Are the Boy Scouts Endangering Boys?

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To the shock and disappointment of many of us, the Boy Scouts of America released a statement yesterday indicating the possibility of changing its policy that prevents the participation of openly practicing homosexuals.

According to press reports,  the 100-year-old organization’s board will meet next week at which time the matter will be debated and likely decided.

In an official statement, the Scouts stated:

This would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation, and the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with each organization’s mission, principles, or religious beliefs. BSA members and parents would be able to choose a local unit that best meets the needs of their familiesThe policy change under discussion would allow the religious, civic, or educational organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting to determine how to address this issue.

 In other words, the Boy Scouts of America, an organization that has historically required its members to take an oath to be “morally straight,” appears to now be favoring moral neutrality.

Neutrality is often an attractive option, especially when the goal is to not offend. But in this case, I’m reminded of what the great humanitarian and political activist Elie Wiesel once wrote about trying to remain neutral when it comes to moral affairs:

We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.

At stake in this debate is not just the golden brand of the Boy Scouts but most importantly the character and safety of the boys involved.

I realize that what I’m about to say might upset some people, but I hope we’re mature enough to discuss such important issues in straightforward and even stark terms.

My concern about the proposed change in the Boy Scouts has less to do with the idea of boys who identify as homosexuals and almost everything to do with the homosexual men who will be charged with leading and protecting the boys.

I have a good friend who was abused by a homosexual Boy Scout leader when he was twelve years old. The abuse triggered a horrific series of events that sent the boy reeling. His life was nearly ruined. I realize that most homosexual males are not pedophiles but can we not face facts and ask why we would deliberately put a youngster in a heightened position of risk?  Is it worth it? Of course not.

One of the great tragedies of the last few decades has been the abuse of young children by religious leaders. Of course these cases are the exception and most priests and pastors are trustworthy.  But one of the reasons the abuse occurred in the first place was because many of the involved clergy were homosexuals and the responsible governing bodies frequently have refused to acknowledge there’s any correlation to child molestation, especially concerning boys.

This subject has generated a significant amount of concern  and understandably so. My friend and Focus board member, Dr. Al Mohler, summed up the situation and the broader challenge to Christendom on his blog last evening:

Faithful Christians are left in the excruciatingly difficult position of maintaining fidelity to moral judgments revealed in the Bible while the culture around us races in the opposite direction. While the Boy Scouts use language like “morally straight,” the church uses its own language of sin, grace, and obedience…The new policy to be adopted by the Boy Scouts of America represents a revolution in what that esteemed organization understands “morally straight” to mean. We should not let that pass without taking notice of what that revolution will eventually bring about — nothing less than a reversal of what morality is understood to demand.

Let’s pray that the Boy Scouts of America will stand strong and resist the social and political pressures that are currently leaning into them with great force.

I hope you’ll consider asking the Boy Scouts of America to continue creating safe, secure environments for their youth members. Urge the group to maintain its current selection process for finding adult leaders. The people who will be voting on this issue need to hear affirmation of the historical foundations of scouting. They need to know people are with them.

If you wish in the coming days to share your comments directly, please feel free to use the following options:

1.  pr@scouting.org (this is the email address of the BSA National Office)

2.  Email your local Scout Executive

and/ or

3.  By calling the BSA National Office at 1-972-580-2267.

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Leave a Comment

J. Kendall More than 1 year ago

--Ridiculous. Being homosexual =/= being a good scout.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

It does seem though, that the organizations that have been taking the strongest stand against homosexuality are the ones that have been hiding huge problems with pedophilia. Organizations like the Roman Church and the Boy Scouts. And then you get the likes of Dan Savage, noted homosexual and atheist, getting attacked for taking a stand against pedophilia in those organizations. It's the reverse of what you would expect until you realize that the whole point of homosexuality is to be attracted to someone like yourself. And nothing is less like an adult than a child.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

I'm  sorry to  hear that BSA leadership is willing to give in the the pressures to compromise the values that they have believed in for so long, which have been the foundation on which many young men have built lives of integrity.  Stand strong and don't dishonor all those boy scouts who have gone on before.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Please BSA, stay strong! Do not cave to this bullying!

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

By this logic, straight women shouldn't be den mothers. It's absurd to ban everyone of a certain orientation from doing scouts- people could easily lie about it and not every gay man is a pedophile. Instead, there should be background checks. Banning gay boys from scouts will only deprive them of good role models and the chance to learn and grow as individuals with the support of other children/teenagers and adults who care for them. It could also likely lead to a sense of rejection, loneliness, and despair. Considering the high rates of suicide and suicidal thoughts among the LGBT community- especially the youth, we should be trying to reach out to them and give them affirmation that people do care about them and want them to live happy and moral lives. If a gay boy has mentors that want the best for him, he is less likely to turn to drugs, alchohol abuse, etc... I've heard about many gay Christians struggling with their faith and/or self-loathing because they've internalized the message that gay people are an affront to God. Be careful not to let the declarations that gay people are immoral become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Remember Mark 9: 42: "And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck."

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

This is unbelieveable that the boy scouts would give up on morallity and allow gay men in their organization. One of the last decent places and now you are thinking of ruining boys lives.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Please please! Do not cave under the political and social pressure to include dangerous policies into the boy scouts. We have been so proud of the stand that has been taken over the years. My grandson is now ready to begin scouts --- but certainly will not be put into a group that will potentially endanger his body or his mind by the results of this change in policy.

Thank you for your consideration.

Gayle Scott

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

I will be calling the number and emailing my local Scout executive as well the national office since they have put off the decision.  This is too important to ignore!!! Please everyone call, write or email to keep the Boy Scouts "morally straight" and serving God.  Our son loves Boy Scouts; he is an Eagle Scout, Junior Assistant Scoutmaster and was awarded the Vigil Honor for the Order of the Arrow, which is the Boy Scout's Honor Society.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

I believe that leader should be moarly staight. that has always been there moto but besides that do we want millions od boys malested by homosexual leaders, they are to be examples of how this country should be run. Is it hard most definatly t.they need mony BUT NOW WHO IS REALLY THERE GOD  THE GOD IN HEAVEN OR THE MIGHTY DOLLAR. WE WILL SEE.

BOB MINTZ

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

On January 30th I wrote to the BSA via the link in this article. My subject line was "Selecting Leaders." I requested a read receipt and today got an email saying my email was deleted without being read. Here is what my email said:

"I am the proud father of an Eagle Scout. He is 33 years old now and that achievement has served him well in countless ways. From getting early advancement in the National Guard to getting the edge on the competition in job opportunities. I am grateful to the BSA for the values and ethics he learned on his way to attaining his Eagle Scout.

I was dismayed to learn that you are considering the possibility of changing your policy that prevents the participation of openly practicing homosexuals. Although society seems to be constantly changing its view on what constitutes acceptable behavior, that does not change what’s right and wrong. If something is wrong it’s wrong and changing societal views do not make it right. The Scout Oath that each Scout must learn and recite claims they will be morally straight. Are morals a moving target? I don’t think so. If you approve of a life style that most religions consider sinful then what does that teach our young men about doing their duty to God and remaining morally straight?

Please do not change the standards for Scout leaders and endanger our young boys."

Needless to say I was even more bothered after knowing my email was deleted without being read. Sad days in our country.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

So the National Council is possibly selling out for the dollar? If this is allowed, it will be the end of BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICAN as it has been known and loved for over a 100 years. I cannot believe it is even being considered. Do you think for a minute that they really want to join Scouting? No, they want to destroy anyone or anything good and that seeks to honor GOD! Should this happen, then they will go after changing  the Scout Law and the Scout oath. It will never end.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

One's sexuality has nothing to do with how good a man or woman one chooses to be...NOTHING.  You can be an abusive jerk no matter your race, gender, ethnicity, etc... It is just ignorant to think that children are in more danger because the scout master is homosexual.  Being sexually attracted to children is simply wrong, period.  However, being homosexual does NOT mean you are attracted to children.  Any more than being straight does.

If the policy is changed, I will applaud the Boy Scouts for standing up for tolerance rather than discrimination, acceptance over fear, and love over hate

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

When a society gives up it's high moral standards because of a few, life becomes very ugly indeed

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

I'm saddened to see this, and even more sad to see what is happening in the Department of Defense as I write.  The following article was just posted on The Washington Post webpage.  Some benefits are being extended to military members with same sex domestic partners.  

www.washingtonpost.com/.../3f68a638-6fc6-11e2-ac36-3d8d9dcaa2e2_story.html

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

I had emailed the BSA before I read this blog, but thank you for giving the contact info. Although we don't have children, I was appalled that BSA was considering such a change. I had thought that BSA was a strong tower refusing to bend to our increasingly immoral culture and I hope I'm still right, and that they don't go through with this change. I had heard that there were thousands of petitions delivered in support of the change - let's hope that the morally strong and Christians will dwarf the support of the homosexual activists.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

As a pastor and as a Boy Scout committee chairperson, I support the proposed change - which doesn't mandate troops accept homosexuality, but leaves it up to each troop and their chartering organization. We can argue about whether homosexuality is a sin (or divorce, or eating red meat, or ??)... But the true evil here is sexual abuse of youth, which could happen with the female Scout leaders we already have as well as possible homosexual males. It is a very remote possibility in either case. These days, the Scouts take great pains to avoid the possibility of sexual abuse via policies like "two deep leadership" - two adults must always be present when working with kids.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Perhaps we need to think about a some retired leaders like military or CIA to start a new traditional boy scouting outfit. Maybe they could call it Traditional Boy Scouts of America T.B.S.A.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

I don't believe the Boy Scouts should change their vision/mission. They are tasked with forging boys into strong, yet compassionate men.

I do have compassion and empathy for those who are struggling with gender identification/confusion. I believe another organization needs/should be established that can address and encourage those young people who have been afflicted with abnormal XY chromosomes; a medical condition not so different from Down Syndrome (chromosome defect) for which there is also no cure.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Because Roman civilization perished through barbarian invasions, we are perhaps too much inclined to think that that is the only way a civilization can die.  If the lights that guide us ever go out, they will fade little by little, as if of their own accord...We therefore should not console ourselves by thinking that the barbarians are still a long way off. Some people may let the torch be snatched from their hands, but others stamp it out themselves.   Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America 1830s

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Don't write blogs, go to the BSA and tell them what  you think.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Homosexuality does not equal pedophilia. Morally straight does not equal heterosexuality. Being morally straight should include not basing decisions on unfounded stereotypes and willfully discriminating against those stereotypes.  Save the scouts by not teaching them discrimination. If you want to bring God into this debate, then let him be the judge, not you.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Why aren't the Eagle Scouts sounding off in this forum.  Come on Eagles Scouts let's put a stop to this.  Call the number above, write the BSA, let's not let the homosexual social club ruin Boy Scouting for the founder of Boy Scouts, Robert Baden-Powell or honorary president Taft, and honorary vice-president Theodore Roosevelt.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

As an Eagle Scout it saddens me that the BSA would even think about buckling to the social pressures of the not so minority.  For some to feel like they're being secluded from participating in Boy Scouts because of their sexual orientation should think about what the real issue is.  Homosexuality is a choice and with bad decisions decisions can be changed.  The Boy Scout Oath is worth repeating:

            On my honor I will do my best

            To do my duty to God and my country

            and to obey the Scout Law;

            To help other people at all times;

            To keep myself physically strong,

             mentally awake, and morally straight.

Here's what Moses said to the heads of the 12 tribes of Israel: "Moses said to the heads of the tribes of Israel: “This is what the Lord commands: 2 When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said."  Numbers 30:1-3 NIV.

I would like to challenge any Boy Scout that says the oath with his hand in the air that he keep that oath because it most likely won't be the last oath he takes.  If he can't say and mean the Boy Scout oath and hold true to it's principles then he doesn't belong in and should not be associated with the Boy Scouts of America.

Signed,

Glenn Hackett

Eagle Scout of Troop 20, 1980.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Maybe a little louder cry for family and community to support their local BoyScout troops instead of relying on big business or government financal aid as so many do. I pray the BSA continue to be the fine example they have been thus far.  We have a BoyScout in our family and will increase our support, unless the BSA knuckles under to the pressure. May they not forget to trust God with everything which includes their finances. Grandma Liz

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Proud ....today our pastor spent the first 5 minutes of church today giving the congregation all the necessary contact information and urging us to take action.   We are a 6,000+ congregation.