Albert Mohler

Morally straight? The transformation of the Boy Scouts of America

Albert Mohler
By Albert Mohler
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January 29, 2013 (AlbertMohler.com) - The comprehensive scope of the moral revolution America is currently experiencing is likely to surprise many Americans when they realize that the Boy Scouts are now swept up in the revolutionary tide.

Word came yesterday that the Boy Scouts of America is poised to change its policy preventing the participation of openly homosexual scouts and leaders. According to a spokesman for the Boy Scouts, the group may make the formal decision to end the policy as early as next week.

This announcement comes just six months after the B.S.A. board declared that it would not reconsider the policy. Deron Smith, B.S.A. national spokesman, said last July that a special committee established by the B.S.A. board had unanimously recommended keeping the policy. Smith said that the committee “came to the conclusion that this policy is absolutely the best policy for the Boy Scouts.”

Back in July, B.S.A. chief executive Bob Mazzuca told the press: “The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers and at the appropriate time and in the right setting.” He also said, “We fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society.”

Note carefully the language used by B.S.A. leadership just six months ago. The decision to maintain the policy barring openly homosexual members and leaders was “absolutely the best policy” and was supported by “the vast majority of the parents of the youth we serve.” The special committee had been unanimous in their recommendation to keep the policy.

Now, just six months later, the Boy Scouts are ready to announce a complete revocation of that policy. Deron Smith, the very same spokesman for the group, said yesterday that the new policy “would allow the religious, civic, or educational organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting to determine how to address the issue.”  He described the new policy with this rather stark language: “The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members, or parents. Under the proposed policy the B.S.A. would not require any chartered organization to act in ways inconsistent with that organization’s mission, principles, or religious beliefs.”

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What the B.S.A. is actually floating is a complete revocation of the national policy, but not an immediate reversal of the policy. The national policy prohibiting openly gay leaders and scouts will be rescinded, but no national policy including openly homosexual scouts or leaders will be put in place — at least not for now. Instead, the B.S.A. will offer what amounts to a local option. Each governing council and troop would come up with its own policy, in consultation with the more than 100,000 sponsoring bodies.

The Boy Scouts have been under mounting pressure. Even when the board announced no change in the policy last July, two prominent board members, Randall Stevenson, CEO of AT&T, and James Turley, CEO of Ernst & Young, openly called for the board to reconsider. Both lead companies considered friendly to gay rights and both were themselves under pressure from gay rights advocates.

In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Boy Scouts of America had a constitutional right to set its own membership standards. As recently as 2004 the group adopted a policy that stated: “Boy Scouts of America believes that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the obligations in the Scout Oath and Scout Law to be morally straight and clean in thought, word, and deed.”

The new policy announced yesterday is almost sure to please no one and to lead to disaster for the Scouts. Those pressing for a reversal of the national policy are not likely to be satisfied with a local option. They had demanded a national policy mandating the full inclusion of homosexuals throughout Scouting at every level.

On the other side, those who wanted the current policy to remain in place will now have to reconsider any relationship with the Boy Scouts. The scale of potential membership loss to the Boy Scouts of America is staggering. Conservative religious bodies sponsor the vast majority of Boy Scout units. Mormons lead with more than 37,000 units and 400,000 boys involved. United Methodists place second, with 11,000 units nationwide. The Roman Catholic Church sponsors more than 8,000 units. Add Southern Baptists and other evangelical groups to the mix and you can see the scope of the challenge the Boy Scouts will now face.

The Boy Scouts will soon face the same challenge seen in much of the United States military. The conservative segments of the population most opposed to the normalization of homosexuality are also the segments that have historically provided the vast majority of those who volunteer to serve in the military. The Boy Scouts of America is prepared to surrender to massive public pressure and to set itself against the majority of its own members. Remember that just six months ago the B.S.A. chief executive said that the current policy was supported by “the vast majority of the parents of the youth we serve.”

Those parents and sponsoring organizations, including thousands of churches, were no match for the political clout of the gay rights movement. This should serve as a sobering indication of the cultural momentum behind the current moral revolution — the reversal in one generation of a moral consensus that had endured for thousands of years.

The new local option policy cannot stand for long. No organization can endure a moral option on an issue of such consequence for long. Sooner than later, a national policy requiring the full inclusion of homosexuals at every level will be put in place. Those demanding such a policy will continue their demands, while those opposed are likely to retreat from Scouting altogether. You can count on an exodus by churches and many sponsoring bodies. Furthermore, the same pressures now brought against the Boy Scouts at the national level will simply be shifted to local units.

Perhaps the most sobering aspect of this sad development is the fact that speaking of sexuality in moral terms is already so culturally awkward. Less than a decade ago the Boy Scouts of America declared that homosexual conduct “is inconsistent with the obligations in the Scout Oath and Scout Law to be morally straight and clean in thought, word, and deed.” Now, the group intends to have no policy at all, and never, “under any circumstances,” dictate a position on the issue.

This is a carefully calculated effort to avoid public disaster in a time of moral revolution, but it will not work. It looks like what it is — an evasion rather than a policy.

The Scout Oath reads: “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.” As recently as 2004 the Boy Scouts of America declared homosexual conduct to be “inconsistent” with that oath. Now, all that is to be swept away.

Faithful Christians are left in the excruciatingly difficult position of maintaining fidelity to moral judgments revealed in the Bible while the culture around us races in the opposite direction. While the Boy Scouts use language like “morally straight,” the church uses its own language of sin, grace, and obedience.

I write as a former Boy Scout, who retains great love and admiration for Scouting and all that it has meant to generations of boys. This new policy will transform the culture of the Boy Scouts. This is exactly what those who demand the policy change are expecting. As the announcement made clear, this is no small alteration or adjustment.

The new policy to be adopted by the Boy Scouts of America represents a revolution in what that esteemed organization understands “morally straight” to mean. We should not let that pass without taking notice of what that revolution will eventually bring about — nothing less than a reversal of what morality is understood to demand.

Reprinted with permission from AlbertMohler.com.

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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

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Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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