EDITORIAL: The Gay Scouts of America

Pledge to keep ‘morally straight’ threatened

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) might abandon a century of commitment to the moral development of youth. More than 100 million boys have taken the oath and learned self-reliance, patriotism, service and, most importantly, values through Scouting. After fending off attacks on these values from left-wing activists for decades, the organization on Monday raised a white flag in favor of political correctness — and corporate donations.

Deron Smith, a national Scout spokesman, signaled the retreat: “Currently, the BSA is discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation.” The statement came as a shock to many who supported the tradition-minded group through the relentless campaign of liberals seeking to separate Scouting from its core mission.

The Boy Scouts, like the military, is all about character formation. As a New Jersey court put it, “Boy Scouts expresses a belief in moral values and uses its activities to encourage the moral development of its members.” That’s what irks the left so much. Under the Scout Oath, a boy pledges “to do my duty to God and my country, and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.” These things fly in the face of the libertinism that has taken hold of leftists since the 1960s.

Despite their lofty rhetoric, these radical activists aren’t interested in “equality.” Nothing has ever prevented the creation of a Scouting group that specifically celebrates whatever values, or lack thereof, are currently fashionable on the left. It’s obvious such a freewheeling group would attract few members, so instead of building something on their own, the goal has been to infiltrate and destroy from within traditional outfits that engage in character formation. It’s a way to eliminate a constant reminder that some still believe their conduct is wrong or even sinful.

James Dale, an outspoken homosexual-rights activist, filed a lawsuit that tried to force the Boy Scouts to hire him as an assistant Scoutmaster, contrary to the wishes of the organization. The Supreme Court rejected Mr. Dale’s effort a dozen years ago, recognizing the Boy Scouts’ desire to not be compelled to promote homosexual conduct as a legitimate form of behavior. The majority ruled the group had a First Amendment right to freely associate without the government insisting it adopt a politically correct message.

The military, unfortunately, enjoys no such protection. President Obama eliminated the requirement for straight conduct in the armed forces, a key deliverable that Mr. Obama promised to his wealthy contributors throughout his campaign. Instead of focusing on creating the most effective fighting force for the nation, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has been issuing statements “Recognizing June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month” and looking for opportunities to allow servicemen to march in “pride parades” in uniform.

Victory over the Scouts, however, had until now proved elusive. The sudden about-face of Scouting’s leadership opens the prospect for another significant loss in the ongoing cultural battle, but the war isn’t over yet. The Boy Scouts’ national leadership meets next week to decide whether to adopt the controversial policy change. That means it’s the duty of former Scouts to convince the board to come to its senses.

The Washington Times

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