DALLAS, TX, May 24, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Parents, scouting leaders and pastors are warning that yesterday’s vote to allow openly gay youth to join the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is likely only the beginning of a much more fundamental transformation of the scouting organization.
In a statement following the vote Jonathan Saenz, the president of Texas Values, the group behind the Save Our Scouts initiative, charged the BSA leadership with having “willingly opened the door to allow homosexual advocates to overrun an organization that stands for a code of morality that these intolerant advocates reject.”
“The BSA is a private organization, but it has chosen to place sex and politics above its timeless principles, and the BSA will ultimately fail because of this change,” he said. “We will next see aggressive attacks on any BSA units that dare to stand for God and religious liberty, as those that seek to change the BSA will not tolerate these current BSA principles, either.”
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, agreed.
“Boy Scout delegates capitulated to strong-arm tactics and abandoned the timeless values that have served the organization well for more than 100 years,” he said. “It is clear that the current BSA leadership will bend with the winds of popular culture, and the whims of liberal special interest groups. There is little doubt that God will soon be ushered out of scouting.”
The new policy was passed yesterday by 60 percent of the 1,400 delegates at the BSA’s annual convention in Dallas, Texas. While a ban against openly gay scout leaders remains in place, those who oppose the change say they don’t expect that surviving ban to remain in place for long.
Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, described yesterday as a “sad day” for Scouts.
“They have succumbed to political pressure and abandoned their historic roots in what will prove to be a failed attempt to appease gay activists and corporate donors,” he said. “Unfortunately, what they have done is said to the world that their oath no longer means much. Their decision to admit openly gay scouts will end up sexualizing the organization. I am certain that having changed their policy on homosexuality, it's only a matter of time before courts order them to admit homosexual scout leaders.”
Brown predicted that the new policy will lead to the short-term fragmentation, and long-term demise of BSA.
“Countless thousands of churches will very likely pull their sponsorship rather than endorse homosexuality, and the entire organization will begin to collapse,” he said. “All of this is happening, not because of a true grassroots demand of gay youth to be part of the organization, but by an orchestrated political effort by gay activists who want to punish any group or organization that does not embrace homosexuality.”
“It's the beginning of the end for what once was one of America's noblest organizations,” he said.
Rabbi Yehuda Levin, an Orthodox Jewish leader who often functions as a spokesman for the Rabbinical Alliance of America and the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the U.S. and Canada, said gay scout leaders aren't far down the road.
“Anyone who believes that this decision is a compromise, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you,” Levin told LifeSiteNews.com. The rabbi said that for the past half-century, homosexual activists have successfully sought incremental gains in pursuit of their ultimate goals. “It is really now a foregone conclusion that within several years there will be open homosexual scout leaders,” he said.
David Cortman, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), made a similar observation. “Those promoting the agenda to change what the Boy Scouts have always been won’t rest until there is complete acceptance of any sexual preference for both leaders and members,” he said. “With its decision today, BSA has rejected its freedom to promote and practice the values that have served to shape our nation’s boys into leaders for the last century.”
However, Rabbi Levin suggested that concerned scouting families and leaders may yet be able to take their lemons and turn them into lemonade. Yesterday’s vote, he said, “affords the opportunity for a schism, a positive schism. In other words, we can still see victory snatched from the jaws of this movement, this anti-God, anti-family movement, if a sizable percentage of the Boy Scouts now leave that organization, and form their own organization.”
“This would be a positive thing,” he said.
Such an idea isn’t unprecedented. The Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal denomination that has already started its own scouting group called Royal Rangers, said that while it agrees with BSA that “we need to demonstrate compassion and welcome those who are struggling with sexuality issues,” this should not be done “in a way that condones such behavior, which is what the new BSA policy does.”
The denomination said it expects that there will be a “mass exodus” away from the scouting organization, and offered the Royal Rangers as one possible alternative.
Other denominations such as the Seventh-Day Adventists (Pathfinders) and the Southern Baptists (Royal Ambassadors) also have their own scouting organizations.
However, there are also rumblings that a broader effort to present a values-based alternative to the Boy Scouts is already in the works. John Stemberger – the founder of OnMyHonor.Net, a coalition of parents, scoutmasters, Eagle Scouts, and other scouting leaders who opposed the new policy – announced yesterday that he and other leaders have already resolved to create a new character development organization for boys.
A meeting to kickstart the new organization has been scheduled for next month in Louisville.
“We grieve today, not because we are faced with leaving scouting, but because the Boy Scouts of America has left us,” said Stemberger. “Its leadership has turned its back on 103 years of abiding by a mission to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices. ”
“Instead, it is embarking on a pathway of social experimentation that we believe will place at risk the very youth the organization is entrusted to serve, while rendering as hollow the tenets of the Scout Oath,” he said. “Many of us find that unacceptable, and we have a desire to explore how we might serve families and young people at the highest standard originally intended by Scouting’s founder, Robert Baden-Powell.”