More thoughts on the Boy Scouts decision and where we go from here

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.

The Boy Scouts have made their decision, so now what?

We’re back from a much needed vacation. Despite a handful of challenges, like my makeup bag being left at home, we had a wonderful trip. I’m just now catching up on all of the news and blog articles from the last week. One of the biggest stories, was the decision by the Boy Scouts allowing homosexual scouts. Our local council voted against the change, but the vote did not go in our favor. As a mom of three boys, two of whom are currently in scouting, I’m now faced with the question of what to do.

Perhaps the best article I’ve read on the subject is this one by Rick Phillips. In his “Advice to Christians and Churches Involved in Boy Scouts,” Pastor Phillips makes two recommendations. First, Christians should not stay in scouts after the change in policy takes effect in January, 2014. Pastor Phillips discusses how the change in policy affects the principle of being “morally straight” and shows moral cowardice. He also discusses the critical issue of safety:

Safety: The bottom line is that starting in 2014, BSA will send 11 year-old boys into the woods with 17 year-old boy leaders who are practicing homosexuals. This policy is made even more alarming when one realizes that teenage boys are those most likely to molest a younger child. Now older teens who are practicing homosexuals will be put into tents with younger boys. This is unconscionable. Even if local troops think themselves unlikely to experience this problem, Christians cannot remain affiliated with an organization that at the level of policy would put the young boys under its care under this kind of safety risk.

Second, Pastor Phillips answers the question of when to disaffiliate. He acknowledges that for many parents there is a desire to cut all ties immediately. He suggests, however, that we wait until the change takes place in January:

Alternative Scouting Organizations: I have no doubt that Christians in leadership positions at the regional council and national level will make arrangements for a new organization into which Christians boys and troops will be able to transfer more or less intact. But the troops must be still intact for this to happen. Troops can continue to meet, can pray, and can follow through with summer scouting plans in anticipation of godly alternatives to BSA. (To this end, I would urge Christians in positions of leadership at regional councils to be busy now in forming or allying with alternative forms of scouting into which troops may transfer.)

I think Pastor Phillips advice is worth considering. I know that our family will not continue in scouts once the change has been made. Our pack leadership will be meeting soon to consider what to do. I pray that a good alternative will be found quickly, and I mourn the loss of scouts as an opportunity for my boys.

I would love to hear what your pack or troop is planning to do.