Whither the Boy Scouts?
On May 23, the Boy Scouts of America voted to allow openly gay members into its organization, which means that Scout troops are now open for gays to join. This is not something Scouters are looking forward to.
You might not believe that the vast majority of Boy Scouts are against openly allowing gays to join, but the facts are clear. Over 61% of Scouts and parents are against the "homosexualization of Boy Scouts." And over 70% of "U.S. Scout groups [are] sponsored by churches and religious organizations."
The facts are clear: the vast majority of Scouts don't want this.
And shouldn't one ask how many gays want this? Seriously: how many gays are out there dying to get into Scouting? Is there a demand for gays to enter Scouting? Are they feeling the call of the wild?
The issue of gays in the Boy Scouts has been baldly political for some time. AT&T's CEO, Randall Stephenson, is one of the major figures that turned this issue into one of politics and money.
Stephenson, who is said to be positioned to become the BSA executive board's chairman next year, has been praised along with Ernst & Young CEO James Turley for publicly opposing the Scouts' membership policy and vowing to work from within to change it.
And change it from within he has. But that change will likely be a switch from prosperity to a descent into trivialness for the BSA. Will the Boys Scouts of America continue to survive despite this history-changing decision? Or will this mark the end of the BSA?
Here are some points to consider before on the subject of the BSA's survival.
1. Religion is a big part of the Boy Scouts of America.
Like it or not, religion has a substantial presence in the Scouting life. The Scout Law exhibits this plainly with the words "A Scout is Reverent." But it's also visible in the awards a Scout can earn in the confines of his religious group or domination.
The two most common awards are the "God and Church" and "God and Life" awards. These include requirements to read the Bible daily, to "[m]emorize a creed or statement of belief or scripture," and to volunteer in one's church. It's obvious in even the most superficial examination that religion plays a major role in Scouts.
2. Over 70% of Scout Troops are sponsored by religious organizations.
It makes sense in light of the above fact that that religious groups make up the bulk of those who charter Scout troops. With this in mind, think about the stance that these religious charter organizations are going to have in light of BSA's decision to openly allow gays into the group. It's not going to be a stance of indifference.
Most religious groups are ardently against homosexuality and will not welcome the idea of supporting an organization that openly backs the gay agenda. These religious groups will pull their support from the Scout troops they charter, leaving hundreds of troops to disappear or find new charters.
3. The vast majority of Scouts and their families are against the Gay Amendment.
Just like the religious groups who will be pulling their support, quite a few Scout families will leave, too. Many of these families belong to a religious group, and the realization that gays can now openly join Boy Scout troops is not something that they are fond of.
And how can one blame them? Gay boys camping, hiking, and sometimes showering with their children is not a pleasant thought. But the greater issue, and a legitimate one, for many Scouting families is that having their kids in an organization that supports the gay agenda conflicts with their beliefs.
4. The new amendment will open individual troops and churches to lawsuits.
The tragedy is that the 2000 U.S. Supreme Court decision protecting the BSA's original policy is now moot. With the policy change, churches and other faith-based organizations -- which make up 70 percent of BSA sponsorship -- are put directly in the line of fire.
There's no doubt that churches will be carefully deciding whether to keep on supporting their respective BSA troops or to ditch them. But their decisions could be dangerous, depending on if their particular state has laws "offering a special class of protection for same sex orientation and conduct."
The same risk exists for those Boy Scout Troops who are not welcoming of potential new gay scouts. If a troop refuses to allow an openly gay scout into its group, its members could face lawsuits -- not only from the gay individual and his family, but also from the gay community at large. This could be crippling to many troops who don't want to leave the BSA but also don't want to allow gays into their group.
When the Canadian Scouts opened up their gates to gays, the organization saw a significant decline in their membership and support. Only time will tell how fast the same happens here.
John-Pierre Maeli is a writer and an Eagle Scout. Find him and his articles on Google+.