Posted on January 5, 2012 at 9:27 PM
Friday, Jan 6 at 7:36 AM
PORTLAND, Ore. -- A Portland man is urging people to boycott the Boy Scout Christmas tree recycling program to challenge the organization's position on gay rights.
Richard Kuhns posted flyers throughout the Laurelhurst neighborhood where he lives, complaining of the Boy Scouts’ national stance against gays.
Local Boy Scout leaders said the tree recycling program has traditionally been one of their biggest yearly fund-raisers.
Boy Scouts of America issued a statement Thursday that said in part, "The BSA recognizes that some do not agree with its position on this single issue, but values the freedom of everyone to express their opinion and teaches its members to use courtesy and respect at all times. To disagree does not mean to disrespect... The BSA believes that its youth program is not the appropriate forum in which to discuss issues of sexuality."
Kuhns disagreed and in addition to circulating 200 flyers, he also started on online petition against the Presbyterian Church of Laurelhurst, which sponsored the local Boy Scouts.
“Too many organizations like the church in Laurelhurst continue to enable the discrimination of the Scouts,” Kuhns said. “I think it's a basic civil rights issue.”
“We understand the protest,” countered pastor Greg Ikehara-Martin. “We are opposed to homophobia. We don't believe local Scout 22 is a homophobic group and we don't believe boycotting the Christmas tree recycling fund-raiser of this group is the best way to change the national policy on homosexuality."
Meantime, the Boy Scouts plan to start collecting trees for recycling in the Laurelhurst neighborhood starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday.