February 6, 2013
The Boy Scouts and Moral
(second of a 2-part series)
By Mike McManus
America’s teenagers are morally confused. The
good news is 80% of boys said having a good marriage and family
life is "extremely important," and 72% of girls agree.
On the other hand, only 39% of teen boys and 30% of girls say
that "most people will have fuller and happier lives if they
choose legal marriage rather than staying single or just living
with someone," according to "The State of Our Unions – Marriage
in America – 2012."
About two-thirds of both genders believe "It is usually a good
idea for a couple to live together before getting married in
order to find out whether they really get along."
Even worse, 56% of both genders believe that "having a child
without being married is experimenting with a worthwhile
The question is, what can be done to teach better moral values
A traditional answer for boys is the Boy Scouts, of whom there
are 2.6 million members. Eleven of the 12 men who walked on the
moon developed their sense of service as Boy Scouts, as did 206
U.S. Senators or Congressman. Two-thirds of male college grads
were Scouts and 89% of high school class presidents.
Boys learn the Scout Oath, "On my honor I will do my best, to do
my duty to God and my country…to help other people at all times;
to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally
However a nationwide investigation of child molestation in the
Boy Scouts from 1971 to 1991 revealed that more than 2,000 boys
reported molestation by adult Scout leaders. Therefore, the
organization firmly decided not to allow homosexuals to be
This was challenged by gays in court, leading to a 2000 Supreme
Court case which upheld the Boy Scout’s right to teach that
"homosexual conduct is not morally straight." While not
commenting on that view, the Court said that government could
not force "the group to accept members it does not desire."
Public opinion has shifted on the issue as nine states approved
gay marriage. Therefore, the Boy Scouts confidentially reviewed
their decision to keep out both gay leaders and gay Scouts
themselves. Last July after a two year review, an 11-member
committee unanimously "came to the conclusion that this policy
is absolutely the best policy for Boy Scouts," and was supported
by "the vast majority of the parents of the youth we serve."
However, after that decision was announced, two prominent board
members, CEOs of AT&T and Ernst & Young openly called for the
board to reconsider. UPS, Intel and other companies announced
they would stop supporting Boy Scouts.
Last week, the Boy Scouts said its board would decide this week
whether "there would no longer be any national policy regarding
sexual orientation," leaving the decision up to local groups.
That sparked a storm of protest, particularly by Mormons,
Catholics, Southern Baptists and others who are often the local
sponsors of Scout troops.
What’s stunning is the announcement came only six months after
concluding that barring openly homosexual leaders and members
was "absolutely the best policy" supported by "the vast majority
of the parents of the youth we serve."
Thus, Boy Scouts are apparently folding to corporate pressure
and setting itself against the majority of its own members.
A spokesperson for America’s Catholic Bishops said, ""We hope
the Boy Scouts remain true to the Judeo-Christian values upon
which they were founded."
Greg Quinlan, President of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays
pled with Scouts, "As a former homosexual who was sexually
molested as a child, I urge the Boy Scouts of America to
reinforce their policy prohibiting homosexuals as Scout leaders
entrusted with the care of impressionable young boys and teens."
Richard Land, President of the Southern Baptist Ethics &
Religious Liberty Commission, asserted, "Homosexuals by
definition are attracted to people of the same sex, attracted to
males. How many people would allow their teenage girls to be led
by heterosexual males? Heterosexual males would not be allowed
to be Girl Scout leaders, because they are attracted to young
women. This verges on being beyond the realm of the rational."
"If they make this decision it would be a catastrophe for Boy
Scouts, 1.1 million of whom are sponsored by Mormons, Roman
Catholics and Baptists who are overwhelmingly opposed to this
On Wednesday, Boy Scouts of America announced it would delay a
decision until May for a "more deliberate review" of the issue.
Hopefully Boy Scout leaders will stop their flip-flopping and
live up to their motto to be "morally straight."
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