Jane Chastain is a Southern California-based broadcaster, author and political commentator. Despite her present emphasis on politics, Jane always will be remembered as the nation's first female TV sportscaster, spending 17 years on the sports beat. Jane blogs at JaneChastain.com. She is a pilot who lives on a private runway.More ↓Less ↑
For more than a century, the term “Boy Scout” has been a synonym for a person of character, someone with high moral values, who respects the law, serves his country and has a reverence for God.
In the last couple of decades, the organization that has trained more that 110 million American males to become productive citizens, responsible fathers and respected leaders has been under attack for holding true to the standards in its founding principles.
After prevailing in a plethora of lawsuits brought by feminists, atheists and homosexuals challenging its membership criteria, it is sad, indeed, that the organization now has signaled that its values may be negotiable.
The Boy Scouts of America’s Scouting programs are open to all boys age 7-18 who agree to follow the Scout Oath, which includes duty to God and country, and who pledge to keep themselves “physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.”
Since all major religions condemn homosexuality in the strongest terms and teach that the only appropriate sexual relationship is that which exists between and man and woman in the bonds of marriage, those who say they cannot abide by this restriction have, quite naturally, been excluded. The Supreme Court has upheld the Boy Scouts’ right, as a private organization, to do this.
Last July, the organization announced that, in response to a petition to reconsider its policy on homosexuality, it had carefully examined this question and released the following statement:
“Scouting believes that good people can personally disagree on this topic and still work together to achieve the life-changing benefits to youth through Scouting. While not all Board members may personally agree with this policy, and may choose a different direction for their own organizations, BSA leadership agrees this is the best policy for the organization and supports it for the BSA.”
Just six short months later, out of the blue, the organization announced it would take up the matter again and would announce the results at its National Executive Board meeting in February. A large outcry ensued from parents, former Scouts and churches that serve as chartering organizations. Nevertheless, the board did not end the matter. It simply put off the decision until its much larger annual meeting in May.
What message does this send to the the 2.7 million youth presently enrolled in Scouting?
The message given to these young people is that God’s standards, which are unchangeable, must now be subject to man’s standards, which are subject to to whim and public opinion. Perhaps even more important to some, the Boy Scouts can be bought!
Homosexual activists are relentless in their effort to win total acceptance of their chosen lifestyle. While one cannot blame them for trying to win popular support, their tactics should be condemned in the strongest terms. Since they cannot win with science, they have used fear, name-calling and intimidation. This has to stop!
Their present campaign consists of harassing large corporate donors of the Boy Scouts and accusing them of unjust discrimination.
As a result, many companies like CVS Pharmacy, Levi Strauss and UPS have caved in to the pressure and pulled their support as well as individuals like Steven Spielberg. What a shame!
It appears the Boy Scouts are now trying to have it both ways. It may end the national prohibition but allow local councils and charting organizations to make their own policy. Another big mistake! The Bible says, “If the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who will follow?”
It is no secret that Scouting is not as popular as it once was. However, it is not because of its membership restrictions. There are many more activities for our young people and many more demands on their time.
While sports participation always has been an important activity for boys, today it has become much more competitive. One simply cannot attend practice sessions. A boy must train year-round and attend sports camps if he hopes to make “the team.”
Many parents push their boys to participate in team sports when their children would be much better off in a well-rounded Scouting program that teaches skills that can used for the rest of their lives.
I am grateful to the Boy Scouts for preparing my Eagle Scout husband to be a man of principle, a man who is able to meet life’s challenges head-on, a man I greatly admire.
Hopefully, with enough letters of encouragement and gifts of support, the Boy Scouts can be persuaded to remain steadfast and hold to those principles that have produced great men of character.