"The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law." Mission statement of BSA.
On Thursday the Boy Scouts of America's (BSA) 1,400 voting members are set to decide whether to open their ranks to allow members who openly confess they are homosexual. If approved, the possibly exists the organization could turn into the country's largest sexual abstinence program. The concept is not absurd as it sounds.
Assuming the BSA allows homosexual members, the next issue they may need to consider is whether to ask the boys if they are sexually active. Naturally, this means they will also have to ask all members – straight or gay – if they are engaging in any type of sexual activity.
And just how would this work? Would they ask each scout to answer a questionnaire about their sexual activity? Would you simply ask them verbally? What questions would you ask and in whose presence? Is there a record of the scout's answer and can it be accessed? At what age do you ask these questions? According to Boy Scout rules, a boy can become a scout as early as age 10.
You may be getting the picture on how that could open up an entirely new set of challenges for the BSA.
In keeping with a scout's oath for their members to remain "morally straight," and the Boy Scout's increasingly strident application of child safety policies, would this mean the BSA could become the nation's largest group responsible for policing their members to maintain sexual abstinence regardless of being gay or straight?
In 2000 the United States Supreme Court ruled that the BSA was within its rights as a private organization to deny membership to anyone who does not adhere to their value system. Specifically, the court stated:
"The Boy Scouts asserts that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the values embodied in the Scout Oath and Law, particularly those represented by the terms "morally straight" and "clean," and that the organization does not want to promote homosexual conduct as a legitimate form of behavior. The Court gives deference to the Boy Scouts' assertions regarding the nature of its expression…"
If the BSA elects to allow gay scouts, does this mean the 100 plus year-old group, whose mantra is to train and develop a "moral" young men, is endorsing sexual activity outside of marriage among its as-young-as-10 year-old-members? If not, how will this be policed?
This is why such groups as the Southern Baptist Convention and groups committed to retaining the traditional scouting values. John Stemberger, who formed OnMyHonor.net, is one such group that will be protesting on Thursday outside of the BSA meeting in Grapevine, Texas.
A recent article in the Baptist Press noted that the Middle Tennessee Council of the Boys Scouts of America also voted to affirm Scouting's current national membership policy as "a core value of the Scout Oath and Law."
Other councils are set to follow suit.
Some may argue you can call yourself a homosexual or insist you have same-sex attraction without engaging in sexual activity, but with promiscuity increasing among teenagers, why would the same not hold true for so-called gay teens?
Is it progress to move past this legal protection of youths, i.e. maintaining strict moral standards, and take on the role of "sex police?"
On the other hand, if the BSA doesn't ask these questions, then one could argue they turn into an organization that not only accepts, but also encourages sexual activity among their young members.
Making the BSA become the nations largest organization promoting abstinence while allowing homosexual members is not only ridiculous but also opens a Pandora's box of unforeseen problems in the area of privacy and child safety. I'm not sure the BSA has fully considered what they will encounter if this policy change is implemented.
On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.