Once again the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) are back in the news– nothing new really just the same debate on whether to include openly homosexual members and/or leaders into the organization. Recently the BSA voted to include homosexual children as scouts. The this change however did not apply to openly gay leaders. The BSA vote stated that those adults would not be allowed to serve, lead, camp and mold young minds.
As one can imagine this has been a hot bed for debate and even after this particular vote, it will not end there. Some groups are threatening to remove support of the BSA if the decision is not reversed before the January 1, 2014 effective date.
The organizer of the biggest groups against the change, OnMyHonor.Net, decided to post a response to the vote. Part of the statement reads:
The Boy Scouts of America has a logo that bears the phrase ‘Timeless Values.’ Today, the BSA can no longer use this phrase in good faith. It has demonstrated by its actions that the organization’s values are not timeless, and instead they are governed by changing tides of polls, politics and public opinion.
The saddest part of today’s decision is what the organization is teaching our children and young people in the program.
The BSA is teaching our kids that when your values become unpopular, just change them.
The BSA is teaching our kids that when your convictions are challenged, just cave to peer pressure.
The BSA is teaching our kids that public opinion polls are more important than principles.
Today, the BSA is teaching our kids that you should not stand up for what is right instead you should stand up for what is popular.
So OnMyHonor.Net, the Scouts are the sole arbiter of morality? Did the Scouts have these same conversations regarding segregation? For much of the South, de-segregating was “unpopular” and many people’s “convictions were challenged.” Were the Scouts wrong to allow multiple races to learn the important skills of Scouting together? Didn’t public opinion polls say it was wrong while many people stood by their “principles?” When did inclusion become something contrary to a “timeless value?” The BSA is not teaching children that their convictions are incorrect, they are teaching them that to be an honorable person means that you will have to handle situations with differing groups of people. The world outside of the BSA’s doors is not one of merit badges, campfires and helping people across the street. The world is complex and difficult at times and yes there are people who look, think, act and belive differently than you do.
How is this a bad thing?
The Scouts’ change I believe was for the better; yes it was outside influences that were motivating these changes, but sometimes we need a kick in the pants from someone else to make us get up and do something.
For the BSA’s first attempt is decent but nowhere near where it needs to be. The current rule change will effectively still support the current standard of opposition to homosexuals in the BSA. The BSA will tell youths who are struggling with identity or those wrestling with the feelings of homosexuality that you belong in the BSA; you belong– to learn skills for life and build character…. Until you are too old to be a scout then we want nothing to do with you. Once you age out of Scouts as an open homosexual male you will have no place among the leadership of BSA no matter your interest, skill set or passion. Why would anyone want to be apart of a group that will not recognize them when they are adults? Does the leadership of the BSA believe that Jamborees and camp outs will miraculously make them straight? I doubt it.
So BSA do the right thing and include both leaders and potential scouts. Do not let the fear of public opinion or losing members (who might start an alternative Scouting program or withdraw support like the Southern Baptist Convention) stand in the way for doing what is correct, moral and right. In doing so you will be able to share your message if duty, honor, respect, and character segment of the population that has been largely marginalized.
More good will come from this than harm. I promise… Scouts honor.
Scout Oath (or Promise)
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.
A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly,
courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty,
brave, clean, and reverent.