Pardon the Interruption

rightwrongIt is early Saturday morning and instead of firing up the alcohol stove, rigging up some hammock stuff, or prepping for a gear review, I am adding to a response post that I have been working on for two days.  So pardon the interruption, but I need to do this and then move on.
It is very well known if you have spent more than a day or two on this blog, in my troop, and within my group of friends, my opinion on the non discrimination policy.  A policy that now allows the Boy Scouts of America to do the right thing and make our program available to ALL young men.  I have taken a lot of heat for my stance.. a stance by the way which remains simply… I DON’T CARE.  Nothing in the BSA is going to change other than we are opening our doors to those young men that are not currently made welcome.
I received a lengthy email on Wednesday that essentially called me immoral and instructed me on the ways in which I would find myself in hell.  I am not going to share all the details of the email, I am sure that this “Follower of Christ” would be ashamed at himself if he saw his email on the internet, although he is more than likely no longer following the blog.  Dang, lost one.
What I find remarkable in all of this is the fact that this has drawn so much anxiety.  Again if you are interested in my position or where I stand, read the blog.  I am not going to rehash all of this over and over and this will… I promise be the last I blog about it.  There are more important issues to address than this.
What I want to address here.. after many hits of the edit button.. is this issue of morality.  Folks, you have no idea how much this post has changed since Wednesday.  But the more I thought about it, prayed about it, and re read it over and over, the more I thought this is a perfect example of being Scout like.. even Christ like or follower of Christ.. which by the way is where we get the word “Christian”.
I digress.
Central to the faith is this idea of morality.  The common definition of which is this:  The quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct. (Websters) Religious Morality expands the definition by adding that system in which we learn  how to live within those rules that govern moral thinking or morality.  So does Scouting to a certain degree in that we make a promise to live by a certain set of rules or code.  The Scout Oath and Law.
The Oath and Law were not derived from the Church rather, they came from a need to teach young men how to live a certain way stemming from a sense of honor and chivalry.  Most people familiar with the Scouting movement understand that while Baden Powell felt a strong belief that religion plays a major role in the upbringing of a young man, Scouting was not a substitute for the Church, nor was it an extension of it.  And while Churches have played a major role, especially here in the United States (not as much in other countries), Scouting is not Church.
So whats that got to do with morality?  It is the Boy Scouts of Americas position that morality, reinforced by the code that we live in Scouting is taught at home and in the Church.  When we pledge to be morality straight, we are pledging that we will live “in accord with standards of right or good conduct”.  Now where does that come from?  Is it through the Church that we only know what is right or wrong?  Long before I could understand what the Church was teaching me I understood the difference between right and wrong.  It was through more growth and understanding that I learned why certain things were right or wrong.
Living the Scout law directs the person to do what is right.  But the twelve points of the Scout law are common sense.  One really does not need further explanation as to why it is important to be Trustworthy or Kind.  They are just right and deep inside each of us we know that.  To be clean with our thoughts, words, and deeds are just right.  I don’t need the Church to tell me that.  It’s just right.
Reverent.  What does the Scout law say about that?  A Scout is reverent toward God.  He is faithful in his religious duties.  He respects the beliefs of others.  That is all that the BSA says about it.
When it comes to the part of the Scout Oath when we make our promise to be morality straight it says;  Being morally straight means to live your life with honesty, to be clean in your speech and actions, and to be a person of strong character.  And since this has become a religion argument and not one that really speaks to real morality, what of Duty to God as outlined in the Scout Oath.  ” Your family and religious leaders teach you to know and serve God. By following these teachings, you do your duty to God.” from the Scout handbooks going back as far as I could find in my collection (1930’s).
I don’t know when the perception that Scouting was all about religion came in.  I don’t remember it playing a major role other than Grace before meals and Scouts Own services when I was a Scout.  I guess it has always played a part but it has never been the Main thing.
So what about this current non issue and why I’m heading straight to hell.
As a Scoutmaster I do not get to decide which Church is the right one.  I don’t get to not sign off a handbook because the Scout believes in one thing or another.  I don’t get to go to his living room and instruct his family on morality.  I am example of living right.  I am a Scoutmaster all the time, 24/7 and when I meet a Scout in our town they see an example of the Oath and Law.
I don’t need a Church to tell me to be friendly, courteous, or obedient.  I am a believer in Christ and know what I was taught in the Church.  To love my neighbor.  To do unto others as I would have done to me.   So why then would I discriminate based on orientation of anything.  That is up to them and their God.  I am not the judge and neither is my emailer friend.
I am not worried about law suits because boys are boys and in the context of Scouting they are by and large good.  They don’t care about this issue, just ask them.  It is the parents that are afraid that homosexuality will rub off on their son.  I don’t think it works that way.  But if it does than you better pull your son out of School, Sports, community events, and yep.. Church.  It’s not a vapor virus that will infect your son.
There is no place for the sexuality discussion in Scouting, gay or straight.  That has not changed and it won’t change.
Morality is where your heart is.  You learn it from your family and develop it through your church, school, friendships.  In Scouting we have our code of conduct.  That is and will not change.
I have said enough on this and as promised once I hit ‘publish’ I am done with it.  On January the 6th we held our first meeting of the year.  The first meeting that would allow for openly gay boys to join Scouting.  We did not get one new application that night.  hmmm.
If you must leave Scouting over this.  Sorry to see you go.  I would challenge you to think about how you treat people and what your Church is teaching in so far as who your neighbor is.  I really hope that I am not going to hell like this guy says I am.  I have already been to Iraq.. so I know what it’s like.  That and everyone here knows I enjoy Cold weather camping.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.”  Matthew 7: 1-2
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”  Colossians 3: 12-14.
And Finally,  from John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
And now I am finished with this subject.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Categories: blog, Character, Good Turn Daily, Leadership, Oath and Law, Scouting, Values | Tags: , | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “Pardon the Interruption

  1. A vEDSer

    “Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone” and none wisely did. End of story. It is not our place to act like we are a God and therefore not our place to judge.

  2. Gary Jaskowiak

    Bravo and very well stated, SM Jerry! It is too bad that you even have to comment on this.
    This program is about the youth. Helping those that are interested in the Scouting program participate in the Scouting program. Black and White! Most of the youth that you talk to about the non-discrimination policy, don’t care! They want to hike, camp, learn and be good people!
    Those that talk of moral issues need to address their own issues of fear (phobia).
    Keep doing what you are doing!

  3. ChesterScouter

    We have the same view of the relationship of scouting and religion. I guess you will need to save me a seat. One of the challenges of scouting in the Bible Belt is that people think scouts is an arm of the church. I am thankful for the support my church gives our pack and troop. But it is not the job of the troop to instruct our scouts in the tenants of the faith. It is the job of the church and the family. Our role is to help develop boys in a well rounded manner, and to help make young men who will grow into good citizens.

    I also agree with your view of The Issue. Sadly we have lost a couple of experienced scouters as a result of the vote last year.

    Look forward to your future gear videos.

  4. R.T. Ritter

    Central to this argument is your commitment to Christ if you are indeed a believer and the fact that BSA was a private Christian organization. Some days it is tougher than others to live a life in His image and it is easy to get sucked up into being “of this world” where every desire should be met at the expense of our belief-system. BSA took the path of least resistance which is indicative of our era and predominately our current polital environment. We now live in a world where everything goes, where offending one person is just cause to change the very foundation of an organization, where everyone deserves a trophy, where a fat kid can’t be put on a diet and where their parents can’t be held accountable, where kindergarteners are allowed to be considered gender-neutral and can pick the bathroom of their choice, where a half naked person dressed in goth and covered with tattoos is a viable option for a teaching position because this person is viewed as a role model because of the belief that people different from the norm are equally capable, where commercials can have colorful language during children’s cartoons because that’s how the real world really speaks, where disciplinary actions should be based on skin color and not the history of the child’s behaviors and decisions, etc.

    We as a culture are no longer able to have values and integrity that are Christ-like because this offends someone who is a rudderless ship, uncontrollably sinful and and has no problem vocalizing their distaste against limitations to their perversion. BSA was an organization that, at one time, stood on their Christian. Unfortunately, this is no longer BSA as they flatly caved in and decided to no longer be Christ-following organization. Now they are just an organization, and if people want to be Christ-like, that’s fine, and it is equally fine that others don’t subscribe.

    If you believe anything else, I encourage you to decide for yourself if you’re an actual follower of Christ and thereby willing to follow his rule book….or if you’re merely giving it lip service to serve as a crutch for your personal inability to stand up for the very beliefs you claim to hold. Either you walk the walk, or you’re kidding yourself. My comments shouldn’t be construed to say that those of us who actually believe in something don’t change our minds or even fall to temptation, but part of sin is knowing the difference.

    In more simple terms, why not just rip up the a constitution of the US? I mean what’s the point? Some very vocal people are against it. Why have laws, many of them are overly restrictive anyway. Why not allow little people to play in the NBA? Some are bound to be excellent athletes and we wouldn’t want to hurt their feelings. Why have prisons? Prisoners probably didn’t have a daddy that loved them enough, weren’t given a free college education by the federal government, weren’t offered the job of a CEO once they achieved their GED and reality tv put too much pressure on them to hold them accountable in our society. Employers should be forced to hire anyone regardless of their qualifications because not everyone was given a fair shake in life. People who violate every social norm should be given an ever bigger platform to not only keep doing it, but to recruit others. And a Satan statue in a City Hall, sure – why not!

    BSA was founded on Christian principals and should have continued to follow them. If someone wanted to start another organization to make room for (enter the latest and greatest squeaky wheel cause here), then by all means, go ahead, we are a free society. But to hijack an existing organization, despicable.

    C’mon man – get a realistic belief system and one that isn’t fundamentally flawed.

    • The BSA is not nor ever has been a “Private Christian Organization” There are members and always have been members of every religious faith group. So your argument is flawed from the get go.
      Which “World” do you live in? As far as I know I can not enter the “Kingdom of Heaven” till I leave this “World. Is it tough to live in society today, sure it is. What is not tough is living right and doing the right thing.
      Thanks for your comment.

  5. john

    I will not be leaving yet, but I will not give another dime to BSA or my time that I have given since Cub Scouts. There are others that will be baling as well. I have nothing against anyone, but I disagree with this decision. What happen to morally straight?

    • Ask yourself if this decision changed your morals? I am guessing the answer is no. Then don’t leave. If you are uncomfortable.. then leave. Sorry to see you go.
      In so far as giving… your call, no one gets hurt except the Scouts we serve. Again, your call.
      Have a Great Scouting Day.

  6. john

    BSA caved in to pressure and it was wrong and inconsistent with Scout values. You must support changing the Scout Promise, morally straight? Bottom line, hurt BSA, not much different than your writing.

    • And this is why we are done with this subject…my morals have not changed and I have a troop meeting to discuss with my tolerant SPL…
      Good day Sir

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