- May 28, 2013
- By Staff / Baptist Standard
Scouting: What’s a church to do?
I read Chip Turner’s commentary on the Boy Scouts of America decision with interest, as I and my chartering church are struggling with this. I agree with some of his points but find others troubling. In particular, this: “Are our churches being compelled to accept homosexual leaders or the homosexual lifestyle? No.”
“Compelled” is not the right word, but the policy “normalizes” all paraphilias that are considered an “orientation” or “preference.” While we may not be compelled to accept it, we are complicit by connection to it.
The policy will harm our youth. It will kill some or shorten their lives if they believe paraphilia behaviors are safe and normal.
And note the focus on “homosexual,” which misses the point that the new policy says nothing about homosexuality in particular but opens the door for “preferences” coming our way.
What about our integrity? The new policy has no escape options. Situations can arise in which our standards and BSA’s standards could conflict. Do we “roll the dice” and pray these situations do not happen? How do we stay when we cannot comply?
We chartered because Scouting had compatible ethics and morals. Now, … we’re haters, bigots and homophobes if we don’t stop believing that the “orientations” and “preferences” are sins.
Sometimes saying no is the right thing to do. If this is not it, then when do we say enough? Certainly true love cannot keep retreating forever.
James A. Weaks
Scout change: Opportunity to ‘fix’ a broken boy
It is important to remind ourselves what the resolution changing Boy Scouts of America membership standards did not say. The resolution did not approve, accept or condone homosexuality. It did not discharge Scouts from the duty to live “clean” and “reverent” lives. It did not endorse the homosexual lifestyle as “morally straight.”
It did open the door for Scout leaders to minister and work with those youth who are morally conflicted about their sexual orientation. No longer will a youth under 18 be dismissed from Scouting if the youth confesses the sin he or she struggles with is homosexuality. Rather, the prospect now exists for that youth to learn that homosexuality is contrary to the unyielding principles of the Scout Oath and Law.
We never help a boy if we send him away. If he grows up in our church and announces he is a homosexual, do we kick him out? We allow—maybe encourage—his participation, not to endorse his lifestyle but in the hopes of reforming it. My sincerest desire is that a young person experiencing confused feelings of sexuality might sit on a stump by a campfire or in a canoe with a couple of seasoned Scout leaders who could provide tolerant ears and sensitive counsel.
The change in youth membership standards grants us another opportunity to “fix” a broken boy. The more young people we can expose to the “timeless values” of the Scout Oath and Law, the better we can ensure a promising tomorrow.
Fred Norton Jr.
Scouting option: ‘Turmoil into triumph’
A friend forwarded Chip Turner’s open letter regarding the recent Boy Scouts of America vote to allow “gay” scouts to participate. I have struggled with this vote on numerous counts, but his letter was encouraging.
Perhaps churches around the nation are looking at this in the wrong way. Suppose someone came to our church and said: “Our family is living without Christ. Would you take our kids a few hours a week and teach them?” We would jump at the chance. But largely because of the cultural tumult regarding homosexuality, and the church’s general lack of teaching well on the subject, our first reaction is to recoil.
Let me encourage anyone that’s struggling to sort this issue out. Homosexual parents want their kids to come and participate in one of the best, Christ-centered programs on the face of the planet! I say we tell them to come and bring their friends. It will require diligence on the part of the church and the Scouts, and there will be battles ahead, but Christ can turn this turmoil into triumph if we’re brave enough and will pray.
God bless all of the congregations struggling with this issue.
Ian D. Farnsley
Stand up to the culture war
As a pastor of a church with a Scouting program of 27 years, I need to respond. What I feel Chip Turner is asking us to do is compromise.
There are young people all over our community who are struggling in a sexually saturated environment with pressure to declare themselves one way or the other. I have counseled with more than a few and shared the scriptural teachings with them about moral purity and God’s plan. We do not reject them. We love and minister to them.
We also would not permit them to make their orientation an issue by declaring themselves publicly to have chosen a lifestyle that is condemned in the word of God. Sadly, this is what the Scouts have done.
Those same young people are watching to see how we respond. If we simply wink and carry on with business as usual, the clear message will be that a homosexual lifestyle is not such a big problem after all.
As a pastor who has ministered to dying AIDS patients and conducted a number of funerals for AIDS patients, who has counseled with suicidal people who were torn apart by this lifestyle choice, and talked with doctors about the devastating health consequences of this lifestyle, I feel that I have earned the right to say “no” to compromise.
It is time to found an “American Heritage Boys” program to mirror the “American Heritage Girls,” who were formed because a similar move by the Girl Scouts. Someone, somewhere has to stand up to the culture war before we destroy the coming generation.
I am not myself a Baptist—I'm Roman Catholic—but I read Chip Turner’s words about the recent Boy Scouts of America decision to remove the membership injunction against gay youth from a Scouting forum post that gathered several such postings.
I have to say I am very impressed and humbled, and also grateful. I have tried to get others to understand that—at least from my view—the decision is all about inclusiveness for the youth, for their learning and growth.
Mr. Turner adds a very much needed divine dimension to the argument: If we are here, as I believe, to shine our light and to bring others to a reverence for God, then how possibly can we choose to shut them out from our faith-based chartered organizations?
Thanks very much to Chip Turner for this sacred reminder.
Wappingers Falls, N.Y.
‘Attacks to destroy BSA’
If a young gay Scout entering were the end all of it, we could deal with it. Unfortunately, the young gay Scout is merely a pawn in the gay agenda and the left-wing liberals’ attacks to destroy Boy Scouts of America.
Already entering the court system is allowing openly gay adult leaders. I’m sure atheists are next.
The current BSA leadership has no backbone. Training in moral values and citizenship stands in the liberal’s way.
Throw out the Scouts
It is unfortunate Chip Turner is attempting to convince Baptist churches to continue their sponsorship of Boy Scouts. Churches’ doors have always been open to visitors from the world to church services and Sunday school.
The point of churches being open to secular organizations/activities giving more opportunity to evangelism because those people would not otherwise come to church is short-sighted. That was already happening with the Scouts.
Now the Scouts have opened membership to openly homosexual boys, saying homosexuality is acceptable. That makes them a secular organization that declares a message contrary to what God says. They say it is not acceptable to partake in homosexual activity during Boy Scout activities, but sexual activity has never been acceptable then.
When churches sponsor various organizations by allowing them to meet in their church building, they are saying, by action, they agree with the organizations’ stances and beliefs. The Red Cross is allowed because we agree with donating life-saving blood for others.
Turner’s premise would compel churches to invite many evil organizations to meet in their buildings in hopes of evangelizing their members, but they would end up having more influence on the church than the contrary (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Churches should stop sponsoring Boy Scouts and get involved with other churches that are now organizing a national Christian boys’ organization like the Boy Scouts were before their change.
Challenge to be met
Chip Turner’s opinion piece regarding the new Boy Scouts of America membership policy is one of the best I’ve read so far and strikes to the heart of the matter.
Regardless of whether or not we agree with the new policy, it’s here, and we have to implement it in a way that will protect the youth in Scouting. We adult leaders have the responsibility to provide them with a safe and wholesome environment where they can develop into fine young men, aware of their duty to God and country, and their call to be of service to others. We adults must guide them as they develop a sense of moral values that transcends the attacks of those who see the Bible as a set of suggestions to be amended and updated to fit whatever today’s hot-button issue might be.
I was in Scouts as a youth and have been a Scout leader for many years. My son is an Eagle Scout. I will not leave Scouting as a result of this policy shift. Instead, I see this as a challenge to be met with God’s help and guidance.
Leaving Boy Scouts
The problem with the Boy Scouts of America decision to allow gay Scouts is that it will not stop with the youth.
There are already plans to push for the acceptance of openly gay adult leaders and volunteers. It’s just a matter of time now.
For BSA to say it’s OK for a youth to be openly gay, but then when he turns 18 they will reject him as an assistant scout master or other volunteer is just a lawsuit waiting to happen. BSA violated its own scout oath and law by this vote.
I am the mom of two Eagle Scouts and have been a BSA volunteer for the last 10 years. My family are members of a Southern Baptist church, and our troop is chartered by a church from the Lutheran Missouri Synod. We will leave BSA because of this vote. Our troop is looking into a BSA alternative such as www.onmyhonor.net.
Graham & the IRS
I notice Franklin Graham has called the IRS probe into his “ministries” un-American. If Graham wants to see “un-American”—and un-Christian—he needs to look in the mirror.
Since President Obama has been in office, Graham has spared little effort in promoting hate for him. He is definitely an example of the apple falling far from the tree.
I have had many dealings with the IRS over 50-plus years, both as an individual and as treasurer for a national military organization. They have made some mistakes, and I have made some mistakes. I remember once when I made a math mistake, and they returned an extra $240. I also remember when I was in Vietnam and they demanded some documents within 10 days. The 10 days had already expired when I got the notice. My Texas congressman convinced them they owed me an apology.
The IRS is staffed with Americans, just like Graham and me. They are relatively low-paid, overworked and have to comply with all the instructions given them by Congress to appease the special interests. Plus, they are the subject of hate by too many Americans, egged on by political operatives, such as Graham, often pushing the envelope for tax-exempt status.