scouts Policy On Gays At Heart Of Issue — Associated Press/WPLG (Jan. 11, 2001)

Jewish Group Recommends Cutting Ties to Boy ScoutsThe New York Times (Jan. 10, 2001)

Scout Issue Stirs Revolt by a Board Chancellor Attacked for Limiting AccessThe New York Times (Dec. 6, 2000)

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