Boy Scouts and the Banishment of Boys

My sons go to a camp in North Carolina every summer. This is an old fashioned kind of camp where the boys and girls are segregated. The guys sleep in lumpy bunks in basic cabins, get up early to swim in the turtle infested lake, run around half clad like wild men, and spend the summer avoiding bears in the blueberry patches, chasing each other in mud battles, sleeping under the stars, singing raucous songs and working up an appetite with rough games, mountain climbing, canoeing, hiking and generally being boys. Mealtime is a chaotic, rough housing, survival of the fittest affair where table manners are for sissies and one of the hobbies is catching mice to feed to the snakes they’ve captured.

Best of all, there are no screens, no phones, no tablets, no computers. On a rainy night they might just put an old VHS cassette into the big, boxy machine that plays films on the flickering TV, but that’s it.

Camp runs for five weeks and when I asked the director why they don’t run camp for one or two weeks he said, “It takes that long to teach these boys how to play outside.”

In the meantime, the Boy Scouts have not only admitted girls and got rid of the name “Boy” from “Boy Scouts” but they’ve admitted both gay boys and gay scout leaders to join. News is that they are handing out condoms at this year’s Jamboree. What on earth is going on in the tents at night?

This is hardly the hardy, clean cut organization made famous by Norman Rockwell.

The Banishment of Boys from Boy Scouts is simply insane.

It’s Burger King becoming “King” and serving veggie burgers. It’s Dunkin’ Donuts becoming Dunkin’ and serving lettuce wraps.

Don’t the leaders of the Scouting movement know what is happening? There is a crisis in masculinity in this country. Boys not only don’t know how to become men, they don’t even know how to be boys. The current statistics show that boys are increasingly under performing at school, the suicide rate of young men is sky rocketing as is the crime rate for young men. Boys and young men are confused, distracted and despairing. The mainstream media continue to portray men as Neanderthal dummies or gun toting domestic guerillas who behave like gorillas.

Young men are in crisis. I know because they are coming to me in increasing numbers not knowing where they are going and what they should do with their lives.

All of this confusion is the by product of the sexual revolution. When sexual intercourse became separated from becoming a parent it also became separated from what it means to be a man or a woman, and if people don’t know what a man and a woman are they are also confused about what it means to be a boy or a girl.

What am I getting at?

Its not that complicated when you stop to think about it.

First ask “What is a man” and “what is a woman”?

What defines a man are the physical characteristic that enable him to be a father. What defines a woman are the physical characteristics that enable her to be a mother. To be blunt, a man has the equipment to inseminate a woman and therefore become a father. A woman has the equipment to conceive a child and become a mother and then nurse the child. Therefore, to be a man is to be a father or a potential father. To be a woman is to be a mother or a potential mother.

Go ahead, try to imagine what it means to be a man without the idea or potentiality of being a father. Try to imagine what it means to be a woman without the idea or potentiality of being a mother.

You can’t. You might some up with typically masculine or feminine social roles, but these are not what it means to be a man or a woman. Anyway, society has overturned those typical male and female roles and shown that those typical roles are not what defines a man or a woman.

No. A man is a father. A woman is a mother.

What is gender confusion? It is boys and girls who do not know what a man or a woman is and therefore they are confused about how to become a man or a woman.

They are in no man’s land.

From time immemorial boys learned to become men by joining all male groups: scouts, sports teams, choirs, the military, altar servers and clubs and gangs of all sorts.

We understood that boys need this in a way girls do not. Their development was more complicated and the psychologists will explain why because this is just a blog post.

How on earth therefore, do the Scouts think they are helping things by their recent decisions? By removing the word “Boy” and admitting girls they are effectively banishing the boys. By admitting gay boys and men they are threatening the straight boys with a developmental and identity crisis.

What to do about it? I’m not sure. I’m certainly am not advocating any kind of purge toward the politically correct or anyone who experiences gender confusion or same sex attraction. This phenomenon is part of our society right now. It’s where we are and all of us are tangled up in the confusion one way or another. It’s a complicated maze and I don’t profess to have any quick and easy solution. Turning the clock back is impossible. Reversing the sexual revolution won’t work. Pandora’s box has been well and truly opened.

As a Catholic priest I believe the traditional understanding of marriage and sexuality is the only real answer, but I am under no illusions about the possibility of that making a comeback any time soon.

In the meantime, I don’t believe the recent decisions by the Boy Scouts are helping matters, and its a shame that an organization that helps boys in their development now seems to be batting for the other side.

While I don’t have instant answers, I do recommend The Troops of St George. They are one of the new start ups that offer an alternative to the Scouts. They’re robust, they’re fun, they’re family. They’re fully Catholic.

Go here to learn more.

Image Creative Commons Wikkimedia


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