Why my family is quitting the Boy Scouts

“Now, however, open homosexuality will be officially consistent with the Scouting code throughout a Boy Scout’s life until the moment he turns 18, when it suddenly becomes a problem. (The Scouts maintained its ban on openly gay leaders.) How does that make any sense?”

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Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Doesn't make sense. Will make even less sense in a few years when former scouts who were openly gay reach adulthood and want to become scout leaders.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

PaulF's picture

The author of the linked/referenced blog is quitting BSA, but also working on developing his own scouting program (good for him!)  Additionally, other groups of Christian men are working steadily on developing an alternative youth leadership program that shares some of the best qualities of scouting but in a specifically Christian context.  Faithbasedboys.org is one such program, and, of course, there are historically rich programs like Christian Service Brigade with more than 75 years of mentoring youth to become strong young men (among others).

"Scouting" (camping skills, healthy self reliance, practical servant leadership, community service projects, et.al.) in and of itself was never the problem...it was nonsectarian ecumenism turned into religious pluralism and morality being defined by committee instead of by the word of God, and, and, and....so if we could get back to basics and keep it faith-based, Christ-centered, we'd have a great program for helping boys bridge to youthful men.

dlhanson's picture

We knew a young man (our pastor's son) who participated in ALERT for a year about 16 years ago.  I have forgotten much of what I knew about ALERT but I would be be wary because ALERT:

1. Part of the Bill Gothard programs  -- Gothard has non Biblical or at least extra Biblical ideas in his materials.

2. Discourages young people from participating in higher education

David

 

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

dlhanson wrote:

We knew a young man (our pastor's son) who participated in ALERT for a year about 16 years ago.  I have forgotten much of what I knew about ALERT but I would be be wary because ALERT:

1. Part of the Bill Gothard programs  -- Gothard has non Biblical or at least extra Biblical ideas in his materials.

2. Discourages young people from participating in higher education

David

Thanks for the info. However, the families I know that are involved are not at all Gothardites, nor are they against higher ed. Are the groups/packs/whatever autonomous? 

Jim's picture

A young seminarian told me that now that Minnesota has legalized gay-marriage he may have to move to Wisconsin. 

Gay-inclusion is everywhere in society:

  • Work 
  • Groups (say Toastmasters of which I am a member. There are gay-Toastmasters!)
  • Vendors (the auto company from which you may buy your next car, your bank, your health-care group, etc)
  • The military 
  • Et cetera 

You can't evade every gay-inclusive situation. 1 Corinthians 5:9-11

I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.  Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

No Jim, you can't evade every gay-inclusive situation. But it does not follow that you have to willingly accept any. Where were have choices, we should make choices the support godliness. The military is a necessity of life where I must accept their presence even as I continue to work to uphold principles of righteousness. The Boy Scouts, or whatever extra-curricular group you want to name, are not necessities. I am 42 and have managed to thrive as an adult male without ever participating in the scouts. Same thing for my wife and the girl scouts, who followed this path many years ago. 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Plus, we are talking about an organization whose purpose (or one of them) is the shaping of children's character. 

 

Todd Wood's picture

Will be prayerfully chewing on the issues throughout this year - 2013.  What are some other high quality alternatives?

etw

Chartered Organization Rep. for Pack and Troop 370 in North Caribou District of the Grand Teton Council

PaulF's picture

Todd,

As Scoutmaster of Troop 113 (our troop number comes from Psalm 1:1-3 which describes the sort of man we pray our sons will become) I've been working on investigating alternatives since February of this year in case we ended up at this point.

I know that there are Christian men working on building an alternative right now -- they're actually meeting this week in person to get it going (and already have done much of the initial leg work over the past 6-8 weeks online through file sharing and web casts) -- this is faithbasedboys.org (a placeholder name until the final incorporation is completed.  This will be a Christian version of scouting requiring the CO and adult leaders to sign a statement of faith (not unlike American Heritage Girls, coincidentally).

Additionally, I've met with my area director of Christian Service Brigade to learn about their curriculum and I really like what I've learned about their program - especially that there are many ex-scouters involved, they have a 75+ year track record, they promote "boy-led" principles of leadership and they have an advancement program leading to "Herald of Christ" award which includes not one, but two substantial candidate organized projects -- one a community service project (aka Eagle project) and one a church-based Ministry project.  This is a non-denominational program and they have a great online community that meets at brigadeleader.com (unofficial site).

My own sons had tried Royal Rangers before BSA, but we couldn't find a unit that was a fit for our family and it's a little bit outside of our comfort zone denominationally (no offense Assemblies of God)

Calvin Cadet Corps are around if you can find a unit near you, but I don't know much about them other than good recommendations from some of the people I've met at brigadeleader.com (at least one Christian Service Brigade leader is using curriculum from both programs to make a hybrid).

Remember, the distinctives of scouting come from the methods of scouting -- patrol method (aka Boy-Led under the guidance of men); leadership development through positions of meaningful responsibility; adult association; personal growth; uniforms; outdoor program; advancement (skills/career); and Ideals (what do we mean when we say be prepared, what does scripture say about that, too?)  When these are equally and consistently applied, that's when we see boys being forged into men.  In our troop, our incorporation of ideals is scripture based and a key part of the program.  We challenge the boys to think about their world view and what the Oath and Law really mean in light of the Word.

If I were to leave scouting tonight, I'd go to CSB, but that's my family.  It may not be the right choice for yours.  If I had a couple months, I'd wait around to see what happens to Faithbasedboys.org   What I'll NEVER do is send my sons to a co-ed youth group run by a recent college graduate who thinks it's his job to do my job as a parent (Deut 6:6-8)  Raising and discipling my sons isn't the job of the church -- it's specifically reserved for families and in my family I have used scouting as one (of many) tools/curriculums to help foster that developmental process.

I hope I've helped at least a little bit, then I can go to bed knowing I've done at least one good turn today (no, it's not the basis of a "works system" (ha, ha), but a method to discipline ourselves out of selfishness towards selflessness).

(http://troop113.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/devotional-what-is-a-good-turn/)

Paul F. 

Andrew Comings's picture

First, I want to thank Paul for the great article.  Good food for thought.

I am in an interesting situation.  I am a great admirer of Baden Powell and his vision for the training of boys.  On our last furlough I got our oldest son involved in Scouting, and we both loved it.  When we came back to Brazil I looked up the local Scouting organization and joined, and it has been a positive experience, both for our son, and on a ministerial level.

Brazilian scouting has been integrated (boys and girls) for years.  It is also not the cutlural icon here that it is in the US. They have no policy against gay members or leaders.  It's somewhat of a non-issue, and the leaders of our troop are an outstanding group of individuals. 

That's not to say there isn't an active gay agenda here, it's just that, due to the fact that there is no official policy, the Brazilian scouts are not a target.  Interestingly, churches are...but that's a subject for another day.

However, in the US, scouting is for boys--with all the implications that this post makes quite clear (thanks Paul F for the link).

So...do we continue in the Scouts (escoteiros) here in Brazil and look for an alternative when in the US, or do we leave the Scouts (and "missional" relationships that have developed) here in Brazil and look for (or invent) an alternative?

Or do we treat both US and Brazilian organizations as a mission field?

I really have no answer...just working these things through in my mind.

One thing is for certain: if you listen carefully, you can here Baden-Powell turning over in his grave.

Missionary in Brazil, author of "The Astonishing Adventures of Missionary Max" Online at: http://www.comingstobrazil.com http://cadernoteologico.wordpress.com

PaulF's picture

Andrew, you may also want to review this post -- http://chrisaiken.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/why-i-will-not-leave-scouting-but-understand-if-you-do/ for the other side of the coin.  Chris offers a "position paper" (adobe acrobat document linked to on his post) on why he's making the choice to continue the mission to the scouts in his troop -- it is worth reading very carefully and thoughtfully.

A scout is Helpful.... http://troop113.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/devotional-a-scout-is-helpful/

Paul

Crystal's picture

I would be very wary of Alert as well.  I know a couple of kids who are down there now.  Their family is very into Gothardism.  The daughter (who is down there as a cook) has reported back to my sister that  Bill was kind of pushed out of it for a time but he is now pushing himself more and more into the program.  We have gotten some earfuls of goings on down there.  I highly discourage the program.  Just one small example-She and other girls were being harassed by the guys-who were pretty much wife hunting.  The girls were totally not interested and were bothered by what was going on but they were told by the authority that because they are girls they are not allowed to tell the guys to leave them alone.  They have to accept whatever attentions the guys give-because Men are to be the authority.  No joke.  If they were to tell any of the guys to leave them alone the GIRLS would have gotten in trouble.

Also, a pastor friend of ours used to be a cop.  He was sitting in a cafe IIRC and a group of Alert guys came in.  He got to chatting with them and told us that it was frightening the stuff they thought they had been trained in and were qualified to do-but had no real knowledge of.

 

Todd Wood's picture

Paul, thanks for the info.  Andrew, thanks for the link to Rick.

I am considering just having our Troop 370 go rogue in 2014.  Unchartered.  Unregistered.  Unfettered to national headquarters.

Interestingly, all of the representatives of the massive Grand Teton Council here in the Intermountain West voted no on the new policy. 

A front page article of our local newspaper today is highlighting one of our Idaho Sheriffs dropping his office's BSA charter because of the violation of state sodomy laws.

 

 

Jay's picture

Todd Wood wrote:
Paul, thanks for the info.  Andrew, thanks for the link to Rick.

I am considering just having our Troop 370 go rogue in 2014.  Unchartered.  Unregistered.  Unfettered to national headquarters.

Interestingly, all of the representatives of the massive Grand Teton Council here in the Intermountain West voted no on the new policy. 

A front page article of our local newspaper today is highlighting one of our Idaho Sheriffs dropping his office's BSA charter because of the violation of state sodomy laws.

Todd, maybe you and the others at GTC (and I know you aren't all IFB guys out there) should pull out and start your own org.  Sounds like you've already got the infrastructure in place and there'd be enough support to do so.  

This is an interesting topic, and we've started quite a few 'men development programs' in our church lately, one of which is kind of like Scouts but not as formalized yet...it's kind of a blend between the scouts and a teen men's group.

I seem to recall hearing something about a program named 'Royal Rangers' - are they still around?  Any good?

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells