Boy Scouts learn to start fires by rubbing two sticks together. Now, the national Scout leadership is playing with fire. Scratch that — they’re playing with explosives.
Under consideration for a vote during a board of directors meeting beginning Feb. 4 is a rules change that would overturn the Scouts’ ban on openly homosexual members and leaders.
A press release on Jan. 28 by Scouts spokesman Deron Smith said, “This would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation, but that the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with their organization’s mission, principles or religious beliefs.”
In other words, sponsoring organizations could now coerce Scout troops to accept openly homosexual men and boys. Scout councils in liberal jurisdictions would lose the national shield. Those who resist would be kicked out of schools and other locales. This “local option” would signal surrender and destroy the Boy Scouts. Without parental trust, the Boy Scouts, founded in 1910 and which have been instrumental in helping millions of boys transition to manhood, would implode like a popped balloon. Does anyone other than left-wing ideologues and America’s enemies think this would be good for America?
The policy change would pose a real and present danger to the boys, as vividly illustrated by the still-simmering scandals involving serial boy molester Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Although homosexual activists try to camouflage the real issue by saying that it’s about pedophilia, not homosexuality, most of the victims were male teens and young men. Now, the Boy Scouts seem to be on the verge of going in the wrong direction.
A 1994 book, “Scouts Dishonor,” by Patrick Boyle, revealed 1,800 cases in which Scout leaders had been dismissed for abusing boys. In 2010, a jury awarded $18.5 million to a man abused by a pedophilic Scoutmaster. Given all this, it’s unfathomable for the Scouts to flirt with the idea of opening their ranks to males attracted to other males. Some of the perpetrators were married, but they obviously had same-sex inclinations, which is the whole point. We don’t allow men — even trustworthy men — to take nubile young girls camping. It’s a common-sense precaution.
The timing of this exercise in political correctness is odd. The Scouts, who won a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June 2000, just had another major legal victory in San Diego, where the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed a federal district judge’s 2003 decision to evict them from their camp in Balboa Park in a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. Last year, the Scouts released a two-year study concluding that their current leadership and membership policy is the correct one. What’s changed? More United Way chapters are leaning on the Scouts, and major corporations have been pulling their funding in recent months, United Parcel Service (UPS), Intel and Merck among them.
This must worry Scout executives, five of whom make more than $410,000 annually, including Chief Scout Executive Robert J. Mazzuca, who was paid $815,000 in salary in 2011, plus another $166,000 in other compensation. CFO James J. Terry Jr. made $697,000 in 2011, according to the Scouts’ 990 Form, and COO C. Wayne Brock made $568,000. That could buy a lot of tent pegs.
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest pro-homosexual group, has a Corporate Equality Index that takes points off corporations that give to traditional values organizations such as the Boy Scouts. What began as a request for tolerance for homosexual employees is now a bullying operation to break companies to the homosexual saddle.
Two Scout executive board members, AT&T CEO Randall L. Stephenson and Ernst & Young CEO James S. Turley, have been cited by major news sources as leading the inside effort. Mr. Stephenson might want to acquaint himself with AT&T’s policy regarding undue corporate influence. The company’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Anti-Bribery Compliance Policy says that “An AT&T employee or supplier acting on AT&T’s behalf may not, with respect to a non-U.S. government official make charitable contributions with the intent to improperly influence any act or decision.”
In addition, AT&T’s Code of Ethics requires company officials and employees to “deter wrongdoing,” not facilitate it.
Greg Quinlan, a former homosexual himself and the president of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (disclosure: I am on PFOX’s board), in an open letter to Boy Scout board members, writes:
“It seems that one or more of your major corporate donors is pressuring you, and others are bullying you, to change the Boy Scout policy to admit homosexuals. Please do without some corporate funding if you must, cut your budget and protect the children in your care. Money with dangerous conditions attached is not a donation — it’s a bribe.”
My advice to the Scout board echoes that of Mr. Quinlan: Do without the money from people who don’t really share your values. As Jesus said, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26)
The Scout oath requires boys (and leaders) to be “morally straight.” Putting openly homosexual men and boys into Scout troops would be a direct violation of that oath. The Scout leadership needs to man up and ignore corporate pressure from within and cultural pressure from without.
They also need to hear an earful from Scout leaders, former Scouts and parents around the country who will not let a betrayal of this magnitude happen on their watch.
Robert Knight is an Eagle Scout and senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union, which has filed friend of the court briefs in all major First Amendment cases involving the Boy Scouts.