Boy Scout Backers Launch Effort for
New Youth Program
Boy Scout supporters have announced plans to establish a new national youth development program for young men that reflects the traditional values of the Boy Scout program. The announcement comes in the wake of last week's decision by the National Executive Council of the Boy Scouts of America to abandon core principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
Members of the Regional Councils of the Boy Scouts voted to amend the organization's membership standards to allow boys who affirm and promote homosexuality to participate in the Boy Scout program. The resolution was adopted with a 61 percent vote of approval following strong pleas made by Boy Scout President Wayne Brock and Boy Scout chief executive Wayne Perry. It will take effect on January 1st.
National Boy Scout representatives ignored the clear wishes of Boy Scout families who opposed the change. A recent survey conducted by the Boy Scouts gauging the sentiments of those active in Scouting showed that 61 percent supported the existing policy on homosexuality. Boy Scout executives also discarded their own two-year study which showed that the current policy was "in the best interests" of young men and their character development.
The decision by Boy Scout officials to embrace homosexuality stands in stark contrast to the foundational principles of Scouting. Homosexuality is a contradiction to the pledge a Boy Scout makes in the Scout Oath to be faithful to God and country, and to be "morally straight." Homosexuality stands in opposition to the virtues in the Scout Law that a Scout will be "clean and reverent."
"It is with great sadness that we witness the most influential youth program in America turn a tragic corner," says John Stemberger, leader of On My Honor, a group which had worked to preserve the central moral principles of Scouting. "The Boy Scouts are embarking on a pathway of social experimentation that we believe will place at risk the very youth the organization is entrusted to serve, while rendering as hollow the tenets of the Scout Oath."
In announcing the policy change, Boy Scout executives issued a statement declaring that "the Boy Scouts of America will not sacrifice its mission, or the youth service movement, by allowing the organization to be consumed by a single, divisive, and unresolved societal issue."
Yet, that is exactly what the organization did. BSA officials sacrificed Scouting's moral creed to satisfy the demands of corporate donors who insisted that they bow to the agenda of the homosexual rights movement. Major corporations had withheld or threatened to withhold corporate gifts and grants until the Boy Scouts adopted "gay-friendly" policies.
The organization also guaranteed that they will continue to be consumed by the divisive issue of homosexuality by their action. "Gay rights" activists are now insisting that the organization welcome homosexual men into the ranks to serve as leaders of Boy Scout troops and Cub Scout packs.
Such a change would inevitably lead to further victimization of young boys by men whom they look to as mentors. The Boy Scout program is already plagued by lawsuits from families of boys who have been sexually abused by Scout leaders and volunteers.
"The saddest part of today's decision is what the organization is teaching our children and young people in the program," Stemberger observes. "The BSA is teaching our kids that when your values become unpopular, just change them. When your convictions are challenged, just cave to peer pressure. "
"The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is 'to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes.' Yet now the BSA is teaching our kids that it is more important to stand up for what is popular than to stand up for what is right."
Leaders of religious denominations predictably reacted with dismay. "We believe that the BSA policy change will lead to a mass exodus from the Boy Scouts program, as Assemblies of God and many other churches can no longer support groups that are part of an organization allowing members who are openly homosexual," says Assemblies of God Superintendent George Wood. Approximately 70 percent of the more than 100,000 chartered Scout troops are sponsored by religious organizations.
The Assemblies of God sponsors a youth development program known as Royal Rangers. The Southern Baptist Convention sponsors a similar program known as Royal Ambassadors. Both programs are expected to see significant growth as a result of the Boy Scout decision.
Rob Schwarzalder of the Family Research Council agrees that the Boy Scout program will likely see a major attrition in membership. He points to the experience of Canada, where Scout officials voted in 1998 to open the ranks of Scouting to avowed homosexuals.
"Within a space of ten years participation in Canada's Scouting program has fallen by 50 percent," Schwarzalder comments. "We think the fallout in the United States could be much greater since so many troops are chartered by faith-based institutions."
The cultural forces seeking to reshape the precepts of Scouting have made it clear that their objectives are not limited to the normalization of homosexuality. Acceptance and celebration of atheism is the next battle cry. USA Today recently headlined a column entitled "Good Boy Scouts Don't Need God."
"In addition to ending all anti-gay policies, the Boy Scouts should also open their doors to those without a religious affiliation," says Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. "The national policy of discrimination against humanists and atheists needlessly shuts out millions of Americans."
Stemberger has announced that the On My Honor group will be meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, in June to lay the foundation for a new character development organization for boys. Stemberger is a former Eagle Scout and also serves as the President of the Florida Family Policy Council, a sister organization to the Missouri Family Policy Council.
"We will host and facilitate a national coalition meeting of former BSA parents and other youth leaders who wish to return to the truly timeless values that made this organization great," Stemberger says. "We have a desire to explore how we might serve families and young people at the highest standard originally intended by Scouting's founder, Robert Baden-Powell."
You can keep up to date on the efforts to launch a replacement for the Boy Scout of America by visiting the website at this link:
On My Honor