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.
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.
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?
Do homosexuals have the right to assemble with like minded people?
Do homosexuals have the right to create clubs and associations which reflect their morals?
Do homosexuals have the right to refuse membership to those who do not live up to their moral standards?
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.