Some recall, high profile, former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, was appointed President of Boy Scouts of America, and took office in May, 2014.Your’s truly, in a April, 2014, column titled, Faith Trumps Trend in Cheyenne, wrote, “It’s reasonable to fear that under his leadership, with unrelenting pressure and advocacy from national and local “pro gay” organizations, he will halt the ban on openly homosexual leaders. That outcome would be predictable and irreparable.” Sadly, that prediction was fulfilled this past Thursday, at the Boy Scout annual meeting in Atlanta.
Gates bolstered his call for this watershed event, stating, “The status quo in our movement’s membership standards cannot be sustained.” Citing recent sociological, political and judicial changes taking place in our country, he added, “We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it would be.” Ever the pragmatist, he fears legal challenges. Though the changes are not immediate, we know they’re imminent. The First Congregational Church of Cheyenne, sagely read the writing on the wall.
The National Executive Board vowed protection for the Scouts from “water gun fights,” claiming that pointing a “firearm is not kind,” and limiting the size of water balloons. Seriously? Perhaps the Scouts should opt for toe nail painting. It’s much safer. Ironically, they’re untroubled exposing young boys to the moral risk of introducing homosexual adult leadership in their lives. It’s analogous to restricting a nine year old from peddling his bike on a cul-de-sac, yet granting him the latitude to ride it alone on I-25.At night! It flies in the face of logic. The cataclysmic outcome is predictable. A dangerous mix of naivety and reckless disregard.
In this age of moral relativism and murkiness, taking a stance against a behavior that’s destructive at its core will be considered homophobic and intolerant. As we know from previous opposition to similar attempts to “normalize abnormal behavior,” swords will be drawn from opponents, trotting out their hackneyed, wholly unscientific polemic, “they’re born that way.” That’s their attempt to bash or marginalize anyone who deigns to disagree with their narrative. This issue begs the question, “Should we shirk fidelity to the historic and existential veracity of Scripture that calls out sinful behavior, or trust the fleeting wisdom of the Boy Scouts of America?” Consistency demands that we too call out any adult Boy Scout leader who’s involved in marital infidelity or other moral lapses.
The L.A. Times heralded Gate’s decision as “baby steps on accepting gay Scout leaders.” The on-line article added, “There’s no better place for those lessons to be learned than in youth organizations.” The writer continued, “So the top Scout leader is shedding some timidity. Let’s hope the organization follows the rest of society and welcomes our openly gay neighbors as equals, with all the rights that such standing affords.“ Some fear that the lessons learned in this “untested Petri dish culture” will be shameful and irrevocable. There’s a vocal force who, the LA Times described as “old and ignorant prejudices against homosexuality,” are committed to unrelenting insistence to raise a clarion call. It’s not ignorance. It’s not prejudice. It’s a love for long-standing, moral edifices that rely on biblical absolutes, providing a moral compass for us all. We too understand the malleable nature of young men, subject to remarkable influence by adults-for good or ill.
All of this under the myth of equality and neutrality. One must cling to the hope that some parents are smarter than the executives of the Boy Scouts. Proponents of embracing this change are as naïve as the opponents are wise. One supportive blogger asked, “So how will a Scout ever know one way or another whether their leader is gay or otherwise?” Therein lies part of the problem. They won’t. Will parents know? Aside from the policy and moral implications, the practical implications of what may occur in the day-to-day life of the troop is another challenge.
Are we to believe that the presence of males from 11 to 18 years, testosterone charged, and curious urges, adding the adult gay component, that they’ll only experience, what one executive described, as “isolated pockets” of sexual encounters? Introducing openly gay Scouts, of whom, not all are passive, into showers and tents create a potentially toxic mix. Who’ll be guarding the Scouts? These questions undoubtedly generate a firestorm of outrage in the public arena for those who still have questions. The topic generates more heat than light. That’s no reason to avoid or ignore the long lasting implications of such a policy proposed by the Boy Scout’s Executive Board. According to the dominant mainstream media, and Gates himself, we’re lead to believe that this decision was reached after long, deliberative debates and exchange of ideas from grass root members. History tells us otherwise.
Just as the homosexual wing of the American Psychological Association high-jacked the scientific basis for classifying homosexuality in 1973, so have those lobbying for a gay agenda in every strata of society, with targeted, unrelenting pressure on the BSA executives. Let’s be clear: this is a top down agenda. Gates folded like a cheap tent to the winds of a post Judeo-Christian society. The same tide that eroded their moral policy, created an alternative to this pernicious wave. TrailLife USA. Its motto: “Walk Worthy.” This group emphasizes adventure, character and leadership, absent the Pollyannaish view on immoral behavior.
Some have had to make gut-wrenching decisions to leave the BSA. Gates hinted there may be the need to revoke the charters of those organizations that refuse to comply. It’s not that the Scouts aren’t free to make this choice, that’ll shake the foundation of Scouting, but rather the wisdom to do so. Many hail the decision. A shrinking number vehemently oppose it. There’ll be no confluence of these two steams of thought. We’ve heard this bittersweet refrain before. Excogitation required. What do you think?
Mike Pyatt is a Natrona County resident. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org