The Boy Scouts are in danger.
In danger of crumbling from within and dwindling into insignificance not long after celebrating 100 years of service to America and its sons.
In recent days, the Boy Scouts of America has begun to lose its largest sponsor and source of cash, and one of the nation’s most prominent religious leaders has called for Christians to abandon the Scouts altogether.
Everybody says it has nothing to do with scouting’s concessions to gay and transgender activists, but everybody knows that’s exactly what it’s about. A 20-year attack on scouting and its values by gay and progressive activists has inflicted mortal wounds – as it was intended – and the situation is dire.
The BSA won’t say that, but everybody knows that.
Last week, the Mormon church announced that it was going to stop using Boy Scouts as an activity for its young men over the age of 13. This week, Franklin Graham said that Christians – particularly the evangelicals who he serves – should pull their sons out of scouts completely.
The Mormons, always polite, said they merely want to develop new programs for their boys. Graham, always blunt, said the BSA’s embrace of gay and transgender scouts and leaders made the group incompatible with traditional Christian values.
Progressive America would call such movements bigotry and leave it at that.
But the reality is that Mormons sponsor more Boy Scout troops than any other group in the country, and that without them the Varsity and Venture programs of the BSA essentially disappear. Further, after Mormons, the biggest sponsors of troops are Catholics and Methodists – who both also have teachings that differ from progressive orthodoxy on gay and transgender issues.
Also, and maybe more to the point, Mormons and other churches provide not only most of the boys, they also provide most of the money. Both in terms of membership fees and other monies associated with the program, but also through Friends of Scouting, the BSA’s fund-raising arm. As part of its drawback from scouting, the Mormon church has promised to continue to back Friends of Scouting, and to continue its past financial commitment to scouting programs for a couple of years, to ease the financial shock.
Bottom line: Scouting has lost its largest group of members and supporters, and its largest source of money. And that bodes for darker days ahead.
Which is what I’ve always presumed the progressive attack on scouts was about.
I’ve never thought that gay and transgender interest in scouting was truly about participation, I’ve always thought it was about destruction. Progressives don’t dislike scouting because of its rules, they dislike scouting because of its values.
And that’s the real loss here.
The Boy Scouts of America has been one of the largest transmitters of traditional values in the nation. The camping and knot tying and canoeing are merely means to an end. Certainly, they teach skills and leadership, but fundamentally they teach values. Real values.
The Scout Oath, for example, has a young man proclaim: “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my county, and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.”
And what is the Scout Law? “A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”
Duty to God? Duty to country? Morally straight? Brave? Reverent?
Where does any of that fit in to global progressivism?
And so the Boy Scouts of America has been under attack by the Left for years.
And recently, hoping to sue for peace and step out of the crosshairs – hoping to avoid the punishment of progressive corporations, activist groups and municipal governments – the Boy Scouts of America compromised.
Or, as some see it, sold its soul.
And now it is being abandoned.
Which is exactly the wrong thing to do.
Because a broken Boy Scouts is better than no Boy Scouts. Not so that some fat non-profit can continue to pay obscene salaries, not so old guys can cling to sentimentality and nostalgia, but because America needs Boy Scouts.
America needs every transmitter of traditional values it can get.
America needs boys who will grow up to be good husbands, good fathers and good citizens – and the Boy Scouts of America fundamentally helps that to happen.
In terms of traditional values, the boys of Mormon, Catholic and Methodist homes – whose parents embrace and live their beliefs – will do just fine. The same is true for those families who earnestly follow the teachings of preachers like Franklin Graham.
But such families are an ever-smaller proportion of American homes, and produce an ever-smaller percentage of America’s sons.
Those families can withdraw, and their boys will be OK.
But an awful lot of boys won’t.
And that’s why scouting must be defended, not abandoned. This is a time to rally to the scouting cause, not walk away and leave it to die.
Those concerned about scouting becoming a gay and transgender haven or advocacy group should recognize that such people will probably always be a small and peripheral portion of the scouting community. Most scouts would go completely through the program without contacting a gay or transgender scout or leader. It’s a matter of simple math.
And even if there were contact, those families whose values contradict the gay agenda could teach those values to their sons at home.
And scouting could continue to teach boys to do their duty to God and country, and to keep themselves physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight. It could continue to teach those values to boys who might not hear them anywhere else in their lives.
The families who don’t really need scouting are stepping away.
Meaning there may not be scouting for those families who really do.
Which means America needs to support scouting now more than ever.