Yesterday, I posted my initial thoughts on BSA’s decision to allow openly homosexual scouts. The feedback I received fell basically into two groups. One group was supportive of our decision not to continue in scouts. The other group said something along the lines of, “Would your church kick out people who struggle with homosexuality or same-sex attraction?” or “Since people in churches struggle with all types of sins, will you pull your family out of church too?”
I appreciate the sentiment behind the questions, but I think there is a considerable misunderstanding of why our family (and many others) will not be part of BSA anymore. This is not a question of whether there are scouts who struggle with same-sex attraction. I’m sure there are now and have always been people in scouting who struggle in that way. The policy change by BSA says that being openly homosexual is not inconsistent with being “morally straight.”
A number of people have pointed out that the BSA decision maintains that no scout, regardless of orientation, should be participating in any sexual activities. Therefore, the policy change just means that boys who admit to struggling with same-sex attraction will not be kicked out of scouting. This understanding of the policy change is what leads to the types of questions above.
However, I don’t believe that this is the best understanding of the new BSA policy. A person can be openly homosexual without having sex. A boy who dates girls, or expresses his desire to date girls, is openly heterosexual. A boy who dates boys, or expresses his desire to date boys, is openly homosexual. The result of the change in the BSA policy is that being openly homosexual is now acceptable, and packs and troops cannot refuse membership to any boy because of his sexual preference.
So, to answer the questions: no, I would not want my church to kick out those who struggle with same-sex attraction, anymore than I’d want to be kicked out for my own struggles with sin (controlling my tongue, anger, worry, etc.). No, I would not pull my family out of church because there are sinners struggling with same-sex attraction. All sinners saved by grace will continue to struggle against his or her sins until the day Christ returns or calls us home.
I would, however, expect my church to say that being openly homosexual is sin and not consistent with Christian behavior. This would also be the case with adultery, lying, stealing, and a whole host of other sins laid out in Scripture. I would expect my church to call all sinners to repentance. And, if my church changed its stance and declared homosexuality to be acceptable behavior and not sin, then, yes, I would leave that church.
The BSA decision is not about allowing struggling sinners to remain in the organization. It is about acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle as merely another way of living, and it is a capitulation to the spirit of this age. We are called to stand firm in the face of adversity. I believe that the best way to do that in this case is to leave BSA and move on to something else.
Along those lines, there is one new alternative that I’m particularly interested in. Several years ago, a group formed as an alternative to Girl Scouts. American Heritage Girls is a Christian organization and was, until the recent BSA decision, the official sister organization to the Boy Scouts. They are in the process of putting together a boys group as an alternative to Boy Scouts. You can find information about the new group here:
Faith Based Boys is a leadership and character development program serving boys 5-18 years old. The name of this new organization, its logo, along with its program elements will be developed by a coalition of interested parents and stakeholders who believe that a Christ centered, skills based opportunity is necessary for young men “to be raised in the way they should go”. This coalition, with assistance from American Heritage Girls, is working to provide an interdenominational program that will be available across the nation. It is set to launch in Fall 2013.
The website has feedback forms to fill out for parents, leaders, churches, and interested individuals. I’m pleased to see that they hope to launch by this fall.