A Message to the Boy Scouts of America, And To Any Else Who Will Read It

Dear Boy Scouts of America:

I am a former Cub and Boy Scout (got up to Star rank) and have long identified with the Scout identity, and have served as a committee member to my BSA troop as an adult.

If you would please add me into the discussion of the issue regarding the acceptance of “gays” into the fold, I must comment on a pattern I’ve noticed that has seemed to go unmentioned:

The idea of what a “gay” person is in the minds of the BSA at large, seems to conflict with what a “gay” person is in the minds of the general gay community, and I think being clear on your particular distinction is where the issue really lies.

I think the issue actually boils down mostly to conflict of the self-discipline identity the BSA tries to promote to youth. I don’t see the BSA as declaring a rejection of gays on the basis of being gay, but rather conflict of the aim toward an identity of being self-disciplined and therefore in denial of desires of self.

By claiming the gay aspect of themselves as a fundamental element of their very *being* as a person, gays appear to be choosing an identity contrary to self discipline — since the self-disciplined person chooses to reject feelings that conflict with the rules and rather to embrace feelings that conflict with the rules (the rules based largely on the JudeoChristian texts).

Similarly, if minors who actively desired to drink alcoholic beverages and identified themselves as drinkers as fundamental elements of their character.. why would they have any credibility for entry? Minors drinking in the presence of consenting legal guardians isn’t illegal (in Texas), but to base your identity as a minor who drinks and suggest the acceptance of other minors to drink in defiance of parental consent, would be agreeable grounds for expulsion.

It’s not anybody’s business of whether who does what with whom in whose bed, but to claim that aspect of one’s life as a trait of one’s very identity is the problem — not the trait itself.

I find the subject to be quite similar in like manner to sexual harassment — matters of discussion of that topic are inappropriate and wholly off topic and do not belong in that venue. People who find themselves outspoken on matters of sexual preferences in the workplace to the point that an authority imbalance comes into play, are most certainly subject to removal.

If you can’t help but dream about drinking all day long, and you are tempted beyond measure to drink, but never do — you’re not an drinker, and you have the self-discipline to reject those feelings. The general operating concept of “gay” held by the BSA and Christianity in general I think is more along the lines of “homosexual act participant” (because of the verses that describe the disobedience as the act itself, rather than the thought behind the act) rather than simply having feelings that are never acted upon.

Likewise, having dreams of being a rock star, but having never been a rock star, means you’re not a rock star by that way of thinking. Similarly, if you feel compelled to participate in homosexual acts but never act upon them, you are not a homosexual by that same way of thinking. It is my understanding that gays themselves identify as “gay” based on the feelings alone rather than the action — and I think that’s where most of the conflict comes from, on misunderstanding what the other is even talking about in the first place.

Scouting, to me, is a technique of instilling honor and a sense of duty to God, country, and to help others rather than acting on behalf of natural desire that conflicts therewith. If you have a group of people who demand entry to Scouts, but yet insist on claiming a God-defiant trait as an aspect of their very *identity*, they should naturally face obstacles.

I think you, BSA, need to more publicly focus on your goals of instilling self discipline and the ability to reject desires of self for the greater duty to “my God and my country” (not “OR my country”) rather than specifically debating homosexuality. And I think the homosexual community at large would appreciate the knowing that there is a gap in definition of “gay” as a homosexual act participant (or even a promoter of such acts) rather than as people who identify as gay based on feelings alone but have discipline to abstain — so that arguments made by the community could reflect accurately on that angle, rather than the expulsion of gays on the basis of feelings.


6 thoughts on “A Message to the Boy Scouts of America, And To Any Else Who Will Read It

  1. I have only one comment to make, your reasoning is impeccable, but the question is ultimately whether God requires abstention from the act or not. If you take only the old testament into account then yes, but then you can offer up the sexual favors of your daughters to house guests if they don’t want to abstain. The new testament says: love is a verb not a noun and that if you follow the dictates of it i.e. Do yourself and your fellow man good and practice no harm to either, then you are following ALL the dictates of the bible.

    The question thus becomes if the Boy Scouts claim to have the final say in a question that has the church of God on earth divided. Religion is ultimately a personal choice and pursuit, you cannot dictate the specifics of such to others, merely offer your opinion in hopes of influencing them.

    • In avoidance of doing no harm, harm though, is relative. Sparing the rod, for instance (even in the figurative sense), would harm a child’s future ability to adapt properly to situations the parent finds important to adapt to, more than simply avoidance of temporary physical or emotional correction. If you are raping someone in the keister against their will, sure, avoid doing that because of the “harm” but the very act itself between two adults is not “harm” per se, against someone else — what is harmed is your relationship upstairs.

      There is no such mandate to “follow all the dictates of the bible” and no such “all of the bible is true” even within its own pages. The BSA is not claiming final say, either — they’re only issuing the requirement as a point of eligibility for its members.. and membership is fluid, not bound. The BSA is ultimately open to eligible members willing to take and abide by the rules, which is the same for any organization on the face of the earth. Saying you are not eligible isn’t an all-encompassing church judgment of some kind, it’s just the rules of a club. It’s just a club, not a governing body of the personal essence of individuals. It is a teaching instrument intended to guide the development of individuals, but does not alter the “final say” over an individual as a church might presume authority to.

      • I apologize for the delay in replying

        1 Corinthians 13:4
        Matthew 22:37-39

        Matthew also says there to love God above all else and that doing what I said above about loving your neighbor as yourself is the same as loving God with all your heart, my belief is that the bible and worship of God is for our benefit not God’s. The parts in the Bible that tell me that pimping your daughter is ok cannot be taken literally when taken in context with the above verses(there are many other such examples). The supposed ban on homosexual practices is another.

        The moment you take parts of the Bible literally without looking at them in the larger context of the Bible as a whole you can easily be led astray.

        But my original point remains, you cannot cop out and say “but were just a club” you are presuming to say that you speak for all followers of God everywhere, youre saying, only the followers of God that subscribes to your personal image of Him are welcome and that the rest are sinners at best and dont follow Him at worst. That is not what the above passages preach.
        Thus as you have said I’m a sinner then look to the roof beam in your eye before casting your stones.

        Words can heal or they can hurt, sometimes they do both.

    • No problem on the delay.

      …you cannot cop out and say “but were just a club” you are presuming to say that you speak for all followers of God everywhere..

      To say “we are just a club” is not a cop out — is the the framing context of statements being made.

      The speaker is the authority of what his words mean, and no other. If I were to say that “pickles are nasty” and intend that remark to be framed in the context of their taste when eaten straight, then that’s the context I mean and that’s what it means. I am not copping-out of commenting on the nutritional merits of pickles, I am merely making a statement within a specific context. I say what my words mean, and no other person has the authority to state that my words mean something else in a larger context.

      Words can heal or they can hurt, sometimes they do both.

      But who decides what is healing and what is hurting? People who misinterpret a quote hurt themselves, but blame that hurt on someone else.

      • You have not refuted my assertion that the following verses

        1 Corinthians 13:4
        Matthew 22:37-39

        Can be interpreted as the following:
        The new testament says: love is a verb not a noun and that if you follow the dictates of it i.e. Do yourself and your fellow man good and practice no harm to either, then you are following ALL the dictates of the bible.

        But I will be blunt here and repeat myself in the plainest language as you seem to be deliberately obtuse.
        1. Being tolerant of others even if you think they are sinners is part of being Christian.
        2. You are excluding others from your club on the grounds of what you believe to be un – Christian behavior.
        – The from point 1 and 2 I can accuse you of of un – Christian behavior.
        You should remove yourself from the club because you do not qualify.

        In fact as long as the club has such rules of exclusion then per the rules NO one can qualify for your club.

        Also for the record I think all young people should all be encouraged to abstain from most forms of sexual exploration, things such as dating and kissing being ok, they are still too young to handle the emotional intimacy of such acts, nevermind such things as AIDS and babies.

        Thats your supposed reason for the ban is it not? That a gay boy that kisses another is lacking in self control? Is that standard applied to heterosexuals too?

        Not that you Americans care much for the supposed equality enshrined in your constitution given some of your laws both present and historical, but if the above standard is not enforced equally then it is actually also a violation of said constitution.

    • You have not refuted my assertion that the following verses // 1 Corinthians 13:4 / Matthew 22:37-39 // Can be interpreted as the following: The new testament says: love is a verb not a noun and that if you follow the dictates of it i.e. Do yourself and your fellow man good and practice no harm to either, then you are following ALL the dictates of the bible.

      In the context of those verses, and in context with your weird interpretations of them..

      #1 What I’m saying, that AGREES with those verses, is to be ACCOUNTABLE to your fellow man, and turn down his participation in a group in the way that YOU would want to be turned down from participation in a group for your own actions that break the rules. You break the rules of a group, you’re out, in the same way that I would want you to kick me out of a group when I break the rules. I am holding you accountable for your actions and character, in the context of a little club membership that is designed for the very development of said character, in the same way I would want you to hold me accountable for my actions in the context of a little club’s membership of the same nature. I am loving you as myself, since I would appreciated it if you held me accountable in like manner. I’m not condemning your character by an means — I’m not shouting, “Flee from my presence, you detestable wretch, you are cursed!” — I’m only kicking you out of a club. If you kicked me out of a club devoted to, say, the avoidance of posting comments on the Internet, then sure, by all means, kick me out. That would be fair.

      #2 We’re not talking about Christianity. We’re talking about the rules of the BSA. Christianity deals with the afterlife, salvation and damnation, and a host of other really deep philosophical issues. The rules of the BSA deals with whether or not you’re allowed to be in a club, in which a small segment of the world’s population could feasibly participate. You’re trying to bring this into a Christianity context, but the genuine context is the rules of a club. That’s like saying, “As a Christian, you realize that murder is wrong — it’s against a commandment, even.. so why do you shoot people in Call of Duty? What makes you think you can get away with killing your opponents in a video game, when you, as a Christian, are supposed to abhor murder?” Because it’s a video game, and it’s not actually murder. The BSA is turning down a membership to a club, not condemning someone. We’re talking about the rules of a club. It would be the same as turning down government benefits to someone who earns too much money.

      “Hi, I make $9 million per day. Can I get food stamps?”
      “No, you earn too much.”
      “But those are the rules..”

      We’re not talking about personal, interrelationship dynamics and denying someone vital care or a basic human need, we’re talking about membership to a club. It’s not condemnation, it’s revocation of membership in a club. You’re making it out to be a much more vast issue than what it really is. There is no harm in turning someone down for membership to a club.

      Now you’re trying to bring the American constitution into it? The US constitution is in regard to the government’s enforcement of laws, not a club’s rules. BSA officials are not enforcers of the constitution, for their rules to even be governed by constitutionality.

      It’s more like being a referee at a soccer/football game. Should a Christian referee let all offenses to the rules of football slide, since he should be loving his neighbor as himself? Is holding up a red card an action that would defy his Christian beliefs? No, it’s just a game, not life itself. BSA is just a club, not life itself.

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