Gay Boy Scouts–So What?

Gay Boy Scouts—So What?

According to news reports (Associated Press, byline David Crary, June 8, 2013) the Southern Baptist Convention is likely to vote a resolution encouraging SBC-related churches to phase out sponsorship of the Boy Scouts. Russell Moore, new president of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, is quoted as saying “I do think most Southern Baptists see the Boy Scouts moving in a direction that’s not going to be consistent with our beliefs.” The Associated Press report mentions several Christian groups that are considering phasing out Scout troops from their churches. Interestingly, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is not planning to do that.

What’s all the hubbub about? The Boy Scout organization has not changed its rules excluding gay leaders. Gays are still not permitted to lead troops. The recent change in policy affects only Scouts and, to the best of my knowledge, applies only to their sexual orientation. The rule against sexual activity is still in place. In other words, all that has changed is that now a Boy Scout can be open about his sexual preference. He still can’t engage in any kind of sexual activity—with fellow males or with females.

What will the Southern Baptist Convention be saying if it encourages SBC affiliated churches to phase out their Scout troops? That being homosexual is in itself something bad, sinful, shameful? Probably no pre-teen or teen boy chooses to be homosexual. Very few are going to tell anyone—especially in a social environment as testosterone rich as a Boy Scout troop! Or will the SBC be saying that homosexual boys and young men, should they discover their sexual orientation, keep it hidden—even from their trusted Scout leaders? What if one tells his youth pastor or pastor? Should he then be expelled from Scouting? From the church?

To the best of my knowledge, nobody in Scouting is suggesting that sodomy or any other homosexual practice is okay or to be tolerated among Scouts. So what’s the problem?

I think this controversy is typical of much of the debate about homosexuality and “gayness” going on in America and especially in religious circles these days. A problem is that the debate rarely gets specific. Are we talking about a sexual preference or a sexual practice? Many, perhaps most, thinking people recognize a difference and acknowledge that there are many “objectively disordered” tendencies that are not in and of themselves evil or sinful. The sin arises only when they are acted out. That is pretty much the consensus among moderate Christian folks.

So my first thought when I read anything about how sinful and awful and horrible and evil homosexuality is is “What is being referred to? Homosexual orientation or homosexual behavior or both?” Since I make a clear distinction between them, I must know which is being discussed before I can enter into the discussion or make any sense of it.

I assume SBC leaders know the Boy Scout organization is not condoning sodomy. So why are they so opposed to the new policy which simply makes it possible for a Boy Scout to admit his homosexual orientation without fear of being expelled from his troop? What would they suggest a Baptist church do with a teenage boy who confesses to his pastor or other church leader his budding sexual desires focused on people of the same sex? Excommunicate him? If not, why do they want the Boy Scouts to do that to him if he’s a Scout?

This whole controversy and debate about “homosexuality” in America is so muddy, so murky, so surrounded with clouds of ambiguity, that it’s nearly impossible to sort it all out. And seldom does the discussion get clear even about what is being debated—homosexual orientation or homosexual behavior (sodomy)?

We all know people who have a homosexual or bisexual orientation but choose not to act on it. Many of us pretend not to know them, but if we simply sit back and survey all the people we know, we know them. And some are in our churches. And we do nothing about it. They are kind, good, loving Christian men and women. We may feel sorry for them, but we don’t expel them. Is it just possible the Boy Scouts are simply saying that such Scouts may now talk about their sexual orientation with their Scout leaders, in some cases the only men they trust with such confidences, without fear of expulsion? Is it possible they are now simply saying “We acknowledge there are Boy Scouts with homosexual orientations and we haven’t known what to do with them and, when we didn’t expel them we knew we were violating policy and we don’t want to be doing that anymore? We wanted to bring our policy into line with our compassionate, caring practice?” Maybe so. Would that change the minds of some, perhaps many, SBCers?

I am here and now calling on the SBC leaders, Russell Moore included, to make clear to SBC messengers (delegates) to this year’s convention, before voting on any resolution, that the Boy Scout organization is not endorsing or condoning sodomy but only allowing boys who know they have a sexual preference for males to remain Scouts and talk about their struggles with their leaders. Then vote. Otherwise, without that clarification, surely many messengers will vote against continuing churches’ affiliations with Scouting based on confusion and possible total misconception.

  • Rob

    Thank you for noticing what is so often overlooked by both media and pundits. This was the main talking point in the BSA’s hour long video defense for the delegate voters posted at the BSA website. They tried to hammer home that teen sexual activity, of any sort, is inconsistent with BSA principles.

    • UWIR

      Is teen marriage inconsistent with BSA principles?

      • Roger Olson

        So far as I have been able to discern, Boy Scouts are expected to be celibate while they are Scouts.

  • Esther Starr

    Heterosexual boys deserve their privacy. Can you not see this? This is easy. “So what.” Honestly.

    • Roger Olson

      You didn’t even make an attempt to answer my question about how you (anyone) would suggest the Boy Scouts handle a teen boy who becomes aware of his homosexual orientation and confesses it to his Scout master. Kick him out of Scouting? That’s just too easy and lacks all compassion.

      • Esther Starr

        Oh. Well, I can answer that question. Yes, I think he should be kicked out of scouting. Not disgracefully, and not without compassion, but out of recognition of the fact that his illness functionally makes him unable to participate fairly to the other Scouts. Or himself, for that matter. Imagine a boy sharing a tent with a bunch of half-dressed girls. You think that might be a little awkward for him? It’s the same issue with a homosexual boy in an atmosphere where he’s surrounded by half-dressed boys. It is in both their _and_ his best interests to remove him from that environment.

        Would you say that it shows a “lack of compassion” to tell a blind person that he can’t drive? A short person that he can’t play basketball? A boy that he can’t use the girl’s room?

        • Roger Olson

          We find ways to accommodate such people rather than simply dismiss them.

        • Lauren Bertrand

          The fact that you call it an “illness” shows there is no room for compassion in your approach to the situation. Rules are rules concerning inappropriate activity, and why shouldn’t that be the standard rather than sinful urges, which all of the boys inevitably have? I’d deeply pity the scout who gets kicked out by you. And your analogies are flimsy. Most blind people aren’t seeking to drive out of interest in self-preservation. But yes, a short person should be allowed to play basketball. As for the boy using the girl’s room, well, you probably won’t like my answer on that very much.

        • UWIR

          I spent some time in the Boy Scouts, and I don’t recall any tents full of half-dressed boys. I’m rather befuddled as to where your conception of the Boys Scouts is coming from.

          Should PE classes root out gays?

      • concerned former scout

        Boy Scouts are a private organization. Should they have to redefine “morally straight” as part of the Scout oath? Years ago, the Scouts resisted attempts by atheists to rewrite “to God and my country” as part of the scout oath. How do they handle boys who are atheists who want to join scouts? They’re not allowed.

        • Roger Olson

          Nobody is born an atheist.

          • concerned former scout

            I’m curious then, are you implying that people are born as homosexuals? If so, I’m curious about your response to the recent news about NBA player Jason Collins coming out as gay. He has an identical twin brother who is heterosexual and was completely surprised by Jason’s statement. They both have the same DNA and came from the same womb. Was one born gay and the other not?

          • Roger Olson

            Twin studies have demonstrated a marked tendency for identical twins to share either a homosexual or heterosexual orientation. There are exceptions of course.

          • Donalbain

            Everyone is born an atheist. :)

          • Roger Olson

            No. An atheist is someone who DENIES the existence of God; not someone who is simply ignorant of God’s existence.

          • Donalbain

            An atheist is someone who does not believe in the existence of any deity.

          • Roger Olson

            No; an atheist is someone who denies the existence of any deity.

      • tedseeber

        Maybe I’d be happier if they’d make all the boys take a temporary vow of celibacy.

        • Roger Olson

          They do, don’t they?

  • http://www.thinktheology.org Luke Geraty

    Good question!!

  • Jack Harper

    Roger I agree with you to a certain point, we as Christian need to stop treating homosexuals as the enemy and reach out to them in love, however it’s just a matter of time before the scouts will be inundated with activist from the homosexual community and require them to accept a practice that is Biblically condemned. So where does one draw the line from compassion and outright take over of a biblical stance? Jesus stated that a little leaven, leavens the whole batch. I’m not sure the SBC has an easy decision to make here and doing what their understanding of scripture dictates might cost them in some ways regardless of what direction they decide to take.

  • Jon Altman

    We certainly do not “control” to whom we are attracted. I did not “decide” to be attracted to girls, but it “happened” when I was between 11 and 12 years old. I did not “Act” on that attraction for more than ten years afterward. There are promiscuous heterosexuals and promiscuous homosexuals. When I hear “I don’t approve of the gay ‘lifestyle,’” what I think I’m hearing is “I don’t approve of promiscuity.”

    • Frank

      The gay lifestyle is actively living out homosexual attractions and behavior. Homosexual behavior is still a sin even if its a monogamous relationship.

      • Donalbain

        Something being a sin is not the issue. After all, Hinduism is a sin, isn’t it, and yet there are Hindu scouts.

  • Zeke

    Well put Roger, refreshing to hear Christians speak rationally on homosexuality.

  • J.E. Edwards

    “This whole controversy and debate about “homosexuality” in America is so muddy, so murky, so surrounded with clouds of ambiguity, that it’s nearly impossible to sort it all out. And seldom does the discussion get clear even about what is being debated—homosexual orientation or homosexual behavior (sodomy)?”

    I get what you are trying to say here, but can sexual orientation (hetero or homo) really be sexual orientation apart from actually participating in the sexual act? Let us not as believers try to make these waters even murkier.

    • Roger Olson

      Yes, it can be and often is. I have known many people with a sexual orientation they never acted on. Most heterosexual people have that sexual orientation for some time before acting on it.

      • Charlie Payne

        I would add that every married man has, to one degree or another, been tempted to commit adultery – but most haven’t. The temptation is not the sin. While I may have committed lust in my heart, that’s not quite the same as having committed actual adultery. I don’t see the difference between not acting on any other temptation and not acting out sexual orientation.

    • Rory Tyer

      Sexual orientation is generally defined as the identification of what sex causes sexual arousal in a person. Sexual arousal (obviously!) may have nothing to do with sexual activity, in the sense that it need not lead to it and can arise independently of it. The vast majority of people who are same-sex attracted simply discovered that they responded differently than their peers to the processes of puberty as they went through them.

  • jamie orr

    Well, could you say that paedophiles who are attracted to children but have never commited any crimes against children are free from sin, based purely on the fact they have not acted on their bizzare orientation. Or is that totally different from the homosexual debate?

    It seems to me that people have such different views on the subject, that it will still take eons before these folk are totally accepted in the mainstream. People may say they are ok with someone having homosexual desires, but many will hold a grudge secretly if not show contempt directly through kinesics. This puts a blockade for people who want help because of the fear of being shunned or worse.
    What is your view on how Jesus would of treat homosexuals? would he socialise with them like he did with the tax collectors and other hated people of them days. I would like to think he would not have shunned them.

    • Roger Olson

      I don’t know of any group of people Jesus treated with contempt except hypocrites.

  • Karl

    There is a potential problem because there are groups pressuring the Scouts to abandon any pretense that they oppose homosexual practice. But any denomination should specifically make *that* their concern.

    Conservative Evangelical Protestant denominations like the Southern Baptist Convention and the Presbyterian Church in America (and probably the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod) are divided along a (non-linear) spectrum between moderate evangelicals and neo-fundamentalists. The extreme neo-fundamentalist view is that people with same-sex attraction (who probably chose it…) need to be excommunicated from the church and family until they miraculously become heterosexuals or they get “cured” by going to a form of therapy based on junk science and ideas from pop psychology.

    This view has done ENORMOUS damage to people (like, say, R. C. Sproul and John Piper) who hold the more moderate position that same-sex attraction and homosexual practice need to be distinguished and Christians with same-sex attraction need to be accepted in churches. Most people experience differing degrees of same-sex and opposite-sex attraction, some of which are natural (e.g., women going to a clothing store together) and others disordered (like occasional romantic feelings for someone of the same sex). Someone might be mostly opposite-sex attracted but experiment with homosexual practice out of curiosity or because it’s more available. Others might be so intimidated by the opposite sex due to whatever reason that they can’t have a heterosexual relationship, while others have a dominant same-sex attraction that can’t be changed or “cured” by any therapy that we know about. The problem is, laws that ban so-called “conversion therapy” often target ANY therapy that attempts to deal with SSA regardless of why a person is experiencing it, thanks to the extremists promoting junk science.

    • Roger Olson

      I tend to agree that for many people same-sex, other-sex attraction is not absolute. We have created a category for them–”bisexual.” But I suspect especially among teens who are struggling with sexual identity issues the scale slides before settling anywhere (if it does). Absolutist rules about sexual orientation ignore this complicating factor and are simply too simplistic to deal justly with an extremely complicated matter.

  • Andy Ball

    Yes, it seems that Moore is condemning the proclivity itself, tout court, rather than its actual practice. But don’t all of us have proclivities to certain kinds of sin whether or not they are sexual? As Christians, we try to recognize this so that temptation doesn’t turn into action. Why is it that on this particular issue of homosexuality we seem to lose sight of this? If anything, this decision may indeed be a greatly missed ministry opportunity: the scouts that identify themselves as such could find the church to be a community of love and acceptance while at the same time a resource, ultimately, for salvation and then biblical teaching on the matter (as well as a support in one’s struggle to remain abstinent, etc.). But I fear that this kind condemnation is going to continue the perception that the church is against you unless you conform to it first, which makes it seem more like a country club than a community of Christ.

  • frustrated Southern Baptist

    I’m a Southern Baptist, and I agree, the SBC does NOT need to make or pass any kind of resolution about the Boy Scouts. Resolutions are non-binding, the SBC is not hierarchical, and SBC churches can independently do what they want. So a resolution on this serves no purpose except to make the public think that all SBC churches agree with any such resolution, when they actually don’t.

    • Roger Olson

      Well, actually, the SBC can put pressure on churches that disagree with their resolutions. I have belonged to former SBC churches who were, in effect, kicked out of the SBC because they ordained women as deacons.

  • John Mark

    I am sympathetic to anyone who struggles with homosexual orientation. And I have read Henri Nouwen to my benefit. I think this is a case, though, of another organization being bullied by the culture. Where it will lead I don’t know…if this is nothing more than you speculate….creating a safe environment for people; maybe. But I am skeptical. Very skeptical.

  • prodigalthought

    Roger -

    This is a great post. I viewed a video on Denny Burk’s blog (a member of the SBC) from a prominent SBC pastor. But what I really appreciated was one commenter’s thoughts: But if you don’t regularly kick out smokers, drinkers, fornicators, the gluttonous and the rest… well maybe you should just treat homosexuals the same. If a church–or a Scout troop–consisted of nothing but non-sinners, it’d be an awfully small church.

    I’m not sure why we keep making the mistake of what sins to continually point out (and expel those connected) and which ones not to point out (and expel). The usual answers have to do with willful participation in knowing what is wrong. But how much stuff are we involved in over our lives that we are not aware of, until God graciously works & reveals it? If He revealed all, we’d be crushed under that knowledge.

    I think your approach is much wider and healthier.

    Blessings.

  • concerned former scout

    One of my biggest concerns about this new Boy Scout policy is that even though it was constructed as a compromise, it will only be a gateway for further policy change to allow for gay Scout leaders. Are they really planning to tell a scout when he’s 17 that it’s ok for you to be gay, but once he turns 18 and is no longer a scout and can only participate in the troop as a leader, now it’s not ok?

    • Lauren Bertrand

      Well, you can’t ban consensual sexual activity among 18-year-olds, at least not under any legal circumstances. And it would be ridiculous to try to enforce those laws on 30-year-old scout leader. So at least in that context, the “morally straight” consideration is still applicable until its expiration date. I would fully expect the conservative troops to hold their scout leaders to a high moral standard, meaning that most men would be married, and if they weren’t, they certainly would not make evident to the Scouts any sort of sexual relations they might be having with a woman–or they can expect consequences.

  • John B

    Hi Roger,

    The issue is sexual attraction and the activities the scouts engage may and do at times require sleeping arrangements. The sin may be in the act, but temptation leads to sin. No Christian should approve of male/female sleeping and changing arrangements. Homosexual attraction is equivalent.

  • C. J. Summers

    I think one of the things that muddies the waters is when we adopt society’s categories instead of speaking in biblical categories.

    The Bible does not have a category for homosexual orientation. Homosexuals in the Bible are those who practice homosexuality, just as thieves in the Bible are those who steal. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 would seem to indicate that the only “orientation” we all have is an orientation toward sin, and Jesus came to save us from our sin. I think adopting this kind of language would help dispel confusion.

    Our society does not see “homosexual orientation” as just one of many sinful proclivities to be resisted. They see “homosexual orientation” as prima facie justification for homosexual expression. Even in some Christian circles, there are those who claim God made them that way, and thus, they are free to act on their perceived God-given feelings.

    I think we would be better off abandoning the language of “homosexual orientation” in favor of biblical categories of “sin” and “temptation.” Any sexual act outside of marriage (which is a union between a man and a woman) is sin. Temptation to such forbidden sexual expression is not sin, but is to be resisted; and God gives us provision to do so (1 Cor. 10:13).

  • TerryJames

    If gay scouts are attracted to heterosexual boys, and they camp with heterosexual boys, is it any different than having heterosexual boys camp with heterosexual girls? I mean, don’t we separate the sexes on camping trips because we want to help them from drifting into difficult situations? Why would we allow/encourage a gay scout–hormones and all–to camp with those he is sexually attracted to? Why allow such a burden of temptation. Aren’t we suppose to be the wise, caring and mature adults? It seems to me this has nothing to do with compassion for those struggling or living with a different sexual orientation. We can be compassionate and also wise.

    • Roger Olson

      And part of wisdom is finding way to accommodate those who are different without excluding them.

      • Holly

        Well, gosh…I’m thinking things have changed a bit since your kids were young, Roger.

        It is actually now very hip for teens to be gay. There’s no shame any longer. Our local high school is know for being “gay.” There’s are boys in our church – out and proud, displaying all of the rainbow colors on facebook – no fear, no need to hide or be embarrassed.

        Camps and camping are such an intimate thing, too – and you deal so casually with the things which happen in such settings; but let me tell you that they have the potential to deeply harm children who truly are innocent, who are not acting sexually, but who are exposed to other children who are. One of my little girls was in 3rd grade when she first went to camp. She was put in a tent overnight with several other girls, who proceeded to tell her in great and lurid detail things she shouldn’t have heard about for several years. Not just facts of life, but perverted things. This was church camp – and I would have never known if my girl hadn’t of told me. It was very harmful to her, she couldn’t unhear. Now, ultimately, that’s the leadership’s responsibility and my responsibility – and I’m so sorry that I didn’t know to protect my girl. I made an assumption that because it was church camp, and that there would be leaders around (whom surely I could trust) and because kids aren’t supposed to be sexual at church camp (just like in the scouts….) everything would be safe. They weren’t – and I think the same case can be made about scouting. There’s no WAY I’d send any of my young sons to scout camp, specifically with boys who are openly gay. (And really, they’d have to be openly gay for this conversation to have merit.) Of course children can influence other children. Of course gay teens can influence other teens to be gay. Children are very vulnerable, and sexuality is open to suggestion at young ages. To think otherwise is naive. Parents really DO have to protect their children.

        Second, it is extraordinarily naive to not see this entire situation as caving to an agenda. The scouts have been a target for the gay agenda for decades, and the allowance of gay scouts has been a victory for homosexual rights. This isn’t so much about the individual, struggling boy; this is about the “cause.” That’s what the SBC is responding to – the agenda, not the individual person. The Girls Scouts gave in and gave up a long, long time ago. Now they have ties to Planned Parenthood and a very liberal reproductive agenda. Scouting is no longer a-political, and churches who believe so have their heads in the sand.

        You’re brilliant, Roger, and I so respect you. I believe that you are out of touch on this issue, though.

        • Roger Olson

          But it seems to me that your illustration (about your daughter and camping) makes my point that “sexualizing” is not something only “gays” do. A boy scout who knows he has a homosexual orientation is no more likely to sexualize (by conversation or any other means) fellow boy scouts than a heterosexual one. The real threat to heterosexual boys in schools and programs like scouting, it seems to me, are the heterosexual bullies.

          • Holly

            Sure, you might be right. Kids bully kids. I’m saying, it goes both ways. Kids influence kids, gay or straight. I should clarify and say, I’m really quite careful of who my kids spend the night with regardless, just don’t do sleepovers or campouts without parents present. I have to know the families very well, and talk openly and ask lots of questions.

            I agree with you that no one should be against the struggling teen or boy. I am saying that this was more of an agenda oriented thing, and that is what the churches are responding to.

          • Roger Olson

            I don’t think it was agenda-driven; I think it was compassion-driven.

    • Aaron

      Gay scouts have been camping with other scouts for years.

  • trskms

    You are ignoring the outcome. I have a friend, whose son entered boot
    camp (army) right after they removed “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” And, he
    was ogled in the shower, touched when he didn’t want to be, and
    generally made to feel uncomfortable by those who were now “out.” No one
    in the administration would do anything, because it would be seen as
    “homophobic.” So, he simply suffered the treatment.

    Sex
    of any kind doesn’t belong in the BSA. Boys who have different
    inclinations were always welcome, except now they can discuss it, and
    act on it. This is not “safe” for boys of this age. You wouldn’t let
    them shower with girls, now would you? You wouldn’t let them sleep in
    the same tent with girls, now would you? But, now you’ve got “out” boys
    (usually those who have an agenda where they *need* to be “out” to prove
    something) sharing tents and showers. You have sexual interest being
    blatantly discussed and flaunted. You have the potential for a lot of
    abuse.

    And,
    of course, you also have the proverbial “slippery slope,” because no
    court is going to back the BSA on this division. Now that it is no longer
    an integral part of their belief system, they will be forced to cave in
    to having open homosexuals in their leadership. It just takes the first
    law suit … which is already pending.

    • Roger Olson

      That just all sounds so pessimistic. We have found ways to accommodate differences before; my advice is to put minds to work on working this out.

      • a mom

        Thank you, thank you, Thank you, Roger….we can’t afford to alienate teens struggling with this issue that many, many of them have begged God to remove from their lives for years on end. I am glad we don’t have gay leaders, but to expell the kids from scouts seems wrong to me. I have learned things the hard way because of having a gay daughter. We just have to allow them to struggle and find their way as any of us would have had to do given the same situation. My son is a boy scout and having experienced what I have with my daughter, I would have no problems with him being in a troop with a gay teen. it isn’t going to make my son gay…and yes, accomodations can be made. My daughter does not believe in God or attend church at the present time….and she has been really hurt by the Christian parents of other teens who don’t understand “why do girls hang out with her?” My daughter’s response to that was, “Don’t they know I am still a human being and I still need friends?” I want to be clear that we have also experienced grace from some people as well. But we just can’t act on fear! I don’t know if people fear that kindness means approval of all a person’s actions or ic they fear their child will be gay….I don’t mean to make assumptions about everyone who disagrees with me, but we really have to imagine what it is like to be in these kids shoes…and I can tell you as a close observer it is painful!

    • Lauren Bertrand

      I call utter BS on this one–at least regarding the Army situation. If it were true, the victimized recruit would easily have a case, and no one would deny him it. About 60 or so other nations already had removed the DADT equivalent, so the Dept of Defense had plenty of time to research case studies and to consider the ramifications. They were well-prepared for what could happen, and, since this first paragraph is pretty much the embodiment of anti-gay scaremongering, I have no doubt it’s exactly the sort of hypothetical situation the personnel had to evaluate as they administrated the repeal of DADT.

      Actually, since the second paragraph is just transposing the military scaremongering to a Boy Scouts setting, it’s equally ludicrous. But at least “trskms” didn’t make up a situation about a friend. Most teenage boys are virulently homophobic, as is evidenced by all the bullying we see covered in the (admittedly very pro-gay) mainstream media. My guess is that 90% of the gay scouts will remain fully closeted to all but a few confidants. If there is any hanky-panky that happens–and yes, I will concede that there will be, just as there has been before the lifting of the ban–the BSA has every right to treat it as a violation of their rules on sexual activity. As Roger E. Olsen already acknowledged, this mentality (and the SBC’s approach in general) is just begging the problem.

      Time remains to be seen about paragraph 3. I’d have to problem with it, because rules are still rules. Any inappropriate behavior that occurs with scout leaders can involve criminal charges, just as it has in the past…when illicit activity took place during the full gay ban.

  • Craig Wright

    One thing that I got out of reading this essay and the following responses, is that we need to have intelligent discussion of this subject, as well as evaluating the relevant interpretation of Scripture passages, in our churches. I have found that church can be a difficult place to bring up these controversial topics, but it is necessary.

  • Quid

    Excellent post. My feelings exactly.

  • Midge

    Most of what I’ve read on this issue misses what should be an obvious problem: The troop leaders, who are just parent volunteers, should not be burdened with having to deal with sexuality. The sexuality of kids, other people’s kids.

    • Roger Olson

      Ummm…they already do have to deal with it.

      • Midge

        Imagine being a troop leader and a kid “comes out” to you and says, “Don’t tell my parents.” What a position to be in.

        The troop leaders are parent-volunteers, not paid professional counselors or therapists. They want to go camping and earn merit badges, not deal with the intimate, complex, psychological make-up of other people’s children.

        • Roger Olson

          You think this doesn’t already happen? I know it does. (Viz., boys confiding private matters to their Scout masters and expecting some kind of compassionate advice)

  • LeRoy Whitman

    “Probably no one chooses to be a homosexual.” I’m glad you left the doubt in by using “probably.” Try: Probably no one chooses to be an adulterer. Sorry, there is a difference between feelings and thoughts, and actual actions. Our consciences need informed, especially when we begin to justify and have strong feelings in a direction that is wrong. I understand your point about youth not being silent if they need to talk about it; but that is different from one who accepts these thoughts as “being them.” That is a line crossed. Especially as a theologian, it is necessary to set straight the difference between a tempting thought (2 Cor 10: 3-6) and an accepted thought leading to action (James 1 “conception”).

    More to the point, try: “Probably no one chooses to be a child molester.” Homosexuality is abuse. This can be considered on many levels (including the spiritual attack level, the psyche of the person, and the body of another). If we are not recognizing this, and seeing it through the compassionate eyes of Christ, it says something about our thinking, not about Biblical clarity (Rom. 1).

    • Roger Olson

      So you don’t make a distinction between an alcoholic and a drunk–even if the alcoholic has never been drunk? We now know some people are naturally drawn toward excessive alcohol consumption. Should such people be viewed as sinful just because of that–even if they don’t excessively consume alcohol. I think you’re point of view is simply ridiculous.

      • LeRoy Whitman

        No, I am saying because the alcoholic-bent person is more likely to not only sin by getting drunk, but even become enslaved to a drunken lifestyle, it is important to teach the dangers. “What’s the problem with alcoholic bartenders?”

        • Roger Olson

          True, but does that justify excluding alcoholics from Christian organizations?

  • Brian Schallow

    You are totally wrong on this issue of homosexuality in the Boy Scouts. This private organization is slowly being forced to accept homosexuality as normal; and you will see a continuation of this bulling of the Boy Scouts until they openly accept homosexual leaders. Also Christian leaders in this country are so gullible in the culture war going on. This is a war of words and look at the way Christian leaders are using the words that our enemy is using. Some examples are partner instead of spouse, people of faith rather than Christian. And the word most used is gay instead of homosexual. There are two things wrong with a Christian using gay to refer to a homosexual. First you are going along with the perversion of a wonderful word. Second you are saying “yes I believe that the homosexual lifestyle is a gay lifestyle. Some people may think this is trivial; but remember we are made in the image of God and the greatest power God has is His word. And so it is with man. Satan knows this.


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