Robert Gates, former defense secretary for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, former director of the CIA and former president of Texas A&M University, has been named president of the Boy Scouts of America, based in Irving. The nation’s largest youth organization has struggled with adverse reaction to its decision to admit gay scouts but not as scout leaders, losing some of its former stature. How can Gates restore that stature and move scouting forward?Gates should begin a vigorous defense against forces that have diminished corporate support for Scouts. He should get a resolution before corporate shareholders to return Scout funding, so the shareholders can overrule judgments made by corporate officers probably under duress from the homosexual lobby. — Jay V. Beavers, Granbury Robert Gates can start by urging everybody to accept all new volunteers, including those who side with the gay rights movement, to enter a new training orientation program to help the public and new volunteers accept the new Boy Scouts of America. — Russ Handley, Fort WorthGates cannot restore the Scouts’ stature. The stone has been set by allowing gay Scouts. Won’t they grow up and want to be Scout leaders? But as certain prominent clergy and others have said: “Who am I to judge?” — George J. Anthony, Fort WorthRobert Gates can restore the Scouts’ stature by unequivocally denouncing bigotry of any kind and welcoming all qualified Scout leaders — each of whom is willing and and eager to volunteer his time to the organization — regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation. They can’t teach respect, tolerance and equality without first learning those values themselves. — John Barcus, Fort WorthGates has a clear vision for the future of the BSA and is committed to focusing on what has made Scouting one of America’s greatest youth organizations. His exemplary record of service to his country, in higher education, and through his experience as a scout himself in West Texas equip him well to lead the organization. Also, he has national scouting service on the BSA Executive Board as well as National President of the National Eagle Scout Association. — Ralph W. Turner Jr., Fort WorthAs an Eagle Scout (1975) I would respectfully suggest reading and understanding Texas Governor Rick Perry’s book, On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For. The title says it all.It is my sincere hope that Gates will support and defend the high moral ground that this iconic institution has represented for over 100 years. — Keith R. Sawyer, Keller The Scouts need to make up their mind. Will they embrace traditional, middle-American, evangelical values? Or will they join the enlightened 21st century by recognizing equal rights?Right now they’re trying to have it both ways. As a result, social conservatives have deserted them in droves for stodgier alternatives, but gay activists still condemn them. Gates can influence the decision, but he can’t determine the result. That will be decided by boys and their parents voting with their feet. — George Michael Sherry, Fort Worth
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