Monday, June 03, 2013

My Thoughts on Boy Scouts Recent Membership Changes

Please Note: I have sat on this for over a week it has been thru several revisions and I feel it best communicates my thoughts, feelings and future actions on this subject.  I did not write this with a light heart but it is the product of much thought, reflection and prayer.  I would remind everyone the the Boy Scout Law asks us to be friendly, courteous and kind more importantly the LORD asks us to act out of self-control and love.

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With the Boy Scouts of America changing its membership policy to allow openly gay children and teens to be members I felt it was time for me to express my thoughts on this subject. (Boy Scouts of America Statement)

My position is complicated and not black and white.

First I feel that Boy Scouts is for the boys.  In a Boy Scout troop the boys are the ones who should be learning, growing, leading and planning the activities of the troop.  In a Cub Scout pack the adults should be planning activities that are fun, challenging and interesting for the boys.  As adults we should not be reliving past triumphs through our boys.  As adults we should not be trying to complete unfinished childhood dreams through our boys.  As adults we should not push our political agendas through our boys.  The program is centered around the boys not the adults.

Second, churches may charter Cub Scout Packs and Boy Scout Troops but the Boy Scouts of America is not a religious institution.  Boy Scouts of America supports the need for faith in a boys life but it does not specify the faith a boy is to have.  BSA leaves religious training and discipleship to the families and religious organizations.  BSA supports the importance of faith and religion in the lives of boys and young men but is not one of the primary teachers/instructors of religious beliefs or behaviors.

Third, sexuality is complicated.  A boy can expresses his masculinity in a number of healthy and unhealthy ways.  Our culture has corrupted these expressions and sexualized them.  The LORD’s plan for sex is not complicated.  It is clear from the beginning that sex is to between a woman and her husband.  Sexual activity outside of this covenant relationship is outside of the LORD’s plan and a sin.  This includes heterosexual and homosexual activity.  (For more on my thoughts on sexuality look in my archives)

Forth, I feel a the change was a good compromise.  As I said earlier Cub/Boy Scouts is for the boys.  Every boy who wants to be a scout should have the opportunity to be a scout.

Finally on a personal level, I do not plan on leaving Cub/Boy Scouts nor do I plan on pulling my boys out of scouting.  It is an extracurricular activity my boys enjoy.  Just like swim team it is an area where they can learn new skills and succeed.  I have told both my boys that I will support them and help them go as far as they want.  I will be proud of them no matter how far they go in scouting.  However, I have had to rethink my own roll in scouting.  About 2 years ago I submitted an application to be a chaplain this Summer at the Jamboree.  After much prayer and thought I came to the conclusion that I could not in good conscience represent BSA as a religious leader.  I withdrew my application.  I could not balance my roll as a full-time youth minister and a chaplain.  I can still volunteer in many ways to help either the Cub Scout Pack or Boy Scout Troop just as I do at the kids schools or for swim team.

It is clear that the BSA leadership was not able to handle this in a way they wanted.  It is clear that it will take a few years for the dust to settle.  Some will leave scouting and start their own groups.  Others who stayed away from scouting may join.

Whether this change will strengthen or weaken Boy Scouts is still to be seen.

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