by Barton Gingerich (@BJGingerich)
The proposed change to the Boy Scouts of America’s exclusion standards has hit national headlines. Currently, the BSA forbids openly gay leaders, volunteers, and scouts. This reflects the opinion of the vast majority of active parents and Scouting leadership. As an Eagle Scout and Brotherhood member of the Order of the Arrow, I was shocked and saddened to hear the announcement that the Boy Scouts were considering a change to this longstanding standard.
While The Atlantic insisted that the main impetus behind the change was the collection of heart-wrenching testimonies, this Christian Post article reveals the crux of the matter: large corporate donors are threatening to withhold funds to the BSA unless it alters the leadership standards. Within the past year, big donors Merck, Intel, and UPS threatened to no longer give to BSA because of its ban on gay scouts, volunteers and leaders. In case you were wondering, the rapid-fire volley of divestment threats does not simply happen without much work behind the curtain. Just this week, Scouting leadership announced it was reconsidering its stance.
The change faces great opposition within the Scouting community and on the grassroots level. Families threaten to leave the program entirely; no doubt many troops in the already-declining and financially-enfeebled organization will close down for lack of members. Churches, tremendous BSA supporters through donations and their facilities, have weighed in as well. President and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee Frank Page has expressed his dismay, claiming that the Boy Scouts is ”wilting under pressure from some of their corporate sponsors ….” Some Baptists consider revoking BSA charters to expand the Royal Ambassadors program. Similarly, the Assemblies of God said they were ”saddened and disappointed” about the proposed changes. The two greatest supporters of the Scouts–the Roman Catholic Church and the Latter Day Saints (Mormons)–have not given official opinions but do strongly support the current gay ban. No doubt many Cub Scout Packs and Boy Scout Troops will face many revoked charters from their historically most loyal supporters.
Shamefully, the United Methodist Church leadership applauded the loosened standards. UM Men leader Gilbert Hanke claimed, “These proposed changes are actually more consistent with the current Book of Discipline.” Jim Winkler, General Secretary of the perpetually leftist General Board of Church and Society, cooed, “United Methodists affirm that all persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God. Our local churches can now pursue an outreach unfettered by arbitrary restrictions that carry with them potential negative legal consequences or obloquy, and can instead seek to live together with all persons in Christian community, welcoming, forgiving and loving one another.” Both men seemed to forget that official United Methodist social teaching in the Book of Discipline encourages local churches to support traditional monogamous heterosexual marriage. The Discipline also decries same-sex marriage and active homosexuality as incompatible with Christian teaching.
It is almost as if the BSA serves as a proxy battlefield between orthodox church leadership and the LGBT movement. Whereas the main theater of conflict is directly within church conventions and synods themselves, now the two forces are fighting over sexuality on a different plane, in which both sides are not direct agents. Instead, they lend their influence and resources to a third party (the BSA) to decide the outcome.
The leaders of the LGBT agenda have long targeted the Boy Scouts. First, they persecuted the organization legally, through juridical attacks that reached all the way up to the Supreme Court. Even though the BSA is a volunteer private organization, it found itself under fire from both prosecutors and the media. Now they have assaulted the BSA at a much weaker spot: finances.
For over a century now, the Boy Scouts have sacrificially given men and boys impressive skill sets, leadership training, outdoors experience, and fond memories. Almost every community in the United States has been blessed by service projects carried out by diligent Scouts. Indeed, the famous Norman Rockwell lithographs do not fall far from the reality of the Scouting experience. They almost serve as an icon for what is best in America. Now a new generation of iconoclasts seek to destroy this heritage in their crusade against all things patriotic and masculine.
Destruction? That’s a pretty strong term, is it not?
But it is also fitting. The LGBT champions on company boards and positions of cultural leadership that are putting the pressure on the BSA have no love for the organization. If the organization keeps its current standards, it loses big-time corporate donors. If the Scouts change their policy, then they are going to lose grassroots participation via facilities, membership, and funds from many families and churches. Either way the organization is hurt badly. No one who really loves an organization tries to annihilate it in such a manner. Sure, a few former Scouts are gay and would perhaps like to see it reform its ways, but other gay Scouts I have talked to would rather the organization keep its standards rather than face immanent destruction.
These days, lack of affirmation for the LGBT agenda IS intolerance since not speaking out against “heterosexism” is considered the same as not speaking out against racism. And it is probably not going to stop with excluding leaders–there will be more demands (perhaps insisting the BSA offer sexual education rather than leaving that responsibility to parents, a custom that has come under fire before).
Most of those that have put on the pressure on the relatively feeble Boy Scouts of America do not give a care for the organization. It is just another casualty in their culture war.
Let us stop calling the parties responsible for this turn of events the “LGBT movement” and “sexual equality activists” and name them for what they really are: the Alphabet Mafia.