Scouts Consider Breaking Camp with Tradition
For 103 years, the mission of the Boy Scouts has been "to prepare young people to make ethical choices." Unfortunately, the organization's leadership seems less inclined to make those same choices themselves, as rumors swirl that the Board is on the verge of reversing its longtime policy on homosexuality. To most parents, the news that the Scouts were even considering a change is a shock. After all, it was just seven months ago that the same spokesman told reporters that, after a two-year review, a special committee had unanimously recommended keeping the ban. "The vast majority of parents," Deron Smith had explained, "value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family... at the appropriate time and right setting."
Now, suddenly, after decades of withstanding pressure, lost sponsors, and evictions, the Boy Scouts are a Board meeting away from destroying a century-old legacy of courage in exchange for weak-kneed compromise that pleases no one. According to the press release yesterday, the BSA would peel away the national prohibition on open homosexuality and pass the political hot potato of "sexual inclusion" to individual troops--most of whom won't have the financial means or the will to beat back the coming onslaught. A new policy would only shift the attention to local councils, who would be under unfathomable stress to fall in line with BSA headquarters. And as homosexual activists well know, it will be a lot easier to pick off one council at a time than to take down the entire Boy Scouts of America.
"The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members, or parents," the latest statement reads. "Under this proposed policy, the BSA would not require any chartered organization to act in ways inconsistent with that organization's mission, principles, or religious beliefs." The idea that the Scouts can co-exist under a "morally optional" policy is ridiculous. It's an unworkable solution. Once there's a crack in the moral dam, it's only a matter of time before the entire Scouts crumble under the weight. Sixty-nine percent of Boy Scout troops are chartered by faith-based organizations. Is the BSA willing to turn itself against their will to "satisfy" a small and insatiable fringe?
Meanwhile, Americans (only 42% of whom support this change) want to know: Will a new policy help produce young men with greater moral clarity or responsibility? Will it help make the transition from boy to man easier? These are the questions our nation should be asking the leadership of the Boy Scouts of America. No one can blame the BSA for wanting to put the exhausting conflict of the last 30 years behind them. But throwing up your hands on 103 years of tradition doesn't end the controversy--it begins another. If the Scouts are willing to strip foundational values from their code, can spirituality be far behind? "If they are considering lifting the ban on gays, that's a good thing, that's progress," said the head of American Atheists. "If they lift that bigotry from their requirements, I would hope they remove the rest of the bigotry and admit atheists as well." Once the Scouts have conceded on principle, other attacks are sure to follow.
So what exactly is the incentive? Is it cultural acceptance? Because the Scouts are about to learn that no such thing exists. For every supporter they gain through surrender, they stand to lose hundreds more in active members. Is it money? Because there's no guarantee that the corporate floodgates will open with a localized policy like this one. In fact, it's more likely that UPS, Intel, and other former sponsors will hang on to their checkbooks until there is "full inclusion" at every level. Is it safety? Because unless something changed in the last seven months, the Scouts are still dealing with the fallout of more than 2,000 cases of child molestation with the current policy in place! Can they honestly tell parents that entrusting little boys to men with same-sex attractions is somehow going to reduce the incidence of child sexual abuse? Or is the motivation closure? Because anyone who's been a target of homosexual activists understands: there is no appeasing them. This struggle won't end until there is a national policy eliminating any and all standards of morality. If the Scouts go down this path, before the ink is even dry on this decision, there will be demands to represent and celebrate homosexuality in the Scouts' curriculum, hiring policy, camping arrangements, merit badges, jamboree programming, and a host of other traditions. All these bullies need to topple a 2.9 million-member organization is a foothold. And a naive BSA headquarters is dangerously close to giving them one.
Friends, this is a time of winnowing. And not just for the Boy Scouts. The war of moral evolution is coming to your doorstep, if it hasn't already arrived.
You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be. And one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid... You refuse to do it because you want to live longer... You're afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you're afraid that somebody will stab you, or shoot at you or bomb your house; so you refuse to take the stand. Well, you may go on and live until you are 90, but you're just as dead at 38 as you would be at 90. And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit. -Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Now is the time to engage. Before the Boy Scouts make their final decision, it is absolutely vital that they hear from you. Contact Wayne Brock, Chief Boy Scouts Executive, at 972-580-2004, 972-580-2000, or by email at Wayne.Brock@Scouting.org. Tell him that you would rather see his organization die standing on character than risk the safety of millions of boys to appease radicals and score political points.
** In two days, the U.S. Senate will consider the nomination of Sen. Chuck Hagel for the position of Secretary of Defense. With a muddy history on foreign policy, FRC tries to shine a light on Leon Panetta's potential successor in our new backgrounder, which explains where Hagel also stands on important issues like Israel, life, marriage, and domestic partner benefits. Click here to learn what Americans can expect from the President's nominee.
*** Join us in the 5:00 p.m. (ET) hour as we discuss this watershed moment for the Boy Scouts on "Washington Watch with Tony Perkins." John Stemberger and Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) will talk about the possibility of the BSA changing their longstanding policy. FRC's own Tom McClusky will help kick off the show with a Hill update on everything from the Hagel nomination to religious freedom in the military. Don't miss it! Click over to TonyPerkins.com to listen and watch live.
**** FRC's General Jerry Boykin is continuing his whirlwind media tour on the proposed change to military policy. Check out his latest piece in the Washington Times, "Common Sense, Emotion, and Women in Combat." Also, check out the work of FRC's two Kens--Blackwell and Klukowski--in this feature from Breitbart, "Former Mayor Blackwell: Four Year Fight for Second Amendment."