Advice to Christians and Churches Involved in Boy Scouts

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The recent decision by the Boy Scouts of America to change its moral stance towards homosexuality is a tragic failure that calls for a response from Christians who are involved in Scouting.  This would include me, since both my boys are Boy Scouts and my church sponsors a Boy Scout troop.  Having prayerfully considered this matter, I would offer advice to fellow Christians with respect to two questions.  First, can we continue involvement in and support of Boy Scouts in light of this new policy?  The answer is No.  Second, when should we pull out of Boy Scouts?  The answer is By the end of the year, but not yet.

First, let me explain why I believe that Christians should not remain in Boy Scouts after this new policy goes into effect in six months.  

  • The Principle: In the Scout Oath, boys vow to be "morally straight."  For years, Boy Scouts have asserted that this oath precludes homosexual perversion.  Now, scouts must accept homosexuality as being in line with moral straightness.  A Christian, however, can no more submit to this principle than to define adultery or drunkenness as morally straight (see 1 Cor. 6:9-10).  The Bible defines homosexual behavior as "dishonorable, impure, unnatural, and shameless" (Rom. 1:24-27).  Boy Scouts are now demanding that Christians tolerate not merely people who are tempted by homosexuality but also the principle of homosexuality itself.  Disciples of Christ cannot do this without compromising our faithfulness to Him (see Rev. 2:20).
  • Moral Cowardice: The Scout Law calls on boys to be brave.  Yet after many years of clearly upholding their values, BSA has changed its policy in response to public pressure and, it seems, to financial interest.  Is this the message that Boy Scouts exists to convey to America's youth: be willing to change your values when they become unpopular or costly?  There is little point to a leadership-training organization that conveys this kind of message.  
  • 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.

The second question is When to disaffiliate?  Most Christians are so horrified and feel so betrayed by BSA that they want to act immediately.  However, I think there are some good reasons to wait at least a few months, during which the new policy will have yet to take effect:

  • 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.)
  • Plans for this Summer:  I know of no reason why scouts cannot follow through with plans made for this summer, which in some cases may have involved extensive plans and financial expense.
  • Boys Close to Eagle: Some troops will have scouts who are close enough to making Eagle that they may be able to wrap it up before the end of the year.  I think that this achievement is still of value prior to the policy change and that Christian boys ought to be given the chance to reach this goal.

In conclusion, the change of moral policy by BSA involves a tragic failure at the levels of morality, character, and leadership.  No doubt, the forces of moral barbarism have succeeded here in driving the followers of Christ farther to the margins of society.  While this is lamentable, it is unavoidable, in my opinion.  But Christians in places like China and Africa have been thriving without being able to participate in secularized youth programs.  We must honor God and His Word, remember our calling, and prayerfully take action that will honor biblical principle and send a godly message to our youths.  "The Lord declares... 'Those who honor me, I will honor'" (1 Sam. 2:30).
Posted May 26, 2013 @ 6:04 AM by Rick Phillips
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