By Ken Hutcherson and James Hansen
It seems the Boy Scouts of America are going to be issuing a new merit badge for tolerance this year. Last week the leadership of BSA decided that they were going to open their tents to young Scouts who are practicing homosexuals. Well, that sounds like a really good idea that will have absolutely no potential consequences whatsoever.
Scout's honor … BSA finally caved to the vocal minority within their ranks who want to further this agenda while simultaneously ignoring the vast majority of participants' values, morality and religious convictions. Isn't this exactly what our country needs? Another institution founded, funded and franchised by people of Christian conviction bullied into submission by those outside the mainstream? Watch out, Girl Scouts. Next year you might have to sell cookies dressed in drag.
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Parents: Imagine your son is 12 years old. He enjoys the outdoors and loves Scouting. Would you have reservations about him sharing a tent with a young girl his age if they were gone for the weekend? Come on, don't be such a buzz-kill. What's the worst that could happen? Are you afraid that they might go on a different kind of scouting trip?
Now imagine sending your son on a camping weekend where he shares a tent with the president of a junior-high LGBTQ club. The homosexual youth has already declared his intentions. Would you honestly want your child to be put in that compromising of a position where his tent-mate has announced he is attracted to people of the same sex? Well, if you wouldn't allow the first scenario to take place, how, in good conscience, could you permit the second?
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Much of this raises the question of why sexual preference is even being discussed in this context. After all, "A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent." This isn't the place or the platform to even discuss sex, straight or sodomite. But the homosexual agenda marches on, and they have made this an issue that will force the American church to either shrug in frustrated compliance or stand with fierce courage. With 70 percent of BSA's membership coming from religious organizations and ministries, what will the church do about this? Will we reform from within, or will we lead a mass hiking trip to find a safer, cleaner campsite that fits with our core values?
The irony to these recent developments is that all Scouts still take an oath to be "morally straight." Perhaps this is too antiquated or ambiguous for modern sensibilities, but we're pretty sure the decision laid down last week by the leadership of BSA is going to complicate matters for those who take this oath seriously. Essentially, these children are being put into a round room and told to spit in the corner. It doesn't work. It's inconsistent. And sadly, it's another example of a good organization forgetting its heritage. What's worse is that BSA actually thought they had brokered the perfect deal: welcoming homosexual students while continuing the ban on openly homosexual Scout leaders. Fabulous. Now they've just reduced the age of those who can sexually proselytize. We wonder, though, will they still think it was a good idea when the litigation begins? Rest assured, there will be discrimination lawsuits against straight Scouts faster than you can rub two sticks together and start a fire.
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For believers, this world is not our home. But we should leave the campsite cleaner than when we found it. In a world that has lost common sense and common decency, it is the church that has the responsibility to speak with unity, clarity and sincerity. Pay attention, People of God. It was the Boy Scouts last week. Who will be next?
Note: James Hansen co-wrote this column. He is teaching pastor at Antioch Bible Church and academic dean of Imago Dei Institute.