I started in the Cub Scouts. I earned my Bobcat, Wolf and Bear ranks. In fifth grade I graduated to the Webelos Scouts and earned the Arrow of Light. A few months later I became a full-fledged Boy Scout. And that was one of the happiest points of my childhood.
It was like choosing to be a part of something with high ideals that I would always be striving to understand and fulfill. I guess you could say it was like being a medieval squire, doing his best and learning all he could and gaining skills and experience. Until the day when he would be dubbed at last a knight and forever honored as an avatar of virtue, honor and courage.
And then, at long last... I earned the rank of Eagle Scout. Something that less than 1% of all Boy Scouts earn. And that became the supreme moment of achievement in my young life. My Eagle Scout ceremony was in August of 1992 and every day... every day... since then, I have carried my Eagle Scout card in my wallet.
For the first time in my life, I am considering carrying that Eagle Scout Card no longer. Because the Boy Scouts is ceasing before our eyes to be the organization of principles and steadfastness that have defined it since its founding by Lord Robert Baden-Powell.
The Boy Scouts of America has announced today that it's putting forth a proposal to change its policy toward homosexual membership. If approved by voting members next month, the new policy would not deny membership to youths "on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone". The current policy would still apply toward adult leaders and other members, however. Here is the resolution which was issued today and here's the summary of the proposed change:
Youth membership in the Boy Scouts of America is open to all youth who meet the specific membership requirements to join the Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, Sea Scout, and Venturing programs. Membership in any program of the Boy Scouts of America requires the youth member to (a) subscribe to and abide by the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law, (b) subscribe to and abide by the precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle (duty to God), and (c) demonstrate behavior that exemplifies the highest level of good conduct and respect for others and is consistent at all times with the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law. No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.As best I understand it the breakdown is this: a boy with homosexual desires could be a Boy Scout, so long as he does not behave in a manner which violates the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. Homosexual adults would still be banned.
Homosexuality is not, has never been and can never be compatible with the principles of the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. In more ways than I can readily tick off the concept of the two not being direly exclusive of each other is so wildly incredible that in all sincerity, I have to wonder if those supporting this measure have any understanding of the Oath and the Law at all.
Consider the Scout Oath. The one that millions of young men and their leaders have taken since a time predating the first World War:
On my honor I will do my bestAs a Scout, the first duty we vow to strive to fulfill is that to God. The Boy Scouts of America has never been discriminatory against sects or denominations. In my years of Scouting I have met fellow Scouts who have been from my own Protestant background, but also a great many Catholics. And Jews. And Mormons. Boy Scouting is not a "pro-Christian" movement. However it is one which affirms and holds to the belief that morality and virtuous principles come to us from God and not man.
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.
And here already, homosexuality is not compatible with Scouting. Because no monotheistic faith in the entire modern history of the world has ever preached sexual permissiveness. Ever. And that means any and all inappropriate sexual behavior. The traditional and time-honored belief across all sincere faiths is that to dishonor and abuse the gift of sexuality which God has given us is to dishonor God.
I won't deny it: a young boy in the throes of adolescence often feels consumed by thoughts of the opposite gender which he has never known before. And there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, I'm strongly of the belief that such thoughts and feelings are normal, healthy, and not sinful at all. The Boy Scouts are not an order of celibate monks and I've never known any adult leaders who have thought we should be that way either.
However having those desires does not mean that we must succumb to them! To the contrary: we believe that God requires of us that we learn to control those desires... so that they do not control us. This demands an ongoing self-discipline and personal restraint which is fully at odds with the carnal world around us. Our God is not anti-sex. He has made it that sex is good, that sex is beautiful, that sex is a gift... and it is a gift which MUST be enjoyed solely between one man and one woman within the bounds of marriage. No exceptions.
If we disregard that, if we can not commit to that kind of self-restraint and discipline which does not hurt us but instead strengthens us and builds us up, then we have already failed God. If we are true to God as best we understand Him, regardless of which aspect of that faith we adhere to, then our sexuality is a sacred thing consecrated to Him and made holy. And that is not possible with homosexuality. Or with pre-marital and extra-marital sex of any kind.
It has nothing to do with homosexuality itself. It does have to do with being responsible with the bodies and minds that God entrusted us with. It is against the principles of the Boy Scouts to engage in ANY sexual activity outside the confines of marriage. To do otherwise is to violate the sacredness of our physical, mental and emotional well-being. There can no more be a homosexual Boy Scout or a bisexual Boy Scout than there can be a Boy Scout who has sex with his girlfriend, with multiple girlfriends or engage in necrophilia.
And if Scouting is to acquiesce to homosexuality then it must also be prepared to do likewise with cocaine, heroin and animal sacrifice. If Scouting becomes tolerant of everything, then Scouting will stand for nothing!
The twelve points of the Scout Law are: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent. If the Boy Scouts of America proceeds with this proposal, then we will have failed that Law in so many ways that it will be rendered absolutely meaningless.