The Boy Scouts of America and “The Fork in the Road”

THE SCOUT OATH

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.

As a child my love was baseball. In addition to my mad dash to the baseball diamond after school each day, there was also the 2 shoeboxes filled with baseball cards of my heroes to further substantiate my passion for “America’s Pastime.” One of those cards was the famous perennial All-Star catcher of the even more famous New York Yankees – Yogi Berra. Yogi was not only a great baseball player he was a prized and sought out interview for sports reporters. His quotes were insightful and always contained aphorisms that consisted of sensible statement stated in a non-sensible formula which would leave everyone scratching their heads, nodding in agreement and laughing uncontrollably all at the same time. These quotes became “Berra-isms.” One of the all-time favorites was Yogi’s observation as to the nature of baseball – “Baseball is 90% mental but the other half is physical.” Perhaps his best known quote came when a reporter asked him about his decision making process in relationship to his expected retirement – His reply was “When you come to a fork in the road, you have to take it.” The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have arrived at a “fork in the road” and they have “to take it.”

The Gay, Bisexual, Lesbian and Transgender Movement (GBLT) movement having failed to force the BSA to normalize homosexuality as an affirmed practice of sexual behavior by demanding the acceptance of homosexual troop leaders through lawsuits and the court system – all the way to the Supreme Court – has now moved to outright intimidation through already compromised corporate financial supporters who are threatening to remove their sizable donations if the BSA does not change its policy to accept troop leaders and scouts who are avowed homosexuals. To meet this new strategy the BSA Executive Council has proposed a new policy which leaves in place the prohibition of homosexual leaders, at least for the time being, while removing the prohibition of homosexuality for scouts. The result is the BSA has come to a “fork in the road” and will have to “take it” in a vote by its General Council this week. One path calls for a vote to reject the proposal and affirm the historic position of BSA that maintains sexuality is appropriate only in a heterosexual, monogamous marriage. The other path is to accept and therefore affirm candidates for scout membership who claim to be homosexual in their sexual orientation.

In all honesty if the BSA takes a principled position to remain faithful to its historic position already supported by the court system of the United States, it likely will lead to further and increasingly aggressive intimidation along with renewed litigation. But the unassailable fact is that if the BSA takes the present recommendation pursuing the path of pragmatism and compromise it will lead to the same scenario. Why? Because it is absolutely inconceivable that the GBLT is going to accept and be satisfied with the current proposal that excludes the acceptance of homosexual troop leaders while affirming homosexuality as a valid choice for scouts themselves. Such a decision will soon if not immediately, be met by re-igniting the legal strategy, the corporate support intimidation strategy or both. And in reality once the BSA has affirmed homosexuality as an accepted lifestyle for scouts there is no possible way that it will be able to legally thwart the logical conclusion that homosexuality cannot be declared as unacceptable behavior for Scout leaders. Beyond that the compromised corporate sponsors will not be allowed by the GBLT to accept the compromise either.

The truth is that in the course of life’s events the BSA Executive Council and the General Council have an opportunity to model what they have been striving to teach young men for decades – Principled Leadership. The alternative is “philanthropic prostitution.” In other words, the historic and undeniably effective philanthropic endeavor and beliefs of the Boy Scouts of America is now up for negotiation if the donor’s gift is large enough to gain its attention. Then it becomes a matter of discussion as to how much money and what size donation will determine what the BSA now believes is a “morally straight” policy. The question before the BSA is really simple. Has the principled position of all the primary religions of the world and eons of human cultural history affirming the ethical parameters of monogamous, heterosexual, marital sex been misguided at best and bigoted at worse? Or is this the time to once again say no to the age-old rebellion of humanity against the Law of God whether apodictic Law-revealed in the Ten Commandments- or natural Law revealed in Creation. The leadership of the BSA must make clear that what is “morally straight” will not be determined by so-called philanthropic donors or dictated by the pressure tactics and intimidation of the “cultural elite.” It is simply an unswerving commitment to what is right.

The question many have asked is what do we do then with the applicant for scouting who is grappling with homosexuality. That answer is simple. Scout leaders attempt to assist them toward what is a “morally straight” perspective and practice of sexuality between a man and a woman in the context of marriage, just as they would with an applicant who is grappling with heterosexual promiscuity. You don’t accept people by accepting unacceptable behavior. The BSA must say no to those who would take advantage of their right motivations to affirm people by using emotional blackmail to insist that you must affirm someone’s destructive behavior in order to affirm them. But the simple fact is if homosexuality is affirmed and therefore deemed acceptable, then there is no logical reason to declare either homosexuality or even heterosexual promiscuity as inappropriate or wrong for scouts or scout leaders.

But in reality the objective of the GBLT has nothing to do with opening the ranks of the BSA to homosexual scouts or even scout leaders. It has everything to do with the relentless attempt to infiltrate every arena and institution of society to make the once unthinkable, first thinkable, then do-able and finally acceptable. The full unfettered acceptance of homosexual practice as affirmed and appropriate behavior in every aspect of society is the true objective of the GBLT and the BSA is about to determine whether it will remain principled or become a pawn to further the death spiral of contemporary sexual anarchy by participating in it to appease already compromised donors.

To the GBLT movement and members and to those who are dealing with the issue of sexuality, homosexuality is not addressed by re-writing sexual ethics. It is dealt with by the power of the Gospel that both freely forgives any and all the sins of any and all who put their trust in Christ because of His atoning death and triumphant resurrection and furthermore transforms sinners into Christ-followers who imperfectly but increasingly are “growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ our Lord” in every aspect of life including sexuality. This is why the Apostle Paul in the midst of a culture at a place called Corinth so sexually aberrant that it was a slur even among the pagans to be called a “Corinthian.”  But when the Gospel of power came nothing would be the same again and neither would sinners saved by His grace…

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, not idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the Kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. I Corinthians 6:9-11

Let me conclude with two thoughts. First of all as is obvious in the above quote; to all of those who are dealing with the attractions and seductions of homosexuality. The same Gospel that forgives and transforms any and all sins and sinners will also forgive and transform you. Social approval manipulated through intimidation will never make what is wrong right nor can it remove shame and guilt. But Christ can and will and furthermore He loves and delights to receive and to save sinners, which is why He died for us. So come to Him who came “to seek and to save the lost.” You cannot break God’s Law without it breaking you. But there is One who came to save law-breakers and that is the Law-giver Himself Jesus Christ. He took our place on the cross under the righteous judgment of God the Father to bear our sins and their judgment so that we might truly live by coming to Him with faith and repentance.

Secondly, to the BSA leadership, the leadership position(s) of almost every institution in our society is filled with those who have benefitted from your creed, competency building and character-based training regimen. Please do not lose the heart, soul and content of your historic movement. While I did not have the blessing of participating personally in the Boy Scouts, I have long admired its reputation and have enjoyed the privilege of observing its positive impact in the three churches I have pastored who benefited significantly by overseeing stellar Cub Scout and Boy Scout troops and troop leaders. Obviously if you choose to take the path of compromise affirming sexual aberration instead of principled leadership you will put our church leadership in a place of facing “a fork in the road” and we will “take it.”  Your choice to accept the unacceptable will then become our Providential opportunity to remain faithful to what is true and right while remembering that to love and accept people does not mean that we are required to accept unacceptable behavior in fact selfless love requires the identification of unacceptable and therefore destructive behavior.

But at the moment it is the BSA which is at a “fork in the road” and you must “take it.” The path of “principled leadership” promises not only to maintain a  marvelous legacy but actually build on it with that glorious leadership attribute of moral courage even in the face of an assured response of future adversity. The other path of “philanthropic prostitution” promises an inevitable journey into the oblivion of compromised irrelevance and ultimate dissolution.

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