On my honor I will do my best
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. (The Scout Oath)
Like many men of my generation, experience with the Boy Scouts was part of my upbringing. According to reports, the people now entrusted with supervising the Boy Scouts of America may imminently abandon the organization’s commitment to true Christian morals, allowing homosexuals into the ranks and leadership of its troops, as the Girl Scouts did years ago. Given the parlous state of God-revering self-confidence in Christian America these days, I hesitate to predict what the response will be from the churches that constitute much of the infrastructure of the Boy Scouts in material and human terms. There is no doubt what it ought to be. All Christian churches should immediately and spontaneously withdraw from their cooperation with the BSA’s corporate entity which would, from that point on, be usurping the name and reputation of the Scouting movement. The thunderous impression of their withdrawal would alert and warn all believers of the pitfall any association with the usurpers must henceforward entail.
The Scripture is clear on this point:
“… your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, ‘The two will become one flesh.’ But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality.” (Corinthians 6:15-18)
Under civil law corporations exist, as the term implies (from Latin, corpus, meaning body) by analogy with the individual body. They are legal constructs made up so that the law can treat a number of people, acting for a common purpose, and with a common will and spirit, as an individual person. In this respect, participation in such a legal corporate entity involves a self-conscious commitment of will and spirit, even more immediately obvious than the fleshly union of bodily individuals the Scripture describes.
In the flesh, the bodily motive of strong physical passion may impair self-conscious will, so that all may say what the Apostle says of himself, “I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15) But Christian churches (corporate persons) who participate in the activities of a legal corporate entity that rejects the standard of God do not have this excuse. By deliberate decision of their will they join themselves to others, professing to act with them in a common spirit and for a common purpose. As long as the BSA’s standard of right action corresponds to God’s standard, people who profess to be one in spirit with Christ can join themselves to the BSA’s corporate entity which implements, under the law, their common will. But if the trustees of that entity commit the corporate body to a path that departs from God’s way, Christians who continue to make themselves part of it cease to be one in spirit with Christ, the truth of whose will wholly consists in His perfect communion with God, and who therefore walks the straight path of God’s will though it leads, by way of the flesh, through torture unto ignominious death.
The simple words of the Scout Oath were meant to encourage boys in the habit of walking this straight path; hence the endeavor to be “morally straight.” But the oath first of all made it clear that the Scout looked first of all to God as the standard of moral rectitude. Try as they might, the present-day trustees of the Scouting movement will never fit the square peg of God’s standard into the round hole of homosexual sin. Moreover, though they begin by admitting practicing homosexuals into the ranks, they must end in acknowledging homosexual activity as morally correct, else they will involve the whole movement in the perjurious administration of an oath openly violated in practice. For in that moral sense, it is not possible to be gay and morally straight at the same time. Thus what the present trustees of the BSA reportedly may do involves rejecting God’s standard for male sexual behavior. And it involves doing so in a way that willfully abandons the straight path blazed by the footsteps of Christ.
No doubt Christ came for sinners. Except by His ministry, such are we all. But Christ lives to glorify God, and thus to reveal and rebuke the nature of sin in light of God’s will. Doing so, he calls sinners to repentance. Therefore, though we are imperfect by nature, we are, by our participation and empowerment in Christ, called to respect God’s standard of perfection. We are not called to lower that standard in cowardly obeisance to some standard made and lifted up by human power and opinion. That is idolatry. Better to be crushed every day by the humbling condemnation God’s standard brings against our sins, crying out like the Publican for God’s mercy; than equivocally to live at false peace with the world’s opinion, but dead to our true selves in Jesus Christ. For though every day we fail, and as sinners must cry out to God for mercy likewise every day, through Christ, God will receive our prayers; so long as we look to His standard, humbly admitting our sins and suffering ourselves to be judged by Him.
By accepting a humanly fabricated redefinition of the moral standard, the BSA will fall prey to the inevitable logic of such idolatry. “Their idols are … the work of human hands … those who make them become like unto them; so do all who trust in them.” (Psalm 115:8) It will speedily become evident that what masquerades as tolerance is actually indoctrination, seeking to mold boys according to the standard the BSA trustees will have raised above God’s standard. For if homosexual activity is morally acceptable as an expression of love and good fellowship, then those who express their love accordingly do what is right.
But the aim of Scouting is to encourage young men to do what is right in various ways. Therefore, once the moral prejudice against homosexuality is regarded as a violation of right, doing things that habitually assault and break down this prejudice becomes part of “moral training.” Just as, on many campuses now, refusal to experiment with homosexuality is frowned upon as a sign of bigotry, so henceforth in Scouting braking down this prejudice would be recognized as a meritorious activity. Though camouflaged in different words there will be a merit badge for this experimentation as part of the regime of homosexual indoctrination. God knows what that will lead to; and given now widely publicized possibilities, so should the BSA Inc.