Webelos Wobble, Will They Fall Down?
February 05, 2013 - Tuesday
Americans are just 24 hours away from a decision that could change the landscape of one of the oldest institutions in the country. As the clock ticks down to Wednesday afternoon, when a final decision is expected on the Boy Scouts membership policy, the warning signs continue to grow. Legal experts, local councils, and even other countries are frantically trying to talk the Board out of its local compromise for fear that it would end--not just a century's worth of influence--but the organization itself.
In Canada, where leaders lowered their standards for "inclusion's sake," the results were devastating. Once the floodgates opened to females, atheists, agnostics, homosexuals, bisexuals, and transsexuals in 1999, the Scouting program took a national nosedive, losing more than half of its membership (200,000 to 100,000) in just five years! There, Scouts march in gay pride parades while leaders struggle to deal with their own "secret files" of child sexual abuse. Brian Rushfeldt, who heads up Canada Family Action, says the BSA only needs to look to its northern neighbor to see how the experiment of political correctness failed. "The notion that we need to protect homosexuals more than we need to protect children... has been a disturbing trend," he said--one that will kill the Boy Scouts of America.
That is, if the lawsuits don't demolish it first. If the Board embraces the local option, meaning that each council would decide its membership criteria, then the Scouts would no longer be protected under the umbrella of the Supreme Court's 2000 decision. The justices' ruling in that case was based largely on the premise that the Scouts, as a national organization, have the right to establish codes of conduct and membership. If the Board passes that responsibility on to local councils, or makes it optional, then the BSA would be well outside the scope of the Supreme Court's ruling. It would open up regional troops to hundreds of lawsuits from homosexual activists, who would insist that Scouts have to comply with whatever local anti-discrimination laws are in place. If it's money the Boy Scouts are worried about, imagine the costs of fighting a nationwide assault on any troop that bans homosexuals! The legal bills would far outweigh whatever corporate dollars the new policy might yield.
Troops in Utah and across the country are urging the Board to take more time to think about these consequences. Out west, a coalition of 33 Boy Scout Councils, representing 540,000 Boy Scouts, is joining forces "to express our concern about the pace at which such actions are being taken... [W]e request that a final vote on this policy reversal be delayed to allow other stakeholder[s'] voices to be heard and a more thorough analysis of the impact on local councils." In a statement, they insist, "The voices of existing chartered partners and financial contributors must be heard alongside those of our volunteer leaders and the parents who entrust their children to us. This is a decision which cannot be 'undone.'" Like so many American parents, they're stunned at the timing of the proposal, which "flies in direct contradiction" of the results of the two-year review that upheld the ban on open homosexuality.
For now, they--like so many millions of parents--will have to wait and pray. They hope, as we do, that the Board's eyes will be opened to the truth that changing this policy won't modernize the Scouts--it will destroy them. In these final moments, help encourage the BSA to stand firm. Click on FRC's new video and share it with your family and friends.
Not Everyone's Gunning for Combat Roles
Some women may be ready for combat, but are their units? A new survey suggests no. Late last week, the Marine Corps released the findings of an internal poll that asked the troops how they felt about including women on the front lines. Of the Marines' 201,157 troops, more than 34,100 (17%) say they would leave the service if the Pentagon moves women into combat roles. Almost a quarter of the Marines would resign if females were given those assignments involuntarily. If the average size of a Marine battalion is 600 soldiers, the military would be losing about 57 battalions--all sacrificed on the altar of political correctness. The Pentagon itself has about 28,000 military and civilian employees, and more Marines than even that would be leaving the force because the President believes his radical agenda is more important than soldiers' safety. But, as we saw with "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the Pentagon surveys the troops and then refuses to take their response into account. Defense officials are already racing to implement the new policy by mid-May.
Meanwhile, active-duty Marines still have plenty of concerns about the idea. Most men are worried about being falsely accused of sexual harassment or assault--or, in the heat of battle, feeling obligated to protect their female service members. Based on their responses, they're also uneasy about the complications of pregnancies or personal issues that could affect the females in their unit. Women, on the other hand, have other problems to worry about--like being targeted by the enemy as prisoners of war. Enemies will exploit this weakness, writes former intelligence officer Earl Tilford. "Al Qaeda might target women for capture. Imagine these women being tortured, sexually assaulted, and mutilated--live on the Internet." It's a sobering prospect for the Marines, 7% of whom are women.
For now, Congress--which wasn't consulted first--is weighing its options. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) is planning to wade into the debate with a measure that would block women from joining certain units like special operations. Congressman Duncan Hunter, Jr., a Marine veteran who served three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, is taking a subtler approach. Instead of an outright ban, he wants to ensure that the standards for all military specialties aren't watered down jeopardizing the military's mission. "Regardless of where anybody is on the policy, there seems to be a consensus far and wide that standards need to stay [gender] neutral. It is about the individual and the job they train to do, and especially for combat specialties. It's important that we continue maintaining high quality standards." That could, as the Army Times points out, have the same effect as a ban without feeding the Left's anti-woman lies about the GOP.
Building a Winning Coalition...
After so many conservative losses on Election Day, several people have wondered how our movement can build a winning coalition. Bringing together various groups under a single umbrella can be challenging. Join FRC as we take a look at some of those groups--including Catholics, evangelicals, and young people. Can conservatives win? If so, how? What do the voting trends demonstrate? Come to FRC headquarters (801 G Street, NW, Washington, D.C.) to hear Dr. Andrew Essig of Excelsior College and Mr. Eric Teetsel, Executive Director of the Manhattan Declaration, as they talk about the future of the conservative coalition tomorrow, February 6, at noon. Click here to register to attend in person or via live webcast.
** No one knows the impact of BSA better than the organization's Eagle Scouts. One of FRC's new interns, Lance Clevinger, reached that milestone and today, he shares his opinion on the potential policy change in a new op-ed for the Washington Times, "Boy Scouts Must Stand Firm for Their Values." Also, Rob Schwarzwalder, who has twins of his own in Scouting, wrote two new pieces on the debate, "My Sons Are Boy Scouts--for Now" and "Boy Scouts Should Stand on Principle."