Boy Scouts' gay ban: Don't compromise morals

Boy Scouts’ gay ban: Don’t compromise morals

Boy Scouts' gay ban: Don't compromise morals

By Rob Schwarzwalder

Rob Schwarzwalder is senior vice president of the Family Research Council. This article appeared in The Arizona Republic on February 14, 2013.

My sons have been involved in Scouting since they were boys. Now teens, they are active Scouts, and one is a member of the Order of the Arrow, the Boy Scouts of America's honor society. We have long looked forward to the day they will become Eagle Scouts.

Now we are wondering if that dream will ever come to pass, not because of any lack of effort on their part, but because of the tentative decision by the BSA national executive board to allow open homosexuals to serve as leaders or members of Scout troops.

Last July, the BSA announced that after two years examining its longtime policy of excluding homosexuals, it had decided to retain the policy. "The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers, and at the appropriate time and in the right setting," noted then-BSA chief Scout executive Bob Mazzuca.

What's changed? Pressure from homosexual activists has not induced a change in the "vast majority" of parental opinion, but has caused several large companies to suspend their giving to the Scouts. This, apparently, has shaken some members of the BSA board, who are now considering a historic and intellectually incoherent change.

The Scouts historically have affirmed the Judeo-Christian moral tradition, which teaches that the only appropriate sexually intimate relationship is that which exists between a man and a woman within marriage. Catholicism, Evangelical Protestantism, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Islam and other major faiths participating in Scouts all share this conviction.

As persons of faith (belief in God is another Scout requirement), parents of Scouts take serious such words as honor, "morally straight" and reverent. What do we tell our boys when those advocating a type of sexual behavior we find immoral now demand not just tolerance but affirmation?

This is not a matter of bigotry. Race and ethnicity are benign qualities that have nothing to do with a person's character. Homosexuality is, by definition, about sexual attraction and conduct, things about which most Scout parents have serious moral concerns.

People who join Scouts know what the rules are. They also know there are many alternative organizations for their boys in which prohibitions against homosexuality do not exist. If homosexual activists and their allies want to form their own Scout-type group, they are free to do so. Just don't ask the 2.7 million boys in the BSA, including my sons, to compromise their moral convictions and permanently alter the very nature of Scouting.