Pastor's Corner: Why Christians should be concerned about Boy ScoutsBy DANIEL AUSBUN
First Baptist Church, Moreland
This past Fall our first-grade son became a Tiger Cub Scout with Pack 48 in the Flint River Council.
We joined the Boy Scouts of America, an organization that has been around since 1910. Nearly 120 million boys over 103 years have participated in scouting. I was once a Cub Scout at the local Methodist church. Seventy percent of scout groups are sponsored by religious organizations.
In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Boy Scouts had a constitutional right to set their own membership standards. As recently as 2004 the group adopted a policy that declared, “Boy Scouts of America believes that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the obligations in the Scout Oath and Scout Law to be morally straight and clean in thought, word, and deed.”
What is the Scout Oath? The Scout Oath reads, “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.”
This announcement comes just six months after the B.S.A. board declared that it would not reconsider the policy. The B.S.A. said last July that a special committee established by the B.S.A. board had unanimously recommended keeping the policy.
Only six months later, the Boy Scouts are ready to announce a complete revocation of that policy. The new policy, as quoted from their spokesman, “Would allow the religious, civic or educational organizations that oversee and deliver scouting to determine how to address the issue. The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members, or parents. Under the proposed policy the B.S.A. would not require any chartered organization to act in ways inconsistent with that organization’s mission, principles or religious beliefs.”
B.S.A. is saying they’re not taking a position on homosexuality, rather allowing each chartered organization to determine if homosexuals can participate.
The national policy prohibiting openly gay leaders and scouts will be rescinded, but no national policy including openly homosexual scouts or leaders will be put in place – at least not for now. Each of the 100,000-plus sponsoring bodies will determine where they stand on homosexuality. For example, if one pack rejects you because you’re gay, the one down the street could accept you.
The Boy Scouts have been under mounting pressure. When the board announced no change in the policy last July, two prominent board members, Randall Stevenson, CEO of AT&T, and James Turley, CEO of Ernst & Young, openly called for the board to reconsider. Both lead companies considered gay friendly and both were themselves under pressure from gay rights advocates.
It’s not a coincidence many years ago that the first Sunday of February – tomorrow – was designated by the Boy Scouts as Scout Sunday in churches across our country. On Monday, the board meets to consider revocating their stand banning homosexuality. Christians should pray for God’s Word to prevail within Monday’s meeting.
The Scout Oath states that scouts should be “morally straight.” What does that mean?
Romans 1:26-27 states homosexuality is a sin. You cannot claim to be a Bible-believing Christian and believe homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle. The Boy Scout board cannot claim to affirm the Scout Oath of keeping oneself “morally straight” yet tolerating homosexuality.
This could likely be a sad, self-destructing move made by the Boy Scouts. Many parents and churches will reevaluate their participation with B.S.A.
But why should the average church attending, Bible-believing, Christian be concerned about a Boy Scout policy? Because the recent attacks against the Boy Scouts are likely a foretaste of what awaits religious organizations.
In other words, this isn’t going to end with Boy Scouts. It’s coming to your church.