When the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) recently made the decision to allow “openly gay” young men to be scouts, at first I was sad to see that. I was mad. I thought, well gee, there goes another organization falling into the pressure given by society! But since then, I’ve had the opportunity to really think about it more. And I’ve realized I was wrong.
I’ve read many articles that basically said well, now we’re just waiting for boys to ask to share tents with their crushes, attempt to solicit bad behavior, and parade around flaunting their sexuality. To some degree, there’s a bit of truth there. Allowing homosexual boys to be scouts certainly provides an opportunity for that to happen. But it’s wrong to think that just because some of those things could happen, we shouldn’t have gay scouts.
You see, as a Catholic, I fall back on what the church says. And what does it say? It says that people with homosexual preferences “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.”
Is banning them from scouting unjust discrimination? I think it could be. After all, if we are to accept and embrace all people, shouldn’t any boy be allowed to be a scout? Looking at this from a Catholic perspective, I wouldn’t be comfortable answering that with anything but a yes. Of course gay scouts should be allowed. We shouldn’t exclude boys because of their sexual orientation.
BUT wait a second! you say. Isn’t this going to cause problems and make other boys uncomfortable? The truth is that I don’t know. It could happen. Will boys be subject to anything more than they would at school with gay classmates? Maybe. But like this article pointed out, there’s an obvious difference between what a Catholic troop would look like and what a more secular one would look like:
“The gay teen in a Catholic troop shouldn’t be sharing with his fellow Scouts his sexual attraction to other males. He can’t talk excitedly about bumping into his crush at the mall or hoping he’ll say yes to the prom. In fact, he can’t take a same-sex partner to a dance or on a date because he must strive to keep same-sex friendships non-romantic.”
If troops follow the scouting rules and deal appropriately with any sexual issues (homosexual and heterosexual), then there’s no reason why this new rule should be an issue for Catholics. It’s actually good, from a Catholic perspective, to allow gay scouts. It’s what we’re supposed to do. We are to accept and embrace (you might use ‘tolerate’) our fellow human beings simply because we are made in the image and likeness of God.
Homosexual behavior, on the other hand, in an issue in and of itself. And this is where I blurred the issues before. Accepting gay scouts does not mean we need to tolerate immoral behavior – it simply means we accept the people. The Church has clearly outlined the Catholic perspective, and shows us the beauty of the call to chastity of all people with specific instructions for how that is to be carried out (those with same-sex attraction are included). If BSA’s recent decision does eventually give way to the tolerance of homosexual acts, then that’s another story for another day. But for now, carry on scouts.
8 thoughts on “BSA’s acceptance of gay scouts: Catholic or not?”
This is something I was struggling to form an opinion on. It’s true, we should be accepting of anyone who says they have same-sex attraction. It’s a temptation, not a sin. Also, we must remember to “hate the sin and love the sinner”. There is however, a fine line. And we must consider that a Catholic troop might interact with another troop that tolerates homosexual relationships. It’s a tricky situation. And I’m glad I don’t have to make the decision of whether to keep a son in scouts or not.
Right. At this point, if rules are followed, there shouldn’t be a reason for Catholics to withdraw from BSA. If there is no tolerance for any type of sexual behavior, then it’s not against Catholic teach as far as I know. Of course, if they do start allowing the types of behavior the Church is against, that’s another story. I would quickly withdraw my support should that happen. Until then, I can’t see a problem with simply allowing homosexuals to participate. It took me some time to think this through and come to this conclusion though 🙂
You are diluting the gospel….Sodom and Gomorrah was not allowed to continue. Neither will America if we continue to turn our backs on God’s law. You are allowing and accepting sin. You hate the sin but love the sinner however it does not say “accept” the sinner.
You know, Mary, I felt the same way you did. I couldn’t believe BSA would allow such immorality.
But them I realized that there is nothing immoral about homosexuals as people. Of course, if they choose to engage in immoral sexual activity we cannot accept that, but when they choose to live a chaste life, they can be in full communion with the Church. They are only out of the Church’s boundaries when and if they choose to engage in immoral and disordered actions.
When I wrote that we must love, accept, and embrace homosexuals, I wanted to make it clear that this does not mean accepting (to receive with favor/approve) immoral behavior. In fact, the Church says we must do this in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It says that homosexual people “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity”.
It seems to me that as long as scouts are held to Catholic moral standards, there should be no issue in having homosexual scouts. Of course, I can’t tell how long that will last. But for now I don’t have a problem with gay scouts who choose to live within moral boundaries.
I disagree. Gay scouts were already allowed in boy scouts (there is no question in the registration forms about sexual orientation), what this allows is openly gay scouts, in other words, scouts that have an attraction they are trying to fight against, and not openly promoting were already allowed in scouts, but now the rampant rainbow-flag-waving SF kind of gays will be allowed.
The openly gay scouts that will now being allowed are living directly contrary to the BSA oath of keeping themselves “morally straight”, and they are proud of it.
Boy scouts is not just any kind of skill learning organization, it is an organization that’s purpose is (or at least was) to form moral, good young men citizens. This is not just about not discriminating against gay scouts, because they were already allowed, it is about enshrining homosexual acts as on equal footing with heterosexual acts, a “whichever you prefer” attitude, in the framework of the BSA – a major win for the gay lobby, and major change in the standard of morality held up to all the scouts to follow.
The fact is, homosexual acts are heinous sins, one of the five sins that cries to heaven for vengeance, and not something we want being taught to our boys as an equally acceptable alternative by an organization purporting to teach boys “to 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.”
Being purposefully and openly gay is not something that has nothing to do with one’s characters like being black or white, disabled or not, it’s like being a habitual bully or not, or someone who repeatedly makes crude sexual jokes or not, or doing drugs or not. Imagine if the BSA had just changed it’s policy to say that so as not to be discriminatory either of those three types of people should be allowed just as any other people, in fact , they see no difference, that they do not go against what the BSA stands for. Only Worse. Would you still feel the same way?
That’s how I felt, Jeannette 🙂
I was recently talking with my Uncle who has a long history with the scouts (and I know your brothers are a part of it too). As far as I know, the BSA was not okay with having gay scouts before. That’s what my uncle said, and from stories I’ve read, it seems to me that that was the case. For example, the guy in this story was denied his eagle scout rank because he “came out”: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/04/14224160-almost-eagle-scout-denied-award-because-he-is-gay?lite
I can’t imagine having a question about sexual orientation on the form, but from what I’ve seen it looks like boys who “came out” were not welcome. Do you know more about that?
Initially, I had a big problem with having “openly” gay scouts. I still do. Immoral behavior should never be allowed. The Church is crystal clear on that. But in talking with my uncle, it didn’t seem to me that that’s what this rule is about. As far as I understand, this rule is allowing gay scouts who were never allowed before, not any immoral behavior. Of course, I could totally be wrong. Maybe scouts will be marching in gay pride events and making gay “marriage” something they fight for tomorrow. The second BSA starts supporting “equal rights”, gay “marriage” and things like that, I’m out. But until I hear otherwise, I can’t be against simply allowing gay scouts.
I’m sure there’s much more to learn on what this decision means, and would love to hear more. Here’s an excellent piece on it: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/cw/post.php?id=712
Thanks for links. I would love to discuss this issue in person some time!
(To clarify, when I said that not openly gay scouts being allowed, I meant that if they are not open, no one would know, and it’s not like they ask about it as a prerequisite to joining, as far as I know.)
Thanks for sharing Laura! I never thought about it that way! Great point! 🙂