Opinion: Decision to allow gays in scouts up to BSA

Published 10:37 am Monday, February 25, 2013

The Boy Scouts must be allowed to decide for itself whether to disallow gays or include them. Gay activists and advocates should not force BSA by political correctness to accommodate to its political agenda, and those who oppose homosexuality should not intimidate BSA by righteous preaching to conform to their moral standards.

The Boy Scouts of America is a private organization of volunteer membership, and its purpose for more than 100 years has been to promote the wholesomeness of body, soul, and spirit of American boys. It has never been a religious organization but always friendly to and supportive of religion and religious interests. The Scout Oath pledges scouts and scouters alike: “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law … to keep myself … morally straight.” This law culminates with “A scout is … reverent.”

The political interests and demands of outsiders are irrelevant to scouting and have no legitimate claim upon it. Scouting officials ought to listen respectfully to those who ask that scouting admit gays both as scouters (adult leaders) and scouts (boys). If they become honestly and logically convinced this is in the best interests of scouting as a movement and, especially, the boys, it can revise its membership requirements so as not to disallow them, as it always has so disallowed.

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But that gay activists and advocates are on a clearly recognized campaign to make homosexuality broadly accepted, celebrated, and promoted should have no bearing on BSA’s decision. It is their right so to campaign, but its political agenda must not be forced upon scouting, which has its own agenda.

Scouting officials also ought to listen respectfully to those who ask that scouting continue to disallow gays from serving as scouters and boys to participate. If they remain intelligently convinced its historic position is in the best interests of the boys, it ought to reaffirm its membership requirements and to disallow gays, as it always has.

I have never recognized scouting as being anti-gay. If it has recently appeared to be something like this, it is because gays themselves have put their spotlight on the matter and pushed it as an issue. The “ban” on gays is of recent origin and felt to be a necessity.

That scouting has a current problem with pedophiles abusing boys is consequent to the increasing permissiveness of our society. These pedophiles are, of course, gay, but they do not abuse boys because they are gay but because they are also pedophiles. The current ban has not been successful in preventing abuses, but dropping it certainly will not.

Just as the gay agenda must not be forced on scouting, an anti-gay agenda must not be allowed to do so. Scouting was not founded and has not operated as an exhibit or model of the heterosexual perspective. An effort to make it so is unfair and unworthy.

I have the impression the greater number of people who are campaigning to admit gays have little interest in scouting or in scouts. They are obsessed with their own agenda, which is far more political than conceptual. I also have the impression a great number of people who are protesting any policy change have little interest in scouting or in scouts. They, too, are obsessed with their own agenda. They may have honest moral convictions about the matter, but their immediate actions appear to me to be as political as that of the gay lobby.

There is this difference, nonetheless. The gays demand BSA drop its own position and accept theirs. Others expect BSA to maintain its historic position largely because they agree with it.

Scouting is scouting, and I want it to remain so. But what it means to be a scout is the business of scouting itself. Let the rest of us counsel, but let the Boy Scouts of America make its own decision.