July 17th, 2012
There are a lot of “firsts” when it comes to Boy Scout troops. There’s the “first Boy Scout troop”, the first to be chartered under the Boy Scouts of America, the oldest continually chartered, and Los Angeles’ Troop Ten which “is said to be the oldest Boy Scout troop in the United States sponsored continuously by the same organization.”
It’s sponsor is St. James in the City Episcopal Church, which has been shepherding boys to manhood on campouts and badge earning exercises since 1914. You may recall that I mentioned St. James before as an example of a church that is thriving and joyous and teaching the sort of Christian values that you would want your children to learn.
They also have this emphatically stated on their celebration of their long Boy Scout tradition:
In keeping with the policies of Saint James’ Church and School, Troop Ten and Pack Ten do not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, religion, national origin or sexual orientation in the conduct of their activities or choice of leadership.
So far the BSA has not ousted Troop 10, nor has St. James kowtowed to bigotry. I get the feeling that St. James feels that it answers to a higher authority than the current leader of the Boy Scouts of America.
And this raises an interesting situation.
Many of the oldest troops in the Boy Scouts were started by churches that are part of denominations that are increasingly finding that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a violation of God’s commandments. It’s not just the 1,200 Episcopal Church sponsored groups or the 1,800 UCC troops, who have an official policy of pressuring the BSA to drop their bigoted position. Growing segments of Lutherans (with 3,900 troops), Methodists (with 11,000 troops), and Presbyterians (with 3,600 troops) will soon find that they are being required to teach their youth values that are in contradiction with their beliefs about Justice, Mercy, and the message of Christ. And devout believers take such matters very seriously.
And then there are the secular troops. Thirty percent of the boy scouts are affiliated with civic or educational groups. Without the demands of a prophet in Utah or a Holy Father in Rome directing their position, they will increasingly find discrimination masked as moralizing to be distasteful.
Sure, the 38,000 Mormon troops (about 16% of all Boy Scouts) dominate the organization. And with their new political allies, the Catholic Church, there are another 8,500 troops that at least nominally can back the LDS. But they may want to tread softly. With their obsessive drive to be considered mainstream and to fit in as “real Christians”, the Mormon Church probably doesn’t want to be known as “The Church that Destroyed the Boy Scouts”.
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Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
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