Should I stay or should I go? What I’m thinking about my involvement with the Boy Scouts of America.


Also Read: Philippians 1:1-30; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13

The other day I had the opportunity to sit down with a fellow believer who is involved in Boy Scouts as a leader. I also serve as an assistant Boy Scout leader. Since the passing of the newest capitulation to the gay lobby, the boy Scouts of America are now accepting openly gay scouts; but denying openly gay leaders access. This other leader asked me about my resolve to stay active in the Boy Scouts, because he was wrestling with the need to withdraw. I am hearing of Churches all over the country who once sponsored the scouts but are dropping their sponsorships and kicking the scouts out – should he, and should I follow suit? Is it right that I, and my son continue to take part in an organization that has, with the proverbial stroke of a pen, redefined what it means to be “morally straight”?

My friend asked, “Tom, In terms of Boy Scouts I am struggling with this and would love your perspective. On one hand, I am morally outraged at the activism that is seeking to tear down Christian values and insert themselves into institutions that have upheld those values. The Boy Scouts are the latest example, but also church denominations that ordain homosexual clergy. But as a parent of a Boy Scout and a leader in Scouts I find it hard to accept this change and stay in Scouts. Then as a Christian …I find myself wondering if I should be staying in Scouts as a witness.”

Brother, I feel your pain.

First of all, we know it will not stop there. Again my friend responded, “I don’t believe that the BSA will ever go back …I do believe this was a stop gap measure moving towards full inclusion of homosexuals. They just didn’t believe they could get the whole thing passed right now.” He was right. The genie can’t be put back in the bottle. Gays will soon influx the scouts. All that has been done is purchase a few years of peace before gay eagle scouts graduate the program and want to become leaders. Look for the institution to fail to prevent gay leaders at that point. We’re all aware at what is at stake, and what the goal is. The homosexual lobby wants nothing more than world domination. That is not an overstatement. My friend quickly agreed.

Retreat?

To be honest, I am tired of Christians retreating from problems. We have a lifesaving Gospel and we keep pulling out when we are needed the most. This is dangerous territory. I fear that much of the time, this escapism is fueled by the fear that being exposed to sinners is going to somehow taint us. Oh, I know that often times the fear is that we will be seen as endorsing such and such behavior. I suppose this must be weighed. The difference, as I see it, is the question “Am I endorsing the sin or combating it with Christ?”

I look back at Paul in prison and not being able to get out – so he did what came natural, he preached the gospel. There, certain soldiers among the Praetorian guard became Christians. Now to be certain these were men serving a godless empire devoted to worshiping the Caesar as a god. This is hardly the kind of company you want to keep. By all appearances, the soldiers stayed at their posts. The argument could be made that they were not free to retreat. But we must consider if, under the intentionality of gospel proclamation we are free to retreat.

I do not feel called to retreat, but to push forward with intentional gospel.

Separate?

Over in 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 I think we have a relevant passage to color our thinking. In this way we can learn to respond to similar situations through Biblical thinking rather than by responding to what is acceptable to some strata of culture – even if that stratum is fellow Christians who think we’re compromising with the world. (Read 1 Cor 5:9-13).

Take note of a couple of principles. First of all we are talking about separation from people who claim to be brothers in Christ – fellow Christians whose life does not match the claim. Those who remain unrepentant are to be distanced. So a church that seeks to ordain an openly homosexual clergy – quite frankly is seeking to blaspheme God by declaring that He has called that person to service despite their lack of repentance. That “pastor”, and that “church” ought to be shunned according to Paul. The Boy Scouts, like those denominations supporting homosexuality have one thing in common… They both long ago released their hold on the authority of scripture. Once Scripture is no longer our primary authority, its teaching is malleable to match our own desires.

But the Boy Scouts are not in the church. Nor do they claim to be a Christian organization. They have merely shared many Christian principles and morals over the years. That does not make them Christian any more than putting your chair in the garage makes you a car.

For years I’ve been hearing about the lesbian influence in the Girl scouts. Not only lesbianism but progressive feminism, open sexual mores, and pro-abortion stance are all a subterranean influence in the GS. My wife is a Girl Scout leader. I have had a church member or two question me on this. They believed it was unwise for my wife to play a part in the GS when they were obviously not a Christian organization.

Of course they are not. And the Boy scouts never were either mind you. They may have had Christian morals, but that was an accident of being formed by men with Christian morals, in a society still steeped in Christian morals. It’s no secret that the society in which we live has long ceased actually being Christian. I would argue that it never really was – but that the Christians were simply at one time the dominant cultural force shaping the moralistic attitudes and actions of others.

With a withdrawal of true Christian influence those organizations Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, like every other organization, group, and political player was able to function for a season on the Christian momentum that was once behind it. But the Holy Spirit as the power-train was long gone. It was only a matter of time before gravity and friction brought it to a grinding halt.

When my son joined the Cub scouts I was right there with him. The cubs require a parent for the first few years, and I was there. When my son graduated to the boy scouts he asked me to come to camp with him. I agreed but had to sign up to become an assistant leader in order to do that. I did. So I am an assistant Boy Scout leader.

Stay?

That brings us to today.

When my son asked me to sign up to go to camp with him, I was honestly a bit relieved. The Boy Scouts have a long standing policy that they will not (ever) permit one leader to be a lone with a boy. Two deep leadership is the mandate. This helps to protect the boys for real, and helps to protect the leaders from false accusations. It’s a win win. Still I was afraid to let him go under the guidance of adults that I know, but don’t know completely. Going with him meant that I could help protect him, and to a greater extent be the one that shapes his identity as a man.

In many ways – nothing has changed. Though in other ways it has. Before there was no real guarantee that a closet homosexual was not in the ranks. Now the closet is gone, that is all that has changed. But I am still there, guarding and protecting my son, teaching and instilling in him the values of Christ from the scriptures. I have the benefit of working with a head scoutmaster who is adamant in his faith, and in his morality.

In this sense it is easier for me and for my son than it is going to be for many other troops. But not forever. This brings you and I to a crossroad, as well as every other Christian who finds themselves in a non-Christian organization which is racing towards open paganism.

Contributing to Christian Drain

In times of massive political upheaval and unrest a phenomena often occurs in which the intelligentsia abandon their motherland for other shores. This became known as the "brain drain". It has happened repeatedly throughout history and it leaves the motherland foundering for “brains” when it needs them the most. Shall we contribute a greater "spiritual drain" on the Boy Scouts by abandoning the boys that are now more vulnerable than ever? I have thought long and hard about this.

I remain convinced for now that the Boy Scout program provides a good and positive influence. I also know that my son has good leadership in me (well I hope so anyway). I also know that I have a partner scoutmaster who shares Christ’s thinking on the sin of homosexuality. Here is the key: together we are resolved to teach these boys as best we may what is right and what is wrong. I intend to emphasize what it truly means to be morally straight. Even if that comes at a personal cost. If I pack up and leave the scouts, my son will come with me. That day may yet come. But not today.

The gay community has injected itself into the Boy Scouts just a little for today. There will be more tomorrow. We are now less than a generation away from total gay scout identity. Look for a rainbow merit badge to appear in the next 5 years – if it takes that long. I will neither support, assist nor take part in that.

But I have determined to go on the offensive. I will be doing my best to speak the gospel cure for sin in Christ into these boys lives. I will risk the lawsuit. I will risk the problems it will cause. I will risk it because I must. But I will not risk it in order to endorse morality. I will do it to point towards Christ. Moral people go to hell as fast as immoral people. Jesus Christ is the only one that can deliver homosexuals from their sin. And the only one that can deliver blasphemers, drug users, wife abusers, rapists, murderers, pedophiles, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching according to the blessed Gospel with which you and I have been entrusted. Only those who encounter the reality of their sin and who see the wrath of God at it and the satisfaction of His wrath in the blood of Christ escape that price.

To all of this my friend asked, "So, if this is not the line that would cause you to leave, what would be that line?"

Considering Acts 5:29, "We must obey God rather than men." here is my answer: The line that would force me or my son to compromise truth. The line that would force me to accept homosexuality as normative. The line that would cause me or my son to sin against God. All the gay lobby has done so far is ensure that I’ll be able to recognize the gay scouts and risk talking to them about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come. (Acts 24:25) If I fail to do that, I should leave anyway.

Not everyone agrees with me of course. Some will opt to leave the scouts out of Christian conviction. To which I say, OK. I do not believe everyone is supposed to stay and fight. But I believe I am. There are others who will question my involvement with the Scouts now."How can you call yourself a pastor (or a Christian) when you’re son is a boy scout?" The question hasn’t come yet, but it will. I’ve already thought about my answer.