The Boy Scouts are caught between Scylla and Charybdis–or, as more of them might put it less classically, a rock and a hard place. The organization has had to deal with scandals involving gay scoutmasters and some incidents of child sexual abuse. So it tightened its standards and its scrutiny. Now the organization is under fire for being anti-gay. The organization has announced that it is reconsidering its policies banning openly gay leaders and scouts. Barton Gingerich (a former student of mine) has some inside information about what is going on.
Barton Gingerich of the Institute on Religion & Democracy:
The proposed change to the Boy Scouts of America’s exclusion standards has hit national headlines. Currently, the BSA forbids openly gay leaders, volunteers, and scouts. This reflects the opinion of the vast majority of active parents and Scouting leadership. As an Eagle Scout and Brotherhood member of the Order of the Arrow, I was shocked and saddened to hear the announcement that the Boy Scouts were considering a change to this longstanding standard.
While The Atlantic insisted that the main impetus behind the change was the collection of heart-wrenching testimonies, this Christian Post article reveals the crux of the matter: large corporate donors are threatening to withhold funds to the BSA unless it alters the leadership standards. Within the past year, big donors Merck, Intel, and UPS threatened to no longer give to BSA because of its ban on gay scouts, volunteers and leaders. In case you were wondering, the rapid-fire volley of divestment threats does not simply happen without much work behind the curtain. Just this week, Scouting leadership announced it was reconsidering its stance.
The change faces great opposition within the Scouting community and on the grassroots level. Families threaten to leave the program entirely; no doubt many troops in the already-declining and financially-enfeebled organization will close down for lack of members. Churches, tremendous BSA supporters through donations and their facilities, have weighed in as well. . . .
The leaders of the LGBT agenda have long targeted the Boy Scouts. First, they persecuted the organization legally, through juridical attacks that reached all the way up to the Supreme Court. Even though the BSA is a volunteer private organization, it found itself under fire from both prosecutors and the media. Now they have assaulted the BSA at a much weaker spot: finances. . . .
The LGBT champions on company boards and positions of cultural leadership that are putting the pressure on the BSA have no love for the organization. If the organization keeps its current standards, it loses big-time corporate donors. If the Scouts change their policy, then they are going to lose grassroots participation via facilities, membership, and funds from many families and churches. Either way the organization is hurt badly. No one who really loves an organization tries to annihilate it in such a manner. Sure, a few former Scouts are gay and would perhaps like to see it reform its ways, but other gay Scouts I have talked to would rather the organization keep its standards rather than face immanent destruction.
These days, lack of affirmation for the LGBT agenda IS intolerance since not speaking out against “heterosexism” is considered the same as not speaking out against racism. And it is probably not going to stop with excluding leaders–there will be more demands (perhaps insisting the BSA offer sexual education rather than leaving that responsibility to parents, a custom that has come under fire before).
Most of those that have put on the pressure on the relatively feeble Boy Scouts of America do not give a care for the organization. It is just another casualty in their culture war.
How can openness to gays not destroy the Boy Scouts? I know, I know, not all homosexuals prey on young boys and in fact those are very few. And yet wouldn’t the nature of the organization attract those few?
And will parents want their children to join the organization, just out of fear of what might happen?
And will boys want to join the organization under these circumstances, knowing how boys think and how they tend to be worried about how others think about them?
And in what sense is a pre-adolescent to be identified as “gay”? Pre-pubescent children either aren’t having sex with anybody, or they are being sexually abused. The notion that a Cub Scout-aged boy, for instance, is “gay” is surely problematic. I suspect a common-sense solution such as admitting all boys, but not allowing gay Scoutmasters will not satisfy the pressure groups. If worse comes to worse, maybe the organization should just disband.