On My Honor

I wasn’t a Boy Scout for long, but the memories have stayed with me for years. While my family was stationed in Heidelberg, Germany, our troop traveled to France and Belgium, where we scampered around the battlements guarding the shores of Normandy and dove in and out of craters at Pont du Hoc. I saw the spot where General Anthony McAuliffe responded to the Nazi commander “Nuts” when he demanded the surrender of the 101st Airborne surrounded outside Bastogne in the “Battle of the Bulge.” We planted flags at St. Laurent Cemetery in honor of the 9,000 American servicemen laid to rest at the site.

Because my dad was in the Army and I had these incredible experiences I see the similarities between scouting and military life. Both ask young men to prepare themselves to do their duty, to offer themselves in service to others, and to uphold high standards of personal conduct. My friend Andrew McConnell personified these values. He served as Senior Patrol Leader of Troop 366 at Fort Leavenworth, KS, before enlisting in the Infantry. Andrew was killed by an IED in Afghanistan in 2009.

He, like so many scouts-turned-soldiers, took the Scout Oath seriously:

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.

Next week, the board of the Boy Scouts of America will decide whether to overturn its longstanding policy prohibiting homosexual leaders and participants. The Scouts are a private, not-for-profit organization dependent on the support of philanthropic partners. They face the threat of rescinded support from major corporations like UPS, Merck, and Intel unless they change this policy.

It’s a tough spot. Tolerance for diversity of opinion on the morality of homosexual sex has reached a low-water mark and seems still to be declining. The Boy Scouts are just one organization facing the threats and condemnation of an uncompromising and increasingly powerful gay activist clique. Soon, colleges and universities like my alma mater, Wheaton College (IL), will be forced to choose between access to federal loans and accreditation and the sexual ethics prescribed by orthodox Christian theology at the core of its mission. Religiously-affiliated hospitals, adoption agencies, and charities will face similar dilemmas.

Some will comply, others will choose the more difficult path of conviction and its consequences.

Among the things a Boy Scout is are trustworthy, loyal, and brave. Those are the markers of a men prepared for a difficult hike through hazardous terrain, whether in places like Afghanistan or at home. Of men who will, on their honor, do their duty to God. Here’s hoping the board of the Boy Scouts of America will uphold their oath, too.



  • http://www.reasonsforgod.org Carson Weitnauer

    Friendship and brotherhood are separated and protected by the absence of sex and romance. That’s the core tension at stake in this issue.

    • John Evans

      Carson, reading your post above I have to wonder if you think it is possible for a man and a woman – with one finding the other attractive but the latter not reciprocating – to be friends? Co-workers, for example.

      As an example, Jane and Joe work in an accounting office. The two become friends, and over time Jane comes to feel she’d like a deeper, possibly physical relationship with Joe. She asks him, but he declines (perhaps she isn’t his type, or he’s at a stage in his life where he isn’t looking for a relationship, or he’s dealing with some outside family issues and wants to keep his attention on that, whatever). Jane accepts his decline, and they go on being friends. Maybe Joe, now knowing what kind of guy Jane looks for, introduces her to some of his friends. Does this sound possible to you?

      If so, why is it different if Jack approaches Joe, and Joe declines because he doesn’t find men attractive?

  • Tom

    What about keeping “MORALLY STRAIGHT”??? Will BSA re-write the Scout oath?

  • Den Leader

    I came across a link to this commentary via American Papist’s Twitter posts. I also heard on the news that this was up for discussion earlier this week. It is sad that we have to even have this discussion within the B.S.A. organization.

    While I believe in America’s principles that allow a person to have the freedom to make their own decisions to a point, I believe those making very bad thought/life/societal decisions may not force others to do the same as it infringes on those individuals’ rights. It is sad to think that while a person may stand at the edge of a cliff, it is illegal for that person to jump (let alone tie another person to them before they jump) and yet the current norm in this country is to do a form of the latter by attempting to force tolerance toward an intolerable lifestyle as seen by many (if not the majority).

    I hope the Scouts (and the SCOTUS for that matter) stay true, and do not bend to tides of a flawed lifestyle and way of thinking.

  • Brian Westley

    Tolerance for diversity of opinion on the morality of homosexual sex has reached a low-water mark and seems still to be declining.

    Ironic that you would try that argument; the current BSA policy of rejecting gay members, even in units that want them, clearly doesn’t allow a diversity of opinion. The policy that the BSA is considering would allow units to reject or admit gay members, whichever the sponsoring organization would prefer. That seems to allow for various opinions — so why are you against it?

    • Eagle Scout Father

      All “opinions” are not equal. “Diversity” is a slogan and a pseudonym for relaxing if not abandoning fundamental principles and moral beliefs for the personal “opinions” and preferences of individuals and their own intolerant agendas.

  • rumitoid

    BOY Scouts. That should be enough said. No girls. Why not? it is about a young men gaining self-esteem and competency, as well as social values in dealing with others. The explicit stag-nature of Boy Scouts is that they are free to develope certain skills with a one-sided focus without the distractions of sex. This is a private group with a specific purpose. To have gay leaders and scouts as acceptable members corrupts the whole point. Why is it important for gays to be involved in this organization? What’s the point? Rights? Do I have a right to send my son for training in outdoor competency without worrying that I am sending him into an orgy? It is so very, very stupid to take a politically correct view on this issue. Gays are attracted to same sex people, like my son. Scouting is not a sex education class; it is an experience with the outdoors period.

  • Irish

    I too hope the Boy Scouts hold firm on this issue. I am surprised that the issues with the Girl Scouts haven’t been mentioned. I recently found out that not only are they promoting transexual behavior and forcing little girls to camp, dress and room with little boys who’ve been brainwashed into believing they are girls, but they are funding abortion right activist among other things.

    • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

      Okay. You don’t understand trans issues and you have no problem with waving your ignorance as a proud flag. Also, you hate trans people. We get it. You’ve made your point, you’ve made it clear that you’re proud of your own ignorance.

      Aren’t you happy to learn that you’re such a good communicator; that it’s so easy for me to understand where you’re coming from?


  • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

    Tolerance for diversity of opinion on the morality of homosexual sex.

    I quite seriously laughed out loud at this line. Do keep it up.