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Statement from the Unitarian Universalist Association

March 16, 2005

A recent post to the UU-Scouting email list announced that a group calling itself the Unitarian Universalist Scouters Organization (UUSO) had reached an agreement with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to develop a new UU scouting curriculum and UU religious emblem. This email was forwarded to our Information Office and was the first word about this that the UUA received. The UUA’s Youth Office has since received several more inquiries about this organization and its work, so this email is an attempt to clarify the situation.

The UUSO has no formal relationship to the UUA and is not recognized as an affiliate organization by the UUA’s Board of Trustees.

The UUA still makes available to UU Scouts our Religion in Life manual and the Religion in Life emblem. We encourage the UU Scout to earn his religious emblem, to have it awarded to him by his congregation, and to wear it in the appropriate place on his uniform. We have never heard of even a single instance when a UU Scout was told he could not wear his Religion in Life emblem on his uniform.

Contrary to the statement in the email that “an entire generation of Scouts had grown up without the opportunity to wear the emblem of their faith on their uniform,” the UUA has sold more than 500 Religion in Life emblems over the past seven years to UU Scouts.

The disagreement between the UUA and the BSA concerns the BSA’s ongoing discrimination against gay Scouts and Scout leaders and its requirement of a religious litmus test for membership. Unitarian Universalist congregations have always been places where members are free to express religious doubt, and we are steadfast in our support for the rights of bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender people. For us, these are religious principles, and we will not relinquish our responsibility as parents, teachers, and ministers to inform our youth of the principles of their faith community.

The UUA has always acknowledged the many benefits that Scouting offers to boys and young men. We will continue to support UU youth who enter Scouting by distributing the Religion in Life manual and emblem, and our congregations will honor UU Scouts when they earn this emblem of their faith community.

-- Jesse Jaeger, Youth Programs Director, Unitarian Universalist Association
-- Rev. Keith Kron, Director, Office of Bisexual Gay Lesbian and Transgender Concerns, Unitarian Universalist Association

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