"Keep sex and politics out of Scouting."
That's the battle cry of Scouting traditionalists fighting to persuade the Boy Scouts of America to retain its long-standing ban on openly homosexual youths in its ranks, and it's a credo as sensible as it is succinct.
The battle comes to a head this week when the BSA's National Council convenes a three-day conference Wednesday in Grapevine, Texas. The 1,400 delegates to the National Council will vote on a schizophrenic proposal that would unwisely end the ban on out-of-the-closet homosexual Scouts, while wisely retaining the ban on homosexual adults as troop leaders. The delegates should unapologetically reject this ill-conceived proposal and stand up for the timeless values — "A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent" — that have served the Scouts so well for more than 100 years.
John Stemberger, a former Eagle Scout who has two sons in the Boy Scouts, is leading the charge against the policy change. His OnMyHonor.net website, in arguing for keeping sex and politics out of Scouting, notes that the proposed resolution "robs parents of the sole authority to raise kids."
"Parents should have the exclusive right to raise issues about sex and sexuality with their children in their own time and in their own way, in the privacy of their homes; not brought up by other boys around a campfire," the website explains. "Allowing open homosexuality would inject a sensitive and highly charged political issue into the heart of the BSA, against the wishes of the vast majority of [Scouts'] parents." (The BSA's own "Voice of the Scout" survey found that respondents support the current policy by a supermajority of 61 percent to 34 percent.)
Put another way, the wall of separation between childhood innocence and sexuality — breached virtually everywhere else in our hypersexualized culture, with the homosexual lobby in the vanguard — should be allowed to have its redoubt in the Boy Scouts. Indeed, the Boy Scouts are among the few remaining societal bulwarks against the moral entropy that has engulfed the culture in the past 40 years, a culture that has fallen so far, so fast that one of the foremost producers of homosexual pornography, Terry Bean, served as a fundraising "bundler" for President Obama's re-election efforts last summer without any discernible fallout for the campaign.
As for that bifurcated policy of allowing homosexual Scouts, but not homosexual Scoutmasters, it's a move aimed naively at muting criticism from homosexuals and their media megaphones (which it won't). Rather, it's a split-the-baby compromise that not only won't mollify them, it's ultimately untenable, since once the camel's nose is in the (Scouts') tent, the rest of the camel usually follows. The concept of splitting the baby was a bad idea in King Solomon's day, and it should be clear from this that it hasn't improved with age.
It's mystifying to those of us who were once Scouts (though I didn't make it past Cubs) and cheered when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2000 that the BSA could legally exclude homosexuals, that the Scouts would now repudiate that hard-fought victory. The Boy Scouts of America, et al. v. Dale ruling, decided 5-4, was predicated on the First Amendment's right to freedom of association (or, in this case, non-association). The court's ruling — which under any rational reading of the First Amendment should have been unanimous — correctly held that private organizations such as the Scouts could exclude a person from membership when "the presence of that person affects in a significant way the group's ability to advocate public or private viewpoints." Opposition to homosexuality has been — at least until now — part of the Scouts' "expressive message," and forcing them to accept homosexuals would have interfered with that message.
Since being rebuffed by the high court in 2000 in their bid to force their way into the Scouts' tents, homosexuals have had nothing to stop them from starting their own parallel Scout-like organization. Thirteen years later, however, they have not done so. That's because this fight is, and always has been, first and foremost about politics, and more specifically about advancing the homosexual-rights agenda. They also haven't done so because it's likely that there would be embarrassingly few boys who would avail themselves of the opportunity.
Besides, what would they award Merit Badges in the Gay Scouts for? For proper condom use and safe sex? That's not as far-fetched as it might seem at first blush. One need look no further than to an existing parallel organization, the Girl Scouts, which long ago bought into the "full monty" of political correctness, embracing the entire LGBT agenda and explicit sex education and partnering with multiple organizations that promote abortion. The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported April 7 that the "Girl Scouts has been losing young members steadily since 2003, donations have slipped since 2007 [and] many local councils face financial difficulties." Membership has plunged 18 percent since the year 2000, while donations are down 21.5 percent. Coincidence?
That should be reason enough for the National Council to reject the proposed change, but if Mr. Stemberger's OnMyHonor.net and other supporters of traditional Scouting need a second rallying cry, they might want to tell BSA officials: "If it ain't broke, don't break it."
Peter Parisi is an editorial writer for The Washington Times.
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