Archive | 4:13 am

Scouts’ Honor

9 Mar

In “Scouts’ Major Failing” (Kansas City Star, 3/8/12), commentator Mary Sanchez issued an open letter to Robert Mazzuca, an executive with Boy Scouts of America who was in town earlier this week for a prayer breakfast. The purpose of her letter was to call upon Boy Scouts to change their policy prohibiting openly homosexual men from serving as scout leaders and volunteers.

Sanchez uses the pronoun “we,” as though she speaks for all or even most KC-area residents, which clearly is not the case.

She says that there are many among the 2.7 million young men currently involved in scouting “who now or later will identify as gay,” and that the Boy Scouts “is failing them.” She does acknowledge that Boy Scouts have chartering organizations, most of which are churches, which presumably have moral reservations in this area. Therefore she is “insistent” that Boy Scouts’ leadership needs to be proactive in making its organization more accepting of homosexuality.

When it comes to homosexuality, the Catholic Church makes some very important distinctions. A person with same-sex attraction must always be treated with dignity, respect, and compassion. However, homosexual acts, as consistently taught in Scripture and throughout Christian history, are gravely sinful. Because homosexual acts are sinful, the inclination to commit such acts is considered a disorder. In that sense, any inclination to commit immoral acts is a disorder. The term used for this in Catholic theology is concupiscence, and all of us struggle against inclinations to various sins.

Sanchez, meanwhile, uses the commonly accepted term “gay,” which in today’s parlance refers to someone with same-sex attraction who identifies himself according to that attraction and who has embraced it as a good thing. While most people still accept in some fashion “the other commandments,” our sexually promiscuous culture has gone to great lengths to legitimize sexual activity that our Judeo-Christian culture has traditionally regarded as sinful, including homosexual acts.

Boy Scouts, the Catholic Church, and many others therefore do not think it is healthy or wise to encourage developing, adolescent men who may experience same-sex attraction to identify themselves as “gay” and to become part of the “gay culture.” Sanchez disagrees, and that is her right. But she does not stop there, but rather lectures the Boy Scouts and Christian churches for not agreeing with her–for not abandoning their deeply held beliefs and buying into the spirit of the age.

Sanchez begrudgingly acknowledges that the Boy Scouts have the right to prohibit openly homosexual men from leading groups of young men because of the U.S. Supreme Court (Boy Scouts of America v. Dale), but she openly questions whether the Boy Scouts–and by extension, the Christian churches with whom they closely work–should continue to have this right. In an age where the government is trying in unprecedented ways to take away our right to the free exercise of our religion, one cannot help but be disturbed by attempts to tell Christian churches, organizations, and parents what we must teach our children regarding homosexuality.

We are not that far removed, if we are not vigilant, from having the expression of Catholic teaching regarding homosexuality considered a criminal offense. An article appearing this week at National Review tells the story of a Canadian gentleman who took out an advertisement in the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, and he and the paper wound up getting fined $9,000 for “exposing homosexuals to hatred or ridicule.” Here is the entire text of the offending advertisement:

Romans 1:26
Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13
1 Corinthians 6:9

That’s right: three Scripture passages on homosexuality. The Bible is now considered hate speech, and those who teach what it says can expect to be prosecuted if the United States follows the lead of other secularized Western nations.

For those of us who hold, as a matter of faith and/or science, that same-sex attraction is a disorder, it is eminently sensible not to place someone who openly embraces such a disordered inclination in a position to mentor
impressionable, pubescent boys who are in the process of developing
their own sexual identities.

It would also be unwise to send an openly homosexual man on overnight outings with adolescent boys in the same way that it would be foolish to send a heterosexual man on overnight outings with adolescent girls. It’s a matter of prudence, not discrimination.

Sanchez acknowledges the great effects the Boy Scouts have had on her own siblings as well as on the greater Kansas City community. The Boy Scouts have developed a formula based on Christian values that has withstood the test of time. God bless them for remaining true to their principles in a society that needs their principles and values now more than ever.