Sometime soon, maybe this week, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is expected to announce a reconsideration of its policy restricting active homosexual troop leaders and members. Not surprisingly, the pressure has been building: less than a year ago, BSA affirmed its long-standing policy after a two-year study. But some local chapters and national board members have demanded a reconsideration—notably, corporate CEO Randall Stephenson of AT&T and James Turley of Ernst & Young. In addition, UPS and Merck are withdrawing their sponsorship. The heat is on, and if BSA, in the time-honored tradition of President Barack Obama regarding same-sex “marriage,” announces it has “evolved” on this issue, it will be to no one’s surprise.
“This cautious plan is not exactly bold moral leadership,” sniffs the Washington Post. The cautious plan supposedly on the table would allow each of the 116,000-plus sponsoring organizations, whether school, church, or civic group, to determine its own policy about gay leaders and members. That, concedes the Post, “could be a positive step—but only one—toward promoting scouting’s values of honesty and inclusiveness” (emphasis added).
I hope the BSA is paying attention, because the editorial board of the Post just tipped its hand—and the hand of gay activists nationwide. Once that “positive step” wedges its nose under the pup tent, local troops who are not inclined to admit openly gay boys will have no protection whatsoever. Such a policy, writes legal scholar Ed Whelan, is “incoherent and unworkable.” On the one hand, it suggests that sponsoring organizations, particularly religious ones, have a legitimate interest in barring homosexual practice. On the other, it provides no legal or moral support, leaving the “anti-gays” open to harassment and lawsuits—and what local Rotary Club or First Baptist Church has the resources to combat that? Surrender to pressure will only create more pressure to surrender. When the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) comes gunning for Local Troop 7, Troop 7 is toast.
“The Girl Scouts, 4H Clubs and the US military are fully inclusive,” says GLAAD spokesman Rich Ferraro, implying that Boy Scouts need to get with the program. “Until then, there will be young people out there who are harmed by this.” No word yet about how BSA will be harmed, but we can guess. Many local sponsors will surrender preemptively, hundreds if not thousands of parents will pull their boys out, and scouting, in the traditional khaki-and-kerchief sense, will be a shell of what it formerly was.
Boy Scouts of America, on the hot seat for the last fifteen years or so, is a microcosm of post-Christian America: born and reared under a biblical standard which no longer applies, now reduced to a petri dish for social experimentation. I wish them well, but petri dishes are neither distinctive nor inspiring.