“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.”
For decades, young boys have recited that Boy Scout Oath as part of one of the most successful programs in American history. Yet the Boy Scouts of America in recent days has been called names like “bigoted,” “narrow” and “dangerous.”
Why? Because the private organization, after a two-year review of its policy that prohibits openly homosexual people from serving as Scout leaders, affirmed that long-held policy. That decision instantly drew the ire of so-called gay rights activities, pundits and certain celebrities.
What news sources are reluctant to tell us, however, is that the Scouts organization is not on a mission to actively root out homosexual members. They merely, for the protection of the boys in camping situations, do not allow openly homosexual people to serve. Since this is the signature and symbolic issue of our day, though, the Scouts are reviled.
Of course, this is not the first time the nearly 3-million-member organization has come under fire. Previously, the group was an easy target for creating an environment that is uncomfortable for atheists. Boy Scouts is an easy target for those wishing to push an agenda. Yet in 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Boy Scouts, and similar private organizations, have the First Amendment freedom of association and can set code of conduct and membership rules. Had that been taken away, there is no reason to think that ministries and religious organizations would be unaffected, as well.
As a former Boy Scout (though I did not advance as far as I should have), I can personally attest to the great qualities of the organization. The Scout Law makes clear that “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” Aren’t these the exact virtues we so long to see in our communities? To this day, I hope to attain to those qualities, with God’s help.
The Boy Scouts organization boasts famous members including President Gerald Ford and astronaut Neil Armstrong. Yet the organization’s strength does not consist in celebrities, but in the millions of good, godly boys who turn into men.
Edmund Burke, the Irish statesman and philosopher who lived to see such troubling times as the French Revolution, offered a comment here that is instructive. “Because half a dozen grasshoppers under a fern make the field ring with their importunate chink, whilst thousands of great cattle chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field; that, of course, they are many in number; or that, after all, they are other than the little, shriveled, meagre, hopping, though loud and troublesome insects of the hour.”
While the critics of the Scouts are loud (though many of them are well-meaning people), let us not assume they outnumber or outweigh the Boy Scouts membership, past and present, and the good that it has done for this country and world.
Long live the Boy Scouts!