Mormons, Homosexuals and the Boy Scouts of America

Roughly two years ago we decided to give the Cub scouts a try. Our oldest son had played tee-ball for a number of seasons, but my wife Becky and I didn’t think it was a great fit for him. He had the basics of baseball down and learned the value of teamwork, but the game just didn’t excite him the way it does other kids. Becky thought that maybe something a little more “out-doorsy” would better fit his personality so she did some research and found a Christian troop that we wanted to look into.

When we first met with the leader of the local troop, we wanted to know more about the “Christian” aspect of the troop. We knew that many Mormons are into scouting so we wanted to know if they were included under the umbrella of “Christian.” We were happy to learn that as a Christian troop, anyone could join it, but leadership positions were reserved only for those who attend Christian churches. Because of the doctrine of the Mormon Church, it cannot rightly be named “Christian” so members of that church would be ineligible for leadership positions within the troop. That answer satisfied us. We told our son that he could either do baseball or scouts, but we would not do both. We decided to give the Boy Scouts a year long trial. He enjoyed it so much that we are now back for our second year.

Now, before some of my Mormon readers get upset about our troop’s policy on Mormons, I want you to understand that if we were to move to Utah, I would not attempt to force my way into a leadership position within a Mormon troop if they reserved leadership positions for Mormons only. We would appreciate being able to join the troop, but if their regulations restricted non-LDS from assuming positions of leadership, I would honor that. Heck, if we found a troop that was reserved for LDS only, we would just find somewhere else to go. I agree that any troop has the right to define itself as long as it fits within the guidelines of what the Boy scouts of America (BSA) constitutes as an acceptable troop. I have absolutely no problem with that.

This leads me to the problem of homosexuals wanting to be accepted into BSA. We recently received a phone call from someone who knows about our ministry and wanted to reconcile in their minds how we could be okay with the idea that Mormons can be accepted into BSA, but at the same time, we oppose membership to homosexuals. I gave an answer that was unexpected. “Boy Scouts take oaths to be morally straight. I do not believe that it is immoral to be a Mormon.” Is it wrong theologically? Absolutely, but lets’ face it, Mormons are among some of the most moral people we know.

Now, before some of my Christian readers get upset about my convictions, please take into consideration that the context I am referring to is not whether or not Mormonism is acceptable to God. Clearly, I don’t believe that. The morality I am referring to here is the general lifestyle of Mormonism. There are many good, moral principles taught by the Mormon Church and members are strongly encouraged to live a certain moral code. That is commendable regardless of theological beliefs.

Throughout the 100 plus year history of BSA, homosexuality has always been considered immoral, yet we are now at a place where the national BSA board is considering allowing homosexuals as both members and leaders. I have a problem with that for a number of reasons. I will not go into all of my reasons, but I will address two of them. First is the issue of bullying. Here is the letter I wrote to the BSA expressing my concerns.

BSA,

I am a father who has had my son involved in Scouts for almost two years. We are new to the organization, but already see it as a tremendous asset in helping parents raise responsible young men who will be leaders in their community.

I am against the policy change to allow gay scouts and scout leaders into the ranks of BSA. Even if I agreed with homosexuality, I would still disagree with bullying. The homosexual agenda has taken the position that if we disagree with them, then we must hate them. We are not allowed the freedom to simply disagree with them. The BSA is having to defend itself against unfounded attacks from homosexual activists, those inside the ranks of the BSA who have broken their vows, liberal politicians and now even the President of the United States. The BSA does not demand that homosexuals change their behavior, yet homosexuals demand that the BSA changes its policies so that they can feel better about themselves. This is the behavior of bullies.

Those who support and seek to establish the homosexual agenda in our culture do not understand this. They do not want our tolerance, they want our acceptance. They have failed to understand that before someone can tolerate something, they have to disagree with it. You do not tolerate things you agree with because you agree with it. If I was a gay parent, I would simply find a different group to which I could join.

If BSA allows this change, then they will only prove that bullying is a legitimate “form of persuasion” for bullies to get people to do what they want. The oath to be “morally straight” will then have no meaning for more than one reason, First, homosexuality itself is immoral, but even if you do not believe that, bullying is immoral. Even homosexuals will agree with that. How can we teach our boys and young men to be moral and stand up for what is right if we cower to the demands of bullies?

Those who are on the National Board should do the honorable thing and remove themselves from BSA if they are seeking to put forth an agenda which is contrary to the oaths that every Boy Scout takes.

Sincerely,

Keith Walker

My second concern has to do with the rights that every American citizen enjoys. Just as our troop has the right to deny leadership roles to those we deem as non-Christians or I would support a Mormon troop’s right to deny non-Mormons, so the BSA has the right to deny membership to homosexuals. Why? Because we claim the same rights as homosexuals. Let me explain.

Do Homosexuals have the right to live their lives according to the dictates of their own conscience?

YES.

Do homosexuals have the right to assemble with like minded people?

YES.

Do homosexuals have the right to create clubs and associations which reflect their morals?

YES.

Do homosexuals have the right to refuse membership to those who do not live up to their moral standards?

YES.

Then what is their problem with the Boy Scouts? Why do homosexuals not allow those same rights to the Boy Scouts of America?

I have posted the above to many forums and comment sections of online newspaper articles and not one single person has effectively dealt with the issues of the equal rights of the BSA. I have been called all kinds of nasty names and have been subjected to countless ad hominem attacks, but not one person who disagrees with my position has really addressed the questions above. It seems that they believe that homosexuals have rights that the rest of us do not have. If homosexuals have the rights mentioned in my first four questions, and I agree that they do, then why is it that homosexuals object when someone else exercises those same rights?

If you disagree with me, feel free to object. I am specifically looking for someone to address the rights that homosexuals demand, yet deny the BSA. I just ask that you address me in a reasonable, tolerant manner. Remember, you cannot tolerate me or my opinion unless you disagree with me so if you do, please be the example of how you want me to tolerate you.

11 Thoughts on “Mormons, Homosexuals and the Boy Scouts of America

  1. Awesome post Keith!!!

  2. Brian Buchanan on March 25, 2013 at 3:51 pm said:

    Well said

  3. Very thoughtfully put – you are not given a reasoned reply because bullies are not reasonable.

  4. Travis on March 26, 2013 at 5:15 am said:

    Keith,

    When you stated you were “new” to the Boy Scouts, you weren’t kidding. I invite you to research the organization a little deeper, it is very evident from this post you neither understand the BSA position respecting homosexuals anymore than you posses an objective perspective towards the beliefs of those with whom you disagree. The “Mormons” are the reason the BSA is available in San Antonio. If the “Mormons” pull out of the organization in that area, the Alamo Council would not have enough funding or support to justify it’s existence. As a volunteer in the organization, a lifelong Scout, and a Silver Palm Eagle, I ask, would you allow me, a “Mormon” to provide Scouting leadership to your son? I imagine, based on your post the answer would be no, which is sad. I have helped dozens of boys, in and outside of my Church to obtain their Eagle and beyond. We “Mormons” do not have a policy that disallows, non-“Mormons” from being leaders. In fact quite the opposite is true. You see, our goal is to attack “bullying” and all forms of discrimination, not through manifesting a spirit of division, but of inclusion. We understand that the Lord’s admonition was to “feed His lambs” not pick and choose who we “accept” based on some temporal belief system or because they engage in practices the Lord finds immoral. I think the reason you have been met, at least in part, by hostility on other sites is that you don’t see how one sided, exclusionary, and hypocritical the position you hold to really is. The BSA is a private organization, true, but without the involvement of “Mormons” and those not of your faith, there is not enough interest to keep the organization alive, yet you feel justified in ensuring your child has little or no involvement with “Mormons” despite mere theological differences, not moral or ethical differences. Perhaps you haven’t thought this through fully enough. Bullying, is wrong. However the position you advocete is bullying. You would preclude self-proclaimed homosexuals from inclusion in your groups. How then do you follow Christ and minister to these if you “have no dealings with them,” like the Jews had done to the Samaritans? If you analyze the Lord’s parables, you would understand the reason He used a Samaritan as the one who showed mercy, is to demonstrate to the self-righteous Jews, that even one considered apostate might manifest more obedience to the Laws of God than a professed “Believer” such as yourself. That you don’t recognize that ostracism is bullying is disconcerting. “Mormons” for example hold to a universal Law of Chastity. If any person, Gay or otherwise violates the Lord’s command, they will face His consequences, however we are not required to “cut them off” rather to welcome them, use gentle persuasion, and encourage repentance and a change of heart. This is the very reason our Church has a specific policy to allow “non-Mormons” to be Scout leaders, regardless of their Religion, we don’t even require they be “Christian.” Take off your blinders, soften your heart, I fear you inadvertently teach “hate” to your children.

    Thanks.

  5. Travis,
    You certainly have a knack don’t you? I believe you are committed to misunderstanding me. I don’t know if it is because you just hate me or what, but I honestly think you would purposefully change your mind about something if you found out that I agreed with you. Remember, I don’t deal with unreasonable people and you are quickly reminding me of that characteristic… again. I told you before that you were done on this blog, but you managed to change my mind by promising to meet with me personally.

    Here it is March 26 when I offered to take you out to lunch on March 9th. Since I have never heard from you after my invitation, I am beginning to think that perhaps you do not live in the San Antonio area like you said. As far as I am concerned, you’re back in the dog house. I will no longer approve or even READ any more of your comments until we meet. You know how to contact me so call me. With that said, I will correct your misunderstanding of my position for the sake of others who read this blog.

    Let me state this as clearly as I possibly can. I have no problems with Mormons being in the Boy Scouts. If what you said is true, then I am thankful for the Mormon effort in bringing BSA to San Antonio. I understand the gravity of the situation if BSA makes the wrong decision in May. I realize that if the Mormons decide to pull out, BSA is in real trouble. Your false accusation has NOTHING to do with my concern.

    The issue Becky and I were looking at is whether or not Mormons would be accepted under the umbrella of “Christian.” The only reason we wanted to know was because this particular troop is self identified as a Christian troop. If we had decided on a different troop, I would fully expect there to be Mormon involvement and would look forward to the opportunities of getting to meet and befriend many LDS families.

    Contrary to what you think of me, I do not believe that Mormons are boogey-men to be avoided at all costs. We use to have Mormon neighbors whose children LOVED coming over to our house to play. They literally CRIED when their parents told them it was time to go home. Our children enjoyed being in their home as well. Now to answer your direct question, would I allow you to provide scout leadership to my children? No, but not for the reason you stated. I have already told you that I don’t trust you and that has nothing to do with the fact that you are a Mormon. If we were in a different troop, I would have no problem with a Mormon man teaching my son.

    I never stated that Mormons forbid non-Mormons from leadership positions. I simply stated that IF there was a Mormon troop that did so, I would not have a problem with it. I understand, and agree with the idea, that a troop has the right to self identification as long as the definition fits within the acceptable boundaries set forth by scout law. If “Mormon” is part of that troop definition, then it doesn’t make sense to have leaders who do not fit that definition. Again, I have no problem with that. I really don’t know how I can be any more clear on that fact.

    How in the world could my position be labeled “bullying?” Is it bullying for homosexuals to want a private group which reflects their morals? Again, no one has ever dealt with my questions regarding that. Is it bullying for them to deny membership to those who do not live up to their Moral standards? Is it bullying for Mormons to only allow Mormons to lead in their Church? Is it bullying for Christians to do the same thing? Hardly. If none of the above is considered bullying, then neither is my position.

    You asked how I minister to homosexuals if we do not allow them into our groups and have “no dealings with them?” That is a straw man fallacy. I didn’t say that I do not have dealings with them. I have homosexual friends, we just see each other in a context other than Boy Scouts. You ask me to think things through and I have, but I don’t think you have done so. Here is what I mean. If wanting to have private groups for members only is bullying, then why does the LDS Church build so many temples and then disallow non Mormon family members from marriage ceremonies performed within those private, members-only temples? I happen to agree that the LDS Church has the right to do that, but if you think my position regarding homosexuality is bullying, then what do you call it when your Church does the same thing?

    Your last comment is unfounded and crosses the line. You have no idea what I teach my children. To prove my point, I just now asked them if they think I hate homosexuals. Do you know what their response was? My daughter immediately said “No” and my oldest son exclaimed, “WHAT?” I asked again, “Do you think I am teaching you to hate homosexuals? Again, they both responded negatively… and I don’t just mean they said “No.”

    Yet again, I asked, “What am I teaching you about homosexuals?” They basically said that we believe that the behavior is wrong and we need to love them anyway and teach them that homosexuality is not what God teaches. My daughter wanted to know why I was asking these questions so I told them that a Mormon on my blog was afraid that I was teaching them to hate homosexuals. Their joint response was something to the effect that, “We don’t hate homosexuals, we just don’t like what they do.” I would also like to tell you, Travis, that my daughter specifically said that since you think I am teaching them hate, then you need more information about who we really are and need to do more research. My son added, “How did he come up with that? He doesn’t even know us. He needs to learn more about people before he starts accusing them of things. We don’t treat people like that.”

    There you have it, Travis. If I am teaching my children to hate homosexuals, then they just aren’t catching it. Like homosexuals, some Mormons have the tendency to think that just be someone disagrees with them, they must hate them. If that is true, then I guess that means you hate me too.

    You have crossed the line one time too many. If you really want to reconcile our differences, then the ball is in your court. The only reason I allowed you to continue posting on this blog is because you said you wanted to meet with me to clear up misunderstandings. I have offered to take you to breakfast, lunch, dinner or whatever meal you prefer. You have not responded to my invitation for two weeks, yet jump at the chance to drag my name through the mud when I post another blog. I think you just offered to meet me so that you could continue to post on my blog. I sincerely question if you really do live in the San Antonio area.

    For these reasons your comment privileges have been revoked. The only way to reclaim those privileges is to call me and meet with me personally. Further blog comments by you will be unread and kept as pending until then.

  6. JRSG on April 6, 2013 at 8:13 pm said:

    Hard to believe that in the U.S. there is still so much hatred against those with different beliefs. Excluding LDS in scouts is the same as saying Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Polish, Greek, Middle Eastern, etc. should not be in the BSA or hold leadership positions because of culture, and some beliefs come from culture. BSA is non-profit but monies for BSA and other non-profits come from federal and state monies (which comes from the taxpayer), and some funding is private donations. It uses volunteers, requires fund raising from each troop (the product is expensive to buy), uniforms and other accessories are expensive, camp is expensive, and on and on, and yet the CEO and other higher up’s earn astronomical salaries. Troops struggle but the top brass gets most of the money.
    If the BSA did not get taxpayer money then the homosexual community would have no right to say anything about their exclusion.
    Do the Jews allow non-Jews a Bar/Bat Mitzvah? No. Could anyone go to any church, Christian or non-Christian, they are not a member of and teach a class or preach to the whole congregation? No. Which is why non LDS can not go into the Temples.
    The LDS do allow non members to speak in church, speak at special meetings, belong to scout troops and even hold leadership positions in scouts. Non members can even hold certain positions in local wards (congregations).

    • Who said anything about hatred? Can you please tell me which of the rights I spelled out which homosexuals have that the Boy Scouts of America does not have?

  7. ExMoHoMoDon on April 26, 2013 at 12:52 am said:

    Ah yes, the ‘Christians’, absolutely obsessed with homosexuals, about whom Christ said NOTHING. Your ‘love’ for homosexuals is nothing more than smug condescension. Reading your blog reminds me of why I believe all religion is made up, man made hateful nonsense. You who claim Christ as your leader bring nothing to the world but hate, division, and selective, smug self righteousness. One has to wonder, when homosexuals are afforded complete equal protection under the law, whom next the ‘Christians’ will hate for Jesus?

    • Don,
      Thanks for posting and for identifying yourself as a homosexual. I was really hoping that I could get some feedback from someone like yourself. However, if you are interested in posting here, and I hope you are, then you need to abide by our comment policy. Your first comment doesn’t do that. You have attacked me instead of my argument.

      I would be grateful if you could just please address my argument. Do you agree that homosexuals have the rights I spelled out in my post? Do you also agree that the Boy Scouts of America have those same rights?

  8. ExMoHoMoDon on April 26, 2013 at 12:59 am said:

    PS Your attempt to frame homosexuals as the bullies is as pathetic as it is cynical. How many ‘Christian’ kids have killed themselves from bullying by gay people? Compared with the violent crime committed against homosexuals, how many Christians suffer anything remotely similar? The violence committed on a daily basis against gay and lesbian Americans is astronomical–not to mention egged on and encouraged by self righteous ‘Christians’ like you. (Fred Phelps ring a bell?) Again, thanks for reminding me of why I left religion, never to return. Christ may well be the Savior of the world, but you wouldn’t know it from those who claim to be his followers.

    • Once again, attacking me instead of my argument. Surely you can do better than this. Fred Phelps and I have nothing in common. It is funny that you mention him though because I once attended a venue he and his merry band of hate mongers picketed.

      Please, either address my argument in a respectful, adult manner or you will lose your privilege to comment here. I really hope you address my argument though.

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