It 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”.
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!