The Boy Scouts of America Have Eliminated Morally Straight
When I was a Boy Scout, we learned the Scout Oath. It stated:
“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.”
Well, morally straight used to be part of the Scout Oath. After yesterday’s decision, one can decide to eliminate that part of the Oath. The leaders of the Boy Scouts of America have systematically decided to eliminate morality out of the program. When I was a Boy Scout, the organization was all about character development. We went camping and we learned skills like basket-weaving, how to tie different knots, as well as other skills. It was in Boy Scouts that I learned how to cook, how to relate to others, how to be a leader, and even how to be a participating citizen of the United States.
We spent time learning the importance of the American flag, how to lead groups, and how to be the kind of man that society needs. That was the point. To learn to be a man that society needs. Gender was an essential element of the program. It is why it was called the BOY scouts. We were boys who were learning to be men.
We aim for the practice of Christianity in their everyday life and dealings, and not merely the profession of theology on Sundays…
As a result, part of being a man included morality. To be morally straight was to have personal integrity. It included a spiritual element – which is the reason why a Scout learned how to do their duty to God. Since I had a duty to God, then it was God who defined that morality. God was very clear about gender. In Genesis, it says that God created humanity with gender – male and female:
“So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female.” (Genesis 1:27, HCSB)
According to the Old Testament (and according to the belief in God that Baden-Powell used when he started the Scouting movement over 100 years ago), God defined gender, not humanity. God created people with gender. Gender was not an internal subjective desire. Instead, it was created by God’s design. God’s design for me was that I accept the gender for which He created me.
When the Boy Scouts of America decides to eliminate that distinction of gender, then the Scout Oath loses its meaning. There is now no need for a duty to God because morality has now been made subjective, and therefore meaningless. As a result, eliminating gender as a distinctive in the BSA will erode the organization’s significance and influence.
I am very disappointed in an organization which has had such meaning for me. I was an Eagle Scout, a Scoutmaster, and a Program Director at a summer camp along the Texas Gulf Coast. I went to Philmont Scout Ranch three times. I really enjoyed the friends I met. Many of those young men have made a great contribution to American society. I fear that this change will hurt Scouting in the future. There will now be Scouts who will not see how important it is to be a male (as God defined them) in society. These future Scouts will lose an ethical component to their natural growth in the Scouting organization that I think will be harmful to themselves, to the Scouting movement, as well as to society.