By: Scott J. Meyer
Christian News, October 21, 2013, Vol. 51, No. 40
After decades of harassment by social and legal activists, one of the nation's most "morally straight" private institutions succumbed to the homosexual agenda, not completely but in part. The Scout Law requires that scouts must be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. While scouting recognizes the religious element in the training of the scout to be morally straight and reverent to God, no Boy Scout authority supersedes the authority of the local Pastor and the Congregation. Homosexual behavior was thus held to be incompatible with the Scout Oath and its admonition to be "morally straight." But as observed by Phyllis Schlafly, a leader in the conservative movement since 1954, activists on the left have spent decades "to pry the Ten Commandments off the walls of courthouses, ... seeking to remove God from the pledge of allegiance, ... denying public money for faith-based charities, ... and harassing upright groups like the Boy Scouts ... " 1 Scouting was included in President Obama's war on religious freedom, for on February 3, 2013, Obama publicly stated in a pre-Super Bowl interview on CBS that gays (i.e, homosexuals) should be allowed in the Boy Scouts. 2
The inclusion of the Boy Scouts in the agenda of social and legal activists to promote the homosexual 'lifestyle" as normal, was well documented by William Bennett, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, who wrote:
From books for elementary school children like Heather Has Two Mommies and Daddy's Roommate ... to agitation against the Boy Scouts of America over its standards of membership and leadership ... a concentrated effort has been under way to present the homosexual "lifestyle" as normal, worthy of public support and fully equivalent (if not actually superior) to heterosexual marriage and family life. 3
The social and legal agitation against the Boy Scout ban of homosexuals from its membership and leadership reached the U. S. Supreme Court in a case in which an Eagle Scout and Assistant Scoutmaster was asked to resign his leadership role after he publicly acknowledged in a gay magazine his practice of homosexual behavior. He argued that this ban violated New Jersey's anti-discrimination law, which included sexual orientation. In a 5-4 decision the Scouts were held not subject to the New Jersey law. As stated in the majority opinion by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, a devout Lutheran, the mere presence of homosexuals in the Scouts would "force the organization to send a message, both to the youth members and the world, that the Boy Scouts accept homosexual conduct as a legitimate form of behavior." 4 As concluded in a study by the Heritage Foundation, the Court's decision thus recognized the right of expressive association that "protects private groups that wish to promote ideals and values," within the scope of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which provides that "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech ... or the right of the people peaceably to assemble .... " 5
Despite the ruling of the U. S. Supreme Court, activists continued their relentless pressure against the Boy Scout ban on homosexuals, 6 which ultimately caused the Boy Scout leadership in May 2013 to capitulate and change its ban so as to thereby allow homosexual youths to openly join the Scout membership. But the ban against adult homosexuals was not removed. 7 As a result some religious denominations, notably the Mormon church and the General Commission on United Methodist Men, supported the decision. Although not threatening to leave the Scouts, Frank Page, President of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, said in a statement that the vote "ushers in a sea change in the credibility" of the organization for believers "in the principles of biblical morality." 8
As a result of the Boy Scout decision, a coalition including groups such as Faith Based Boys, TrailHead USA, and Frontier Service Corps have met to organize a national "character-development" alternative to Boy Scouts in which youths would be asked to be sexually pure. 9
Ed Vitagliano, staff writer of the American Family Association said that as a result of the decision,
What has clearly changed now is that the BSA leadership no longer acknowledges that homosexuality itself is wrong. In accordance with the Boy Scout Oath, homosexuality is now part of being 'morally straight.' ... Scripture states that the message of Christ should not be mixed with a compromised message. In 2 Corinthians 6:14, the apostle Paul asks, "What partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? " The answer in none. And sending impressionable boys to an organization that mixes light and dark is not only wrong but also spiritually dangerous. 10
Vitagliano previously listed five cogent reasons why Christians should leave Boy Scouts: 11
1. BSA failed to stand for traditional values.
2. They have embraced moral relativism.
3. Homosexual men will soon serve as troop leaders.
4. They will promote homosexuality.
5. Boys will be placed at risk.
According to a statement by the Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison, the LCMS will honor the Boy Scout policy on homosexuals, but with a key caveat that would allow it to remove from troops boys who are "advocating for a moral view that is inconsistent with the church." In a Memorandum of Understanding between the church and Boy Scouts it was stipulated that no Boy Scout authority "supersedes the authority of the local pastor," who is authorized "to enforce boundaries up to and including removal [of boys] from the troop." 12 Only time will tell how this accommodation will play out in the long run. Although as a youth this writer was not a Boy Scout, as a young adult he served as Assistant Scoutmaster for a Scout Troop. When Scouts in that Troop reached the age of 14, the sponsoring church organized an Explorer Post and appointed this writer as Explorer Adviser. Based on that experience, I am of the opinion that accommodation with the new policy of the Boy Scouts is fraught with difficulties and even danger for biblical Christians because atheists undoubtedly will continue to pursue their anti-Christian agenda in the courts.13
October 10, 2013
1 Phyllis Schlafly and George Neumayer, No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom (Washington, DC:
Regnery Publ., Inc., 2012), p. 48.
2 Nedra Pickler, "Obama says Boy Scouts should allow gays," Associated Press, February 4, 2013.
3 William J. Bennertt, The Broken Hearth: Reversing the Moral Collapse of the American Family (New York: Doubleday,
2001), p. 106. See also: Alan Sears & Craig Osten, The Homosexual Agenda (Nashville: B&H Publ. Group, 2003), pp.
187-193, "The Attack on the Boy Scouts of America."
4 Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, 530 U.S. 640 (2000).
5 The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, Edwin Meese III, Chairman of the Editorial Advisory Board. The Heritage
Foundation. (Washington: Regnery Publ., Inc., 2005), p. 318. Edwin Meese is a Missouri Synod Lutheran.
6 Geoffrey A. Fowler and Ana Campoy, "Boy Scouts Rethink Gay Ban," The Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2013. See also: Robert Knight, "The Boy Scouts flirtation with dishonor and destruction," The Washington Times, February 11, 2013.
7 Fowler and Campoy, "Boy Scouts Decide To Allow Gay Youth," The Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2013.
9 Cheryl Wetzstein, "Boy Scout alternative on course for Jan. l," The Washington Times, July 15, 2013.
10 Ed Vitagliano, "Boy Scout's Blunder," AFA Journal, October 2013, p. 10.
11 Ed Vitagliano, "Broken Promises," ABA Journal, August 2013, pp. 14-16.
12 From Staff Reports, "Missouri Synod will honor Boy Scout policy on gays," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 8, 2013.
13 Cheryl Wetzstein, "Churches warned of Boy Scout legal risks," The Washington Times, August 19, 2013.