The breaking of the Boy Scouts
By Ed Vitagliano
On January 28, pro-family groups were shocked as news reports surfaced claiming that Boy Scouts of America was considering ending its ban on homosexual members and leaders.
The reports turned out to be true. One of the last bastions to hold out against the cultural embrace of homosexuality, the 2.7-million-member BSA appeared to be tottering as its executive board met at its headquarters in Irving, Texas.
The outcry was immediate, loud and passionate, and in response, the BSA board postponed a decision until May, when the national council’s 1,400 voting members meet.
What is strange about the BSA waffle is that in July 2012 – just six months before the ruckus erupted – BSA reaffirmed its policy after a two-year study of the matter.
A BSA press release stated at the time: “The committee’s work and conclusion is that this policy reflects the beliefs and perspectives of BSA members, thereby allowing scouting to remain focused on its mission and the work it is doing to serve more youth.”
So, many pro-family groups asked: Are we to believe that just 180 days later, a reversal of the long-standing policy now “reflects the beliefs and perspectives of the BSA’s members?”
Corporate pressure grows
So why the sudden willingness of BSA to reconsider its ban on homosexuals?
It’s painfully obvious that the Boy Scouts organization has been under tremendous pressure to cave to the demands of homosexual activists and their sympathizers. BSA has fought one battle after another – against lawsuit-happy gay Scouts who were forced to leave after making their sexual orientation public, and against cities that spurned local BSA chapters and kicked them out of public facilities because of the straight-only policy.
Donations have also been evaporating as corporations and organizations drop funding because the Scouts held firm to its principles.
For example, about 50 local United Way groups have stopped providing funding for BSA because of the gay ban, according to an NBC news report.
The activist group Scouting For All states on its website that a number of major corporations have decided to stop funding Boy Scouts “until they rescind their policy of discrimination.” Those companies include American Airlines, CVS Pharmacy Stores, Hewlett Packard, IBM, J.P. Morgan and Levi Strauss.
Scouts For Equality, another pro-homosexual group, also received assurances from three corporations – Intel, healthcare giant Merck and UPS – that they also would stop funding the Boy Scouts.
Bludgeoning the opposition
The manner in which these corporate decisions occurred follows something of a recurring pattern. First, homosexual activists within a company convince it to add “sexual orientation” to its non-discrimination policy. Then, if that corporation is discovered to be giving money to a group like Boy Scouts, activists hound that company into ending the donations – based on the non-discrimination policy.
In the case of UPS, Scouts for Equality began an intensive campaign urging the corporation to drop its funding of BSA. UPS relented and released a statement saying it would only support organizations “that are in alignment with our … non-discrimination policy.”
Similarly, in its statement to Scouts for Equality, Merck Foundation executive vice president Brian Grill said “it is critical to honor and support a foundational policy of diversity and inclusion in all funding decisions. … The BSA’s policy of exclusion directly conflicts with the Merck Foundation’s giving guidelines … [and] policies that prevent … discrimination.”
Thus a policy that was initiated under the pretense of protecting homosexuals from discrimination is thereafter used to bludgeon into submission those who refuse to embrace homosexuality.
A powerful instrument of persuasion
Americans often have a justifiable knee-jerk revulsion to the idea of discrimination. The U.S. has admittedly struggled with issues involving social justice.
There is a category of discrimination that is illegal in America, such as the Jim Crow laws that oppressed blacks in the South before the Civil Rights movement. Those laws clearly violated the U.S. Constitution.
The BSA policy banning homosexuals does not fall into that category, however. In Dale v Boy Scouts of America (2000), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Boy Scouts had the right, under well-established constitutional rights to free speech and free association, to refuse “to promote homosexual conduct as a legitimate form of behavior.”
Yet gay activists and their sympathizers continue to accuse BSA of discrimination. What’s going on?
The confusion results from the fact that there is a second category of discrimination that is not illegal but associational. It is what allows Boy Scouts to exclude girls, or a men’s softball league to exclude women. No one would expect a poetry reading society to be forced to allow people to read comic books, nor should a wine-tasting group be forced to drink diet colas at their meetings.
The Supreme Court made it clear in Dale that this was the category into which BSA fell.
However, the political correctness crowd has labored tirelessly to combine the idea of associational discrimination with the illegal kind. Activists argue that if Boy Scouts don’t embrace homosexuality, then the organization is discriminating against gays just like Jim Crow laws discriminated against blacks. In a sound-bite world, conflating the two different types of discrimination becomes a way to defame – and shame – BSA.
On the basis of this leftist line of reasoning, Jay Mechling, professor emeritus of American studies at University of California-Davis and author of On My Honor: Boy Scouts and the Making of American Youth, insisted, “The scouting experience should be available to every boy who wants it.”
But scouting is available to every boy who wants it – as long as there are adult men to help. BSA doesn’t stop fathers from taking their sons camping. Boy Scouts don’t padlock national parks and keep groups of men and boys from hiking the trails and fishing in streams.
“One Scout turned away [for being gay] is one too many,” complained the Human Rights Campaign to its supporters.
Fine. If scouting activities are so important to gay youth, why doesn’t HRC start a gay scouting organization that operates by their own principles?
Why the staggering arrogance of people like Mechling, who insist that Boy Scouts conform their beliefs about scouting to match Mechling’s beliefs?
The truth is that having scouting for homosexual kids is not really what the complaints are all about. Instead, the complaints reveal HRC activists’ scorched-earth strategy: They will leave no institution standing that refuses to capitulate to leftist ideology.
Hypocrisy of the “tolerant”
After BSA concluded its policy review last July and reaffirmed its “no homosexuals” policy, numerous critics pounded away at the organization.
One such critic was Cathy Tisdale, president of Camp Fire USA, another youth-oriented group. In a commentary about Boy Scouts in the New York Times, she touted the Camp Fire nondiscrimination policy by which the organization “makes clear that all are welcome.”
Well, almost all. Tisdale added: “[T]hat transparency allows those whose values or religious convictions may conflict with our policy to choose another organization to join.”
The hypocrisy of the tolerance movement is breathtaking. Camp Fire invites people who disagree with their policies to go elsewhere – “to choose another organization to join.” Tisdale apparently missed the irony of her column, which was written to criticize Boy Scouts for doing precisely what her group does.
A brave new world
At the conclusion of her New York Times piece, Tisdale noted that Camp Fire has its openness policy because the organization insists on “standing up for what’s right,” because that is “the only way we will advance society for the better.”
And there it is. That is the main point of contention.
When it comes to homosexuality, Camp Fire, HRC, Merck, UPS and their ilk believe they are right, and Boy Scouts – and the rest of us – are wrong. Period.
Especially wrong are those of us who are religious.
In his New York Times commentary, Mechling attempted to brush away all arguments used by BSA to defend its policy. He concluded: “So the real reasons behind the policy are religious,” and such a foundation for the policy is illegitimate for Boy Scouts or any other group.
It is Christianity versus secularism. Forget all pleasantries and appeals to fairness and tolerance and inclusivity, this is a war of ideologies – two mutually exclusive worldviews locked in a titanic struggle for supremacy.
For the tolerance gurus there is a secular morality that is just as absolute as that preached by any Bible-thumper behind a pulpit.
It is a pagan sexual ethic rooted in moral relativism with the taproot deeply embedded in Darwinian evolution. Its teachers have their own unbending laws cut into stone and pronounced from on high. Their prophets hurl jeremiads at the unrepentant, who are relegated to a this-worldly hell consisting of the drying up of corporate funding, the disdain and downright persecution of the civil state, banishment to the fringes on university campuses, and the sneering mockery of Hollywood.
For these pioneers of the brave new world, people who practice sodomy are the saints and Christians are the sinners. And humanist stormtroopers have spent the last 60 years hunting down and driving out the infidels.
First the humanists succeeded in routing religion out of the government sphere. Now they are attempting to drive it from the private sphere – by targeting an institution like BSA.
No longer allowed to do their duty to God and remain “morally straight,” the corruption of Boy Scouts of America will be a terrible sign that the secular campaign is nearly won, that the Judeo-Christian foundations of our civil society have been utterly overturned.
Should BSA cave, the end will not come immediately. But it will merely be the eye of the storm, with the angry clouds gathering next outside the walls of the church in America.
SIDEBAR: TAKE ACTION
Christians must encourage the Boy Scouts of America to remain steadfast in keeping its ban on homosexual participation in membership and leadership. Here are some things you can do:
Contact: Wayne Brock, Chief Boy Scouts Executive
972-580-2004 or 972-580-2000
Contact your local Boy Scout chapters by looking in the Yellow Pages for a phone number or visiting www.scouting.org.