After the Boy Scouts? For a few, camping with doctrine

When considering the forces pulling at the Boy Scouts of America, one thing journalists really needed to consider was a simple statistical chart that can be found (.pdf) on the organization’s homepage. Here are the crucial numbers found at the top of this file:

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — 37,856.

United Methodist Church — 10,868.

Catholic Church — 8,397.

Presbyterian Church — 3,597.

Lutheran Church — 3,827.

Baptist churches — 3,981.

These are these numbers? That would be the number of Scouting units hosted by these particular religious groups.

I am well aware, as I have written in a previous post, that this chart doesn’t tell us everything in terms of Scouting’s internal divisions and tensions. Once again, that is this “Presbyterian Church”? How many of those are liberal Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations, as opposed to congregations in the Presbyterian Church in America, or the Evangelical Presbyterian Church or, for that matter, more doctrinally conservative PCUSA flocks in the Sunbelt or elsewhere in flyover country?

The same question can be applied to that “Lutheran Church” reference. Are these part of the liberal Evangelical Lutheran Church in America or the conservative Missouri-Synod Lutheran Church? And those “Baptist churches,” are they Southern Baptist, American Baptist, independent Baptists, from one of the two National Baptist conventions or what?

But one thing is certain, given the realities shown in that chart. In keeping with trends in its own work, the Mormon leadership endorsed the policy of accepting openly gay Scouts, but no openly gay Scout leaders. The Mormon compromise was victorious.

Now, who comes next?

The United Methodists, that’s who. Outside the Sunbelt, there are few United Methodist congregations that will not accept, if not hail, this decision (unless they believe it does not go far enough).

Then how about your generic suburban American Catholic congregations?

In most of America, ordinary Catholic parishes rarely take stands about anything. Unless bishops revolt, I would expect very few Catholic parishes to shun the Scouts. Some will. Most will not. Watch the bishops, because there could be a story there — but I doubt it.

So what’s the big religion story in this? Essentially, the Mormons won the day. If anything, this vote represents another fascinating step in the ongoing journey of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints into the safe mushy middle of American religion, that great shopping mall of the soul.

The BSA leaders decided to go with the Mormons, United Methodists and suburban American Catholics. The clear losers? The Southern Baptists and other traditionalist groups, including America’s few truly conservative Catholic parishes.

So did anyone out there in mainstream media land pay attention to the religion groups and their role in hosting Scout units? Are you kidding me? This is a legal, cultural and political story.

It the religion angle is of interest to you, there is no need, whatsoever, to look at the muted victory story in The New York Times.

The Tribune Newspapers daily report that ran in The Baltimore Sun (the newspaper that lands in my front yard) is a bit better, in that it features quotes from a wider variety of voices — especially among conservatives who are planning to to open alternative organizations to compete with the Scouts. I found this section of the story especially poignant:

Carrie Evans, executive director of Equality Maryland, said the Boy Scouts will next need to address the issue of allowing gay troop leaders, but called the vote a “good first step.”

“They’re moving on so they can refocus the organization’s mission on developing young leaders, and not to have the first thing you associate with them be their ban on gay youth and gay leaders,” Evans said.

Opponents vowed to fight the new policy, which they warned would damage flagging membership and funding. Some of the protesters who opposed lifting the ban had gathered in Boy Scout uniforms on the road leading into the hotel. A few returned Thursday, looking crestfallen.

“It’s a disaster,” said William Tarbell, 68, a Boy Scout unit commissioner from Reno, taking off his 60-year-old broad-brimmed Scouting cap. “I will no longer wear it.” …

John Stemberger, president of the conservative Florida Family Policy Council, said opponents planned to meet in Louisville, Ky., next month to discuss forming an alternate youth group “that does have timeless values.” While standing at a news conference in his Scout uniform, he announced, “This will be the last time I wear this uniform.”

And at the very end, there was another nod towards the next stage in this, yes, religion-linked story.

Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, said, “Our sadness for the Scouting organization as a whole cannot be overstated.” Southern Baptist leaders have been gearing up to absorb boys who leave Scouting into their own youth group, the Royal Ambassadors.

In other words, in an age in which the U.S. Justice Department continues to attempt to separate “freedom of worship” from “freedom of religion,” journalists can expect openly doctrinal, religious, niche forms of Scouting to emerge — with little crossover between the competing religious flocks. How many traditional Catholics will send their children to Royal Ambassador events, year after year? Not many.

This angle was, no surprise here, anticipated by Religion News Service the other day — in an Adelle Banks news feature about existing religious groups for boys. Check it out.

Oh, and one more thing: In terms of moral theology, both Catholics and Mormons emphasize that same-sex orientation is not the same thing as same-sex activity or conduct.

Thus, has anyone asked the leaders of the new Boy Scouts of America how they are defining — in written guidelines communicated to churches, parents and unit leaders — that crucial term “openly gay”?

Just asking. There could be a story there. You think?

Print Friendly

About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • Christie

    …”in an age in which the U.S. Justice Department continues to attempt to separate “freedom of worship” from “freedom of religion,”…
    Can you please explain this statement? I’ve never seen the activities of the Justice Department described this way.

    • tmatt

      Just read the news, especially about the HHS regulations.

    • Dennis

      Freedom of worship means that you can go to your Church and worship there. However you cannot bring true worship, your faith, onto the street corner and into the real world. The freedom of Religion means that you can bring your worship (religion) to real life in the world. A hint of this meaning can be found in the constitutions of communist countries (China is a good example) where freedom of worship is allow, but not the freedom of religion.

      • Christie

        Hmm that’s interesting. I actually haven’t heard it characterized that way before, even though I read many religion-related articles and blogs. My readings show that the Justice Department is enforcing secularism in the governmental sphere where tax dollars and non-establishment or preferring one religion over the other matters. They don’t care if you preach in Times Square, but you can’t put religion related icons on government property.
        I believe this statement in the piece here to be an overstatement that is not supported by evidence.

        • tmatt

          Once again, follow the precise arguments being made in the HHS regulation debates about which groups receive religious conscience rights and which ones do not.

  • Kodos

    I’ve read a few of the news reports on this topic today and I’ve noticed that journalists seem to be asking the “what’s next” question to supporters and opponents of the resolution, which is good. For opponents of the resolution, the answer is either “we’re leaving the BSA” or “we’re pondering what to do next” or “we’re fine as long as the the BSA does not allow gay scoutmasters.” For many of the supporters, however, the answer to the “what’s next” question is: “we’re going to start pushing the BSA to allow gay scoutmasters.”

    So what’s interesting to me is that the reporters are stopping there and not asking the “what’s next after that” question, which seems to be a very important one. Gay activists are not going to stop with this compromise, and have said as much even before the ink was dry on the resolution. So for BSA members who are sitting on the fence with the latest resolution, or those like the Mormon church who have drawn the line at permitting gay scoutmasters, the strident response of gay activists today seems to be an especially germane issue for a journalist to probe.

  • Leroy Huizenga

    Bishop of Arlington, Paul Loverde, questions continued relations with the Scouts: http://arlingtondiocese.org/news.php?id=355

  • http://22Catholic.com/ Matthew P. Schneider, LC

    The policy as such seems OK but given the pressure we need to worry that it will be pushed too far. I think you may have missed this middle group a little bit. We need to help all teens but their are issues about the next step.

    I posted some other Catholic options on my bog: http://22catholic.com/?p=150

    I also analyzed this policy from a Catholic perspective a few weeks: http://22catholic.com/?p=281

    • Glenn54321

      “…we need to worry that it will be pushed too far”

      It is a change specifically designed to set the stage for more changes later. It is literally designed to be “pushed too far” and has nothing to do with inclusion. It has to do with tearing down a group which stood opposed to homosexual behavior. We certainly need to help troubled teens, but radicalizing a group which is growing great young men is not the place to do it.

      Your blogs seem pretty clear about what is really happening here, so I am a bit confused about your comment.

  • Glenn54321

    I just can’t believe how confounded this debate has become. It is about homosexual behavior, not existence. Behavior is either immoral or not. If you believe in God in any Christian sense, then you must (yes, must) hold that homosexual behavior is immoral.

    Since morality is objective, the BSA essentially just crossed the threshold from the objective Christian moral code into the totally relative moral code of the world. Since it is an organization which exists *specifically* to induce certain moral traits in young men, it has just violated the truth of its core mission at the deepest level. It’s hat is out of the Christian ring and in with the world.

    Since the Mormons have such a heavy hand in this, it reminds me of when the president of their church had a revelation (from God, of course) that black people could hold the priesthood when it became increasingly socially unacceptable for them to maintain the black-people-are-evil-lamanite-offspring position. Same thing with polygamy prior to that. In fact, it feels like exactly the same, doesn’t it?

    Oh well… it was good while it lasted, BSA. See you later.

    • RayIngles

      It’s hat is out of the Christian ring and in with the world.

      The BSA is not a specifically Christian organization. Perhaps the BSA should not have accepted Islamic, Jewish, or Hindu scouts?

      • wlinden

        You forgot Buddhist (who have their own “religious award”, Hindus don’t, last I checked.

      • Glenn54321

        There are many, many faith-based religious awards available, but check your history. Of course the BSA accepts other faiths but the morality is rooted in Christian beliefs.

        • RayIngles

          Actually, being trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent are not exclusively Christian virtues. Rather a large number of religions and philosophies agree on those goods.

          • Glenn54321

            Sorry, did someone say that these virtues are exclusively Christian? All I said was that the BSA has its morality rooted in Christian morals.

    • Frank Elliott

      “I just can’t believe how confounded this debate has become. It is about homosexual behavior, not existence. ” The right to exist is precisely what the debate is about. That right to exist should not be conditioned on invisibility, on lifelong fear, or constant dissembling. If you don’t support that right, then don’t cower behind faith. Faith is what keeps people hopeful and helpful in tragedy. Don’t sully it with hatred.

      • Glenn54321

        No, it isn’t. No one -ever- has said that existing with homosexual tendencies was wrong. Even the Catechism of the Catholic Church makes this point very clearly. Homosexual desires can be the motivator for immoral behavior when one chooses to act on it in certain ways. That is what is being debated.

        If a child (remember, we’re talking about kids here) feels same sex attraction, but has good role models to help him seek a chaste life and confront himself, then there was never any problem. There would be no debate. However, it is plain that this debate is about people who want to be flamboyantly open and practicing homosexuals. Behavior, not existence. The same kids would have been kicked out of scouts for stealing things or chronic bullying… there are lots of things on the immoral list.

        If you want to be open and flamboyantly gay, that’s your choice, but don’t try to call yourself moral against any Christian standard. You’re neither moral nor Christian.

        • Frank Elliott

          The debate always has been about the right to exist. One cannot say that the Church agrees with the your right to life if it insists that your right to earn a living and your safety can only be purchased at the price of invisibility, which the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith has repeatedly maintained.

          Don’t try to call yourself a Christian if you extort innocents into silence and fear. If you do this to the young and lead them into despair and suicide, Christs own words damn you: “If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

          • Glenn54321

            I assume that by “price of invisibility” you’re making some kind of emotional metaphor for having to acknowledge an objective moral code if you want to be Christian, even if you disagree with some/all of that code. If you suffer that much emotional pain over the idea that morality isn’t relative, well, maybe you should seek some serious help.

            Clearly, your subscription to relative morality also bleeds into your ideas about that bible verse. In fact, that verse supports my position much more than yours. If you want to restrict to scripture, it plainly says that “fornicators and sodomites” will not make it into heaven. The verses you’re referencing are about scandal. So, if someone is promoting the life of sodomy and fornication by being flamboyantly gay, then they’re also causing scandal by helping to make that kind of life seem OK.

            Seems pretty simple to me. If someone’s guilt over what they’ve done drive them to depression and suicide, it’s because they refused the help of God in forgiveness and repentance. This is what happened to Judas, after all.

        • EdinburghEye

          “No one -ever- has said that existing with homosexual tendencies was wrong.”

          Which is why the Boy Scouts of America, justly and rightly, have decided not to continue their practice of kicking out young men who know they’re gay.

          You, on the other hand, have argued that it’s perfectly okay to kick out young men who know they’re gay, if they’re honest about their feelings and don’t take a cringy “may need some counseling to sort it out” attitude to their normal sexual orientation. So you are being rather hypocritical here. Did you know that hypocrisy is one of the sins which Jesus consistently condemned vehemently?

          • Glenn54321

            I’ve made my points and this debate isn’t about me. If you don’t see the distinction between “being” and “acting” then there isn’t any point discussing this further.

          • EdinburghEye

            Your points reveal a great deal about you, and your reasons for wanting to believe there is something wrong with being gay. That you don’t want to be judged on your character, while arguing that young gay men should be judged and rejected on your homophobic presumptions about their character, says you are very arrogant – also not a Christian virtue.

            That you yourself condemn young gay men for being gay, you’ve made extremely clear.

          • Glenn54321

            Enlighten me. What have I said which clearly indicates that I condemn anyone?

          • EdinburghEye

            “Enlighten me. What have I said which clearly indicates that I condemn anyone?”

            Did someone hack your account? Because SOMEONE identified as “Glenn54321″ has been posting comments in this thread condemning young gay men for being gay.

          • Glenn54321

            I will accept your lack of a quote as an admission that I haven’t condemned anyone for anything. And I never will; it’s not up to me.

            The last thing I will say about this in this forum is this: I found an article which near-perfectly summarizes my position. I am sure understand your position. I am also sure you don’t understand mine as you’ve accused me falsely. If you aren’t just trolling, please read:

            http://www.truthandcharityforum.org/a-cloudy-future-for-catholic-boy-scouts/

          • EdinburghEye

            I will accept your lack of a quote as an admission that I haven’t condemned anyone for anything. And I never will; it’s not up to me.

            Oh. Then someone hacked your account to post all of the comments in this thread in which Glenn54321 vociferously condemns gay people? Or…

            Thanks for posting the link. The woman who wrote the article is apparently “heartbroken” that the Boy Scouts are no longer condemning & kicking out young gay men who are honest about their feelings. As you say this is your position, you evidently are the same person who’s been condemning and rejecting gay men.

            If you like, Glenn, I’ll quote every single one of your comments in which you condemn and reject gay people. But that would make this comment rather long.

    • John Pack Lambert

      The way the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has responded to this is supporting the policy change, while reaffirming its stance that homosexual behavior is unacceptable.
      The whole debate is a mess because some people say “gay” and mean experiancing same-sex attraction, but not acting on it, and some people mean acting on it, and some people constantly bait and switch. There are groups that say everyone who experiences same sex attraction should act on it, so if these groups were consistent they would be attacking the scouts for opposing sexual behavior by 16-year-olds. On the other hand, if some peoples were really consistent in their theories they would be saying all 16-year-olds should be sexual active, which is a very disturbing view to many.
      I am reminded of a journalist who wrote of the Mormon view that sex should only be between a man and a woman who are married, and my first reaction was “is that not the view of most Christians”. However, maybe I am wrong.

      • Glenn54321

        Exactly. 16 year olds (or even younger) should not be engaging in any sexual behavior in the first place.

        The only time this debate comes up is when some kid wants to identify himself as gay and wants to behave openly and freely about it. Behavior, not existence is under debate. This is all about forcing the BSA to not equate homosexuality with immorality.

        • EdinburghEye

          Why should the BSA regard American boys as inferior to British boys? In the British Boy Scouts, boys who realise they’re gay / bisexual and share this with their fellow scouts or with a scout leader, are not condemned as automatically immoral and told they can’t be scouts: British Scouting has included gay / bisexual boys for years. What’s wrong with American boys that you think this isn’t possible in the US?

          • Glenn54321

            It doesn’t seem like you’re understanding the core debate. Not only is the BSA not capable (or I suspect even interested) in condemning people, but this is a question of what is moral behavior and what is not, since morality is one of the values that scouting tries to instill. Behavior is distinct from existence. This debate is not about existence.

            With that in mind: If the BSA wants to decide that homosexual behavior is not immoral then they are free to do so. What they are not free to do is decide that it’s not immoral AND enjoy an alliance with Christian groups which has guaranteed its survival thus far.

          • EdinburghEye

            It doesn’t seem like you’re understanding the debate at all, Glenn. The BSA have said they do not expect Scouts under 18 to engage in sexual behaviour. That’s not discrimination if it’s applied equally to all Scouts regardless of sexual orientation.

            The question of moral behaviour is whether gay or bi scouts should have to lie in order to remain in the BSA. I think lying is immoral and certainly expecting a Scout to practice consistent deceit about their sexual orientation is against the first Scout Law in the UK: A Scout is trusted.

            You, it appears, are under the impression that this is about whether gay scouts get to have sex. The BSA has already answered that, with the standard applying to all Scouts. But you weren’t paying attention.

          • Glenn54321

            My first reaction is: if sexual behavior is not to be engaged in by any youth member of scouts, then why does this debate exist?

            I suppose the distinction is subtle, and I see what you’re saying. Here are two scenarios that separate the issue for me when I think about it:

            1 – A scout who feels same sex attraction “comes out” and expects the world to endorse this tendency. He has no intention of regarding this tendency as anything other than normal. He behaves in a manor consistent with the Hollywood homosexual stereotype when interacting with peers.

            2 – A scout who feels same sex attraction recognizes that he may need some counseling to sort it out. He doesn’t want his sexual feelings to be a distraction in a group that has nothing to do with sexuality. He seeks the advice of his pastor or other trusted pillars of the community, but basically doesn’t need the world to know what his sexual urges are.

            Teen #2 would not be ejected from scouts and would never cause this debate to be invoked. This debate is about teen #1. Along Christian lines, teen #1 is behaving scandalously and is clearly moving towards if not already behaving in an immoral lifestyle. He is a major distraction during all activities and his behavior causes significant discomfort in the troop during events, making the job of being a troop leader much harder. It is an inappropriate drag on the group and he is right to be expelled.

            So, I say again, it’s not what you’re feeling or how you exist. It’s about how you act on that through your behavior.

          • EdinburghEye

            ” if sexual behavior is not to be engaged in by any youth member of scouts, then why does this debate exist?”

            My first reaction is: Wow, you really haven’t been following the situation AT ALL, have you? The debate exists because the Boy Scouts of America have been kicking out young gay men – not because they’ve been having sex, but because they haven’t lied about their sexual orientation.

            “A scout who feels same sex attraction “comes out” and expects the world to endorse this tendency.”

            Yes. And why not? Anything else would be bizarrely homophobic. The BSA can argue that they expect Scouts under 18 not to be sexually active – but they can hardly expect normal kids to buy in to the antiquated idea that there’s something wrong with being sexually attracted to your own gender.

          • Glenn54321

            My first question was rhetorical. If they’re not engaging in sex, then they should not be talking about sex. No debate. If everyone kept it to themselves, this would not be an issue.

            The denied eagle scout was much more ‘teen #1′ than ‘teen #2′. So, this makes sense.

            This is where you and I will diverge. I do think there is a disorder with SSA. You can look at this from any number of perspectives ranging from plain biology to all Christian philosophy. Does this mean we reject or hate? Categorically not. We must understand and help. Help does not mean pretend it’s normal and OK to indulge in.

            Clearly you think it’s just fine, so naturally you hold that they should be allowed in without restraint. You and I do not share the same view of what is moral and what is not, so we will not be able to reach any consensus here. But, rest assured, I do know your side of the argument.

            As a side note, homophobia is not a real term. http://tampabaycoalition.homestead.com/files/703NoFearFactorInHomophobiaStudyClaims.htm

          • EdinburghEye

            If they’re not engaging in sex, then they should not be talking about sex.

            You obviously don’t know any teenage boys.

            The denied eagle scout was much more ‘teen #1′

            Not quite seeing what signs of “flamboyant Hollywood stereotype” you saw in Ryan Andresen, but I don’t really want to know.

            I do think there is a disorder with SSA.

            That’s your problem, which you shouldn’t try to impose on other people. You might want to get counselling to help deal with it.

            Does this mean we reject or hate?

            From your own testimony on this comment thread, it’s clear you see no other option but to reject and express hate towards young men who know they’re gay.

            You’re right, I don’t see your policy of rejection and hatred as “moral”, nor your advocating dishonesty.

          • EdinburghEye

            Oh, and in response to your strange ideas about young gay men, this is the kind of Eagle Scout that the BSA were condemning and evicting for not lying: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/boy-scout-denied-eagle-award-coming-193454949.html

  • Melissa

    What ages are Scouts? I, too, have some real questions about the definitions of a “openly-gay” Scout. If I’m not mistaken, aren’t virtually all Scouts of an age where it is inappropriate for them to be sexually involved?

    • Taylor

      Scouts proper are aged 12 to 16, though cub scouts, ventures, etc. can push that to 8-18.

      You need to reread the entire proposal, whitch states that no Scouts should be sexually active, with boys or girls.

      as far as I understand it, this means that boys who experience and admit, but do not act on, same sex attractions are no longer automautically barred from Scouts.

      • Tim Hoskins

        Cub Scouting (Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelos) is for boys grades 1 to 5. Boy Scouting is for boys ages 11 to 18. Venturing is coed and runs from ages 14 to 21. A boy can be a member of a Boy Scout troop and a Venture crew at the same time.

      • Andrew Kosmowski

        I concur with this interpretation.

  • MaryTN

    Scouts are children.
    There is nothing sexual (or endorsing/condemning sexual orientation) about soapbox derby, cooking over a campfire or urban community service.
    Scouting is about guiding young boys to be good men and good citizens. Can’t we have one place in our society where kids can just be kids without throwing sex into the argument.

    • Frank Elliott

      I think that’s the point. Adolescent males think about sex all the time. Some have to be terrified that they will be thrown out of their churches, schools, youth organizations, and homes if they accidentally let their masks slip. They live the most critical years of their lives trusting no one. Those boys, more than any, would like to forget about sex. They’d like to not hear the word “faggot” every day. They’d like nothing more than not to be condemned by the adults around them for the way that they were born.
      They’d like to be able to confide in a respected adult without fear of betrayal. They mean no harm. They are human. Some might even say they’re children of God, but if you don’t believe that, can’t you at least treat them decently while they’re alive? Wouldn’t that better the condition of YOUR immortal soul?

    • EdinburghEye

      Why should a Boy Scout who’s become aware he’s gay have to choose between lying to his fellow scouts and the scout leaders about his sexual orientation, or being kicked out of the BSA? In the UK – where the Boy Scouts have of course accepted that some boys are gay / bisexual and it would be wrong for the Scouts to teach them to lie or allow them to be bullied or excluded – the Scout Law Number One is “A Scout is to be trusted.” That’s evidently not the case in the US, which seems a pity.

  • Gail Finke

    The AP story I read today referred to “some conservative religious leaders” as being against the decision, without saying that (as I understand from several BSA blog posts I’ve read) the majority of chartering organizations, most of them churches, opposed the change. If a majority of the chartering organizations are religious, and the majority of them oppose the decision, isn’t that a story? But to the AP reporter, it’s just “some” people’s opinion…

    • Frank Elliott

      The LDS church has endorsed the change. They are the majority.

  • Florin S.

    May 25th, when I first heard this I believed that they were accepting boys with a homosexual ‘inclination’ and I felt that being in the Boy Scouts they would be surrounded by boys and men determined to live a healthy, noble life style. I did not realize that they were accepting active homosexual youth – or are they? They say that suicide among young boys with homosexual inclinations is high and these are children, after all, and need our help and compassion. However, I did hear a homosexual male activist claim that this is only the first step…they’ve got their foot in the door and they will not stop until they have made everyone accept male/male or female/female sex as normal, natural. Well, it is not the norm and it is not and never will be natural…our bodies were formed male and female for a reason – they ‘fit’ and you may manipulate your body as much as you want but it is not natural. A key was created, formed, to fit into a lock – period. We don’t want to ostracize young boys who are confused about their sexuality but parents better be careful that the next step is not practicing homosexual adults who have sexual feelings towards other males…this is the goal. To have active homosexual males embedded where there are other males, younger ones preferably. The majority of the sexual abuse cases were homosexual in nature…males seducing younger males…be alert and watch over your children carefully.

    • http://wasteyourtime.mtgames.org/ Scaevola

      The BSA is against sexual activity for any of its youth members, of either sex. Whatever the compromise means, it doesn’t mean accepting sexually active minors into the Scouts.

    • John Pack Lambert

      I am not sure about other sponsoring organizations, but The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will continue to teach as scout principals abstinance from all sexual behavior.

  • dalea

    It would be interesting to see more coverage of the LDS’s changes regarding LG issues. One thing I had not realized, and only now is dawning on GL leaders, is that in ballot initiatives on marrige the LDS Church has chosen to remain neutral. There was a story in the GL press analyzing the victory in Maryland. One conclusion was that our opponents had much less money and far fewer volunteers than usual because the LDS leadership had chosen not to be involved. It is beginning to be clear how lack of LDS resources and leadership impacts all the anti-gay efforts. Would really like to see more coverage of this, which is clearly a factor in the BSA cases.

  • Samuel63

    Another wholesome program that provided opportunities for all boys has been deconstructed. Congratulations to the opposition for knocking this one down while the majority stood by and did nothing. You have won another venue for indoctrination. Beware of the sleeping giant!

  • John Pack Lambert

    From what I have seen of Mormon statements on the matter, they at least will continue to emphasize universal moral purity, and no sexual activity by any scouts of any kind. I also got the impression that in general Mormon leaders are arguing this is not a change at all, that any sexual activity by scouts was fronwed upon, and now any sexual activity by scouts is frowned upon.
    Alternatively, I have the impression that at least initially many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were very hesitant about this decision. The leadership may have embraced it, but many members feel a sense of loss at the change, even if the change is more in wording than in anything else.

    • Glenn54321

      We all know what is going on — this seemingly innocuous change to the rules sets the stage for larger changes later. The goal is *obviously* to take any negative connotations for homosexual behavior (or really any sexual behavior) off the table for both the kids and the adults. It seems that any and all sexual behavior between any people of any age must be cast in a positive light. They will probably achieve this in the next 5 to 10 years. This is classic social activism and they were right to be hesitant. This is why you never compromise core principles.

    • EdinburghEye

      Reportedly, the difficulty is that the Church of Latter Day Saints used to take the position that Glenn54321 advocates – absolute rejection of any child of the family who’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, or trans. If a family wouldn’t reject their son or daughter, the LDS church rejected the family.

      But love is powerful, and love wins. LDS members stopped being willing to reject the children they loved, and stopped being willing to invest so much energy in the politics of trying to keep LGBT people unequal. Similarly, whille men like Glenn are clearly still willing to hate and reject any boy who isn’t straight and won’t lie or hate themselves, most people are unwilling to hate young men who have done nothing to deserve such hate: who are only gay.

      • Glenn54321

        Ad hominem attacks only indicate that you’re losing the argument. You haven’t the slightest idea what my internal disposition is.

        • EdinburghEye

          What ad hom attack are you claiming has been made on you? I see none.

          • Glenn54321

            “you don’t want to be judged on your character, while arguing that young gay men should be judged and rejected on your homophobic presumptions about their character, says you are very arrogant”

            … calling me a homophobe and arrogant

            “That’s your problem, which you shouldn’t try to impose on other people. You might want to get counseling to help deal with it.”

            …accusations of imposing my will on others, asserting that my position is a personal defect.

            “From your own testimony on this comment thread, it’s clear you see no other option but to reject and express hate towards young men who know they’re gay.”

            …accusing me of hatred when I have neither said nor felt any such thing.

            All of my comments have been in the objective and abstract. You keep trying to make it personal. Just because I don’t agree with you doesn’t mean I hate anyone. I think an honest review of our discourse would show you to be the intolerant one, not me. You cannot tolerate my point of view whereas I am totally accepting that people struggle with same sex attraction. At the same time I understand that In a Christian context it cannot be acted upon or used to promote that kind of lifestyle. So, I advocate spiritual advisers to help them.

          • EdinburghEye

            calling me a homophobe and arrogant

            I have not called you a homophobe. But the views you express about LGBT people are homophobic.

            Certainly, you come across as very arrogant. Has no one told you this before? It’s not an ad hom: it’s just an observation.

            “That’s your problem, which you shouldn’t try to impose on other people. You might want to get counseling to help deal with it.”

            How is this an ad hom? You yourself have advocated that people whom you think are troubled should get counselling. Were you proposing this as an ad hom? If so, you started it.

            accusing me of hatred when I have neither said nor felt any such thing.

            You’ve claimed you’re not arrogant. Are you humble enough to accept that the tone and content of your writing about LGBT people comes across as expressing vehement hatred? And to accept that if you don’t want to express hatred, that means you need to change the way you write about LGBT people?

  • Sari

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this a site devoted to the accurate and unbiased portrayal of religion by the media? Most of the comments above ignore the journalistic aspect altogether.

    • Kodos

      I agree. I’d like to see more discussion of journalism here.

      Having said that, the social, moral, political, and institutional issues that some of the folks are debating above should have been topics for journalists to examine and discuss with interviewees. But they didn’t.

      It’s sad to see how shallow the coverage of this issue has been, and after reading the spirited debates above I wish I’d seen more discussion of that in the press.

  • justavenger

    Just to clarify the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints does not allow homosexual membership. If you are homosexual you are excommunicated. Sure there may be homosexuals hiding out but once they are found out they are gone. The LDS church DOES NOT allow homosexual scouts, if it is found out that you are homosexual you are gone.
    Christ’s doctrine states love the sinner hate the sin. Help God’s children repent of their sins. True Christians never fail to help God’s children.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X