Scouting

I grew up a scout.  I worked my way up from the first years of cub scouts all the way up to just short of an Eagle.  The only reason I didn’t finish my Eagle was that I was also a football player and after-school practices, game days, and Saturday film sessions dominated by time in a way that beat scouting.

Yesterday, a majority of voting delegates decided that scouting would become open to openly gay boys.  The issue of openly gay scoutmasters and adult leaders was tabled, but the camel’s nose is under the tent now and it is only a matter of time.

The problems with this decision are many.

Older boy scouts are looked up to by the younger ones.  Children are not generally well-founded morally, ethically, or spiritually in order to define right and wrong especially on a culturally divisive issue as sexual preference.  Confusion is easy to generate in teenagers and will be amplified by the disconnect between the words of the Boy Scout Oath and Law which no longer seem to apply in light of this decision.

Traditionally, churches have been the sponsors of scout troops across the country.  These delegates are rather short sighted in that the sponsorship and support that they have received from churches that still preach morality and Godly-living will dry up and wither away as those bodies of believers will refuse to support an organization that does not abide by the moral purpose it once did.

More so, that short-sightedness fails to take into account one other element, and that is men like me.  My boys are too young to join scouting for a few more years.  The problem is that the scouting I knew will cease to exist.  There are so few organizations that take a moral stance and will proclaim right and wrong.  The Scouts have always been inclusive of Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and atheists.  They have never forced a certain belief set, but they have insisted historically on a moral code of behavior that set Boy Scouts apart from non-scouts.  Without that code, the scouts are just a social group that teaches how to build fires, us a compass, and go camping.  Frankly, I can teach my boys just as well or better than anyone else how to do those things AND I can use those to teach right, wrong, good, evil, and the nature of God.

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.

So what motivation do I have to say to my sons that joining the Scouts is a good idea anymore?

Why would I encourage my sons to join an organization that caved on one of it’s founding principles?

Honor?  There is no longer any. A group that violates it’s own oath of membership has no honor.

Duty? My duty is to God and country.

Mental awakeness?  There is none. There was no forethought in this decision.  There was no critical thinking applied.

Moral straightness?  By demanding none, the further graying of the lines of morality will continue.

I once was forced to decide between a sport that I loved and an organization that seemed to be waffling, but I did not then understand why or for what reason.  Now I am forced to decide what is best for my sons – my duty before God.  Instead of regret though, I am proud to proclaim that this former Scout will not abide this violation of the Scout Oath, as it no longer has any meaning for that organization going forward.

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