From the desk of  ...  Preston H. Hazzard, Sr.  ... My Daily Blog    


Politically Direct
Scouting is for Honor, Not Sex and Politics
Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 8:00am

PREFACE: I joined Cub Scouts when I was 8 years old. I earned ranks of Bobcat, Wolf, Bear, Lion and Webelo Scout, earning the Arrow of Light. I loved being a Cub Scout and then a Boy Scout.

Starting in 1983, I served as an adult Scout Leader for 14 years (Serving as a Den Leader, Cubmaster, Merit Badge Counselor, Scoutmaster, Asst. Round table Commissioner, Unit Commissioner, District Award of Merit Recipient, WoodBadger and WB Staffer).

My son, Pete Jr. is an Eagle Scout. My Grandson John has already earned his Arrow of Light as a Cub, and transitioned to a Boy Scout Troop.  That's three generations of Scouting

I hope and pray it is still around for the next one. - phh


An adaption of the article by John Stemberger ...

"The Boy Scouts are one of the great jewels of American culture. The success of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is a result in no small part of the organization’s commitment to a set of ideas and principles that have guided the program for more than 100 years. Until recently, the BSA was unwavering in its conviction that these values and principles were “timeless.”

But now those values are under attack. The Boy Scouts are the victims of an aggressive, well-funded and relentless campaign to inject sex and politics into Scouting. Homosexual-rights activists have aggressively pushed a handful of top BSA leaders to consider changing its long-standing policy of not allowing open homosexuality in the Boy Scouts. On Friday, the Boy Scouts offered a resolution that caves to that outside pressure and could pass when the national council votes on it in May.

Virtually every news story on this topic erroneously frames this issue as the Boy Scouts “bans gays” or “discriminates against gays.” This is simply not true. Contrary to what the media might report, the Boy Scouts do not discriminate against homosexuals. The BSA membership application does not even ask about sexual orientation.

To make matters worse, there is a deliberate campaign of misinformation about who the Boy Scouts of America are and what they stand for. The media has been complicit, throwing around cries of “discrimination” and “equal rights” following the lead of these activists.

The great irony of this is that, while on one hand, the national media claims Scouting bans homosexuals, on the other hand, they have been consistently showcasing homosexuals Scouts and leaders in uniform who have been in the program for many years, all who are claiming with a straight face that somehow the Boy Scouts do not allow them.

The fact is that veterans of Scouting will tell you there are currently Scouts and adult leaders in uniform who have same-sex attractions and who are in good standing with the program. They are discreet, though; they are private, they are discerning, and most of all, they conduct themselves appropriately in front of other young boys. Further, there has never been a witch hunt in the BSA to find or remove its members with a same-sex attraction.

So if homosexuals are already allowed in Scouting, then what is the national controversy about?

The real issue is this: Homosexual-rights activists are not satisfied with membership in good standing and being allowed to fully participate like everyone else. They want to be able to openly promote homosexuality. They want to promote a gay-rights political agenda. They want to act out publicly and be “loud and proud.” They want to inappropriately inject sex and politics into the BSA program, where children as young as six years old are involved. Not on this dad’s watch. This behavior and open homosexual conduct is exactly what the current BSA policy prohibits, a prohibition that we as parents demand that the program reaffirm if it wants our continued support.

There is nothing stopping those who do not like Scouting’s stable and time-tested membership policies from creating their own organization without changing ours.

Changing the BSA membership policy is completely unnecessary. It solves no old problem and will only create myriad new problems for the organization, including upending parental control over the issues of sex and politics, forcing political agendas on young children, and transforming the Boy Scouts into yet another battleground for the homosexual agenda.

In February, BSA National Council leaders instructed committees to “listen to perspectives and concerns” in the Scouting community before a vote on May 22 and 23, which will determine whether to make a change to the existing policy.

Hearing that BSA leaders say they are in a listening mode, concerned parents, Scout leaders, Scouting donors and Eagle Scouts from across the country have joined the OnMyHonor.Net national coalition to say to the voting delegates of the national council sex and politics have no place in Scouting. When it comes to young boys, parents should have the final say, not agenda-driven activists.

Former U.S. Rep. Richard T. Schulze, Pennsylvania Republican, a recipient of the rare Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, recently commented, “What kind of a message are we sending to our young people if the very leaders who are teaching Boy Scouts to be brave cannot even find the courage to stand firm and avoid caving in to peer pressure from Hollywood and political activists?”

I could not agree more.

We implore the delegates to the National BSA Convention to affirm Scouting’s current membership policy along with the principles of the hard-fought and won 2000 U.S. Supreme Court case of BSA vs. Dale, which protects Scouting from further legal attacks and sets the program back on the firm foundation of principle for the future."


Note: The article above has been adapted from an article written by John Stemberger, an Eagle Scout and president of On My Honor OnMyHonor.Net , the official coalition of concerned parents, Scout Leaders, Scouting Donors, Eagle Scouts and others affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America who are united in their support of Scouting’s timeless values and their opposition to open homosexuality in the Scouts.


Impact of Open Homosexuality in Scouting

CONSIDER THESE POINTS

  1. The Boy Scouts have been one of the most successful organizations in America for more than 100 years. Countless boys and young men have had their lives changed by their participation in Scouting. Why is there a sudden need to coerce the Scouts into changing their existing policy, which has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court? 

  2. The stated mission and message of the Boy Scouts is clear, and changing their policies to appease one group will only encourage other interest groups to demand that the Scouts make more changes to please them. For example, an atheist organization is calling for the removal of “God” from the BSA oath.

  3. A change in policy would mean that young boys will be forced to consider issues of sexuality that have nothing to do with Scouting and which are the exclusive right of parents to discuss with them.

  4. The pressure to change the policy for the most part comes from outside the Boy Scouts, who only last year completed a two-year study in which Scout parents overwhelmingly said they wanted to keep the present policy. The organization has a responsibility to its membership first and foremost.

  5. Why should the Boy Scouts become a laboratory for social experimentation or a forum for scoring political points with pressure groups?

  6. Given the well-documented, socially and medically destructive effects of homosexual behavior on individuals, families and communities, compassion and prudence should lead us to discourage any cultural promotion of homosexuality as a moral and normal activity. Media reports indicate that homosexual experimentation among high schoolers has increased considerably in recent years as schools have presented homosexual activity as normal, desirable and even "cool." Sexually vulnerable young people are being steered onto a behavioral path that they and their families will sorely regret and which will even cost some of them their lives at an early age.

  7. An honest look at the evidence of 70 years of psychology, therapeutic research, the history of the entire human race, and the moral codes of all the great civilizations tells us that homosexuality is not only universally discouraged as learned behavior but can also be temporary, controlled, or even changed.

  8. Compassion -- not bigotry - must impel us to support healing for homosexuals who want to change their orientation. Homosexual behavior, like other destructive vices, can be learned -- and unlearned. Under no circumstances should it be promoted, and by no means should we be forced to be "tolerant" of another person's choice that undermines traditional values and families.

  9. If there really is a demand for a boys’ organization that includes homosexuals, it should have no trouble thriving. Is it fair to ask the Scouts to surrender their values to the homosexual agenda? There is nothing stopping those who do not like Scouting’s stable and time-tested membership policies from creating their own organization without changing ours.

  10. There is little doubt that the Scouts will lose significant membership if they change the policy. And many faith-based organizations, because of their religious convictions, will drop their sponsorship of Scouts. A mass exodus of parents, boys, troops, denominations and sponsoring organizations. Just as Canadian scouts saw a 50% drop over five years as a result of this same policy change in 1998, those involved in Boy Scouts of America will leave in historic and unparalleled numbers because of a loss confidence in the uniformity and consistency of Scouting values.

  11. Any of the proposed new policies ... (e.g. 1. "leave it up to the chartered organization, or 2. "allow gay scouts but not gay adults") ... will transform the program into a risky proposition for parents inappropriately introducing and exposing children to open homosexuality further contributing to their hyper-sexualization.  This behavior and open homosexual conduct is exactly what the current BSA policy prohibits, a prohibition that we as parents demand that the program reaffirm if it wants our continued support.  It is simply insufficient for BSA to adopt such a policy and leave the decision to local councils and troops. It will expose both BSA and local troops that choose to adhere to the old policy to substantial litigation—litigation that they cannot afford and that they risk losing.

  12. A flood of litigation by gay activist groups against the BSA, as the BSA would forever step outside the protection provided by its win in the U.S. Supreme Court in Dale. Unlike the consistent policy on homosexuality the BSA had in the very close win (5-4) in Dale, this new policy would instead express the opposite belief that open homosexual conduct is entirely consistent with Scouting’s code. Federal Courts would have no basis to uphold the part of the new policy that still doesn’t allow adult leaders who openly engage in homosexual behavior. Every Scouting unit in the nation could be sued under the anti-discrimination laws of the city or state where its located. While the BSA might win some lawsuits, it would lose many others, at the cost of many millions of dollars. Only the attorneys win, as the BSA is drug through the mud, only to be severely crippled or destroyed.


Conclusion:

  1. Organizations that strive to maintain a consistency of their message by limiting the membership and participation of certain individuals in the organization typically have their First Amendment free association rights affirmed.  Consistency is key.

  2. Now is not the time for BSA to waver in its adherence to its first principles.

  3. Changing the BSA membership policy is completely unnecessary. It solves no old problem and will only create myriad new problems for the organization, including upending parental control over the issues of sex and politics, forcing political agendas on young children, and transforming the Boy Scouts into yet another battleground for the homosexual agenda.

  4. According to the Alliance Defending Freedom Report, there are critical legal consequences of giving in to the demands of activist groups who seek to tear down any organization that does not compromise and submit to their agenda.

    1. Action Item #1: BSA should immediately issue a public statement reaffirming its long-held position that it does not “grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.” Because of the recent internal organizational discussions about changing this policy, it is necessary for BSA to publicly affirm the policy so that no question can be raised challenging its consistent adherence to this position.

    2. Action Item #2: BSA should take immediate steps to to disassociate itself or revoke the charters of any councils and/or troops that are in open defiance of BSA’s policy. The presence of these groups within the organization does not automatically mean that BSA may no longer maintain its policy. But if BSA is aware of these groups and intentionally continues to associate with them and their openly homosexual members, a court could conclude that their presence does not interfere with BSA’s First Amendment rights. This would remove any argument that the values for which BSA has so long fought are somehow now unimportant to what being a Scout means.

    3. Action Item #3: BSA should take a bold stance for the good and noble values it has long taught to the boys and young men who have been shaped and molded by BSA throughout the years. Many opponents try to paint BSA with the brush of bigotry, as if its only purpose is to hurt gay youth. But quite to the contrary, the concepts of being morally straight and clean are the values that build societies that reflect what Boy Scouts are individually. Those who oppose our values today espouse theories of sexuality where sexual identity is infinitely variable, gender expression is wholly subjective and disconnected from biology, and biology itself is deemed irrelevant. This is a poor substitute for the values espoused by the BSA since its founding in 1910.

  5. BSA is in a unique position. Its brave stand for the right of private associations to adhere to moral values set a national precedent that has protected not only BSA and its members, but countless other organizations that also require members to affirm and abide by their morals and values. We are well aware of the growing tide of voices calling for BSA to abandon its principles. But now is not the time to trade Baden Powell’s moral principles for the current agenda of those on the left.

  6. Standing firm requires bravery ... the type of courage that has epitomized BSA and its members for over a hundred years. It is a bravery noted by the Court in Dale, which said that “the fact that an idea may be embraced and advocated by increasing numbers of people is all the more reason to protect the First Amendment rights of those who wish to voice a different view.”


P.S

You might also be interested in these previous Scouting related blog posts by me:

  1. Leave the Boy Scouts Timeless Values Alone - Posted 1/29/2013
  2. An Unprincipled Position - Posted 2/3/2013

The picture below was taken at the National Jamboree in 1989 at Fort AP Hill near Washington DC. I was Scoutmaster of the Longhorn Council Contingent Troop 1714

I am on the top row, far right.  Pete Jr. is sitting on the 1st row, far left


Scouting has been doing fine since 1910; Leave the Boy Scouts Timeless Values alone.


  "Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong."  1 Corinthians 16:13  

Call or email me if you have questions.

"Saint Pete", Sr.


Author & Webmaster: Preston H. Hazzard, Sr.
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