A Question for the Boy Scouts

I wasrainbow scoutsn’t ever a Scout.

I’ve known straight Scouts.

I’ve known gay Scouts.

I’ve known good and bad examples of both gay and straight Scouts, I think.  Their sexual orientation had nothing to do with their failure or success.

But I was never a Scout.

So, I want to ask Scouts a question: which of the 12 Core Value is most important?

Citizenship, compassion, cooperation, courage, faith, health and fitness (inexplicably one value), honesty, perseverance, positive attitude, resourcefulness, respect, or responsibility?

I want to know because I’m trying to understand what the ruckus over gay Scouts and Scout leaders is.

Because, as far as I can tell, encouraging Scouts to stay in the closet through barring and banning threats violates courage, honesty, respect, and responsibility on the Scout’s part, and compassion and cooperation on the establishment’s part.

So I’m trying to figure out how this was ever an issue. It seems like an honest Scout is the best Scout.

And I’m trying to figure out how they can allow openly gay Scouts, but not openly gay Scout leaders.  Are leaders not expected to uphold these values as well?  If they are to teach and model them, I don’t see how it can be otherwise.

I’m just really at a loss as to how this is an issue.  And I’m also at a loss as to how churches are now banning the Scouts over their half-hearted policy change.

Do these churches imagine that everyone in their doors are straight?  If so, they are delusional.

Are they imagining that Jesus would not have dined in the houses of the Boy Scouts because they now allow gay Scouts (but not, for some unknown reason–that I can only imagine has to do with some unscientific and failed belief in sexuality and sexual practice–gay leaders)?  If so, they are not only delusional but also illiterate.

Read the Gospels.

Because just as much as I want to ask the Scouts which of the 12 Core Values is most important, I want to ask those churches now threatening to deny Scouts a home which of Jesus’ teachings are most important.  The one on love?  Peace? Blessing? Self-sacrifice? Compassion?

Or the (non-existent) one on sexual orientation?

I would like to know.

Because my understanding of honesty means being honest with yourself and others, which includes an understanding of your sexuality.  Some might say it’s a personal responsibility thing to be honest about your sexuality.  Some might say it’s a courageous thing.  Some might say such an admittance to yourself and the world takes the conscious decision to cooperate with your sexual orientation rather than deny it to the detriment of your sanity, your health, and your relationships, and shows perseverance to do so in the face of discrimination.  Some might say it takes resourcefulness to pull up the necessary faith in yourself and your abilities to be so honest.  Some might claim it takes respect for yourself and a positive attitude to approach the subject with such openness.  And such openness is indicative of a compassionate nature, and let’s be clear, honest citizens are the best citizens.

In my estimation, it seems honesty might be the key to upholding the 12 Core Values.

So, enlighten this reluctant Christian, made that much more reluctant because we’re represented on front-page headlines by these sorts of squabbles and these mind-boggling banning policies: why is this an issue?

9 thoughts on “A Question for the Boy Scouts

  1. Because some churches, and a fair few churchgoers, want to be holy, and to separate themselves (as far as is possible in this fallen world) from sin? Jesus said we are to be holy as God is holy, and the impression given by the Leviticus quote is that God really isn’t keen on male homosexuality. It’s a bit late at night in this part of the world to be digging out reference books, but I’m fairly sure that the roots of the words for ‘holiness’ involve separation.

    And/or because we are called to be salt and light in our society. Shouting about what we believe to be right and wrong on the front page can be seen as a kind of a searchlight into people’s lives, calling them to repentance. Salt on wounds is painful but purifying, so if people are hurt by your position then it is for their own good. A justification, incidentally, that also works well for the Spanish Inquisition.

    Personally I think the major themes of the NT are more to do with grace and acceptance; but it is undeniable that more negative (from my viewpoint) themes are also there. I wonder if which themes one chooses to highlight depend more on personality and tradition than on what the Bible actually says?

    • A great final question, Blackphi. I think that we all practice, so some extent, a pick and choose method to Biblical interpretation. No one is without a lens. It just seems that, for the Christian, Jesus is so central. And if that’s the case, why does the rest of it continue to muck up the waters?

  2. Given that, according to Paul in Galatians, those of us who are Gentiles are very definitely not supposed not obey any Torah commandment, then why on earth are the first five books even present in the Christian Bible? The whole thing seems thoroughly mucked, even before we get involved.

    Although I suspect that there exist angles from which the waters suddenly become crystal clear, but that these are long lost under millennia of misinterpretation and disinformation.

    • I think it is quite simple why those books are there:

      “Every Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, World English Bible)

      They are still Scripture, written by inspiration of the Holy Spirit and useful for our learning. Even if the legal statutes don’t necessarily apply directly to us, they still show us the dealings of God with men and give us some idea of His will. We wouldn’t understand much of what the New Testament is even referring to without reference to the Pentateuch.

      I suspect you know this already, mind you. I know its not always easy to sort out Scripture so we can truly learn from it, but isn’t that one of the roles of the Holy Spirit- to lead us into all truth (John 16:13)?

  3. Can I just ask what it means to be “honest about your sexuality”? It is surely one thing to openly admit you have homosexual inclinations, quite another to act on those inclinations. Should the need for the former (as a matter for simple honesty) justify the latter?

    I’m usually a bit mystified by the whole gays and Scouts thing, as I’m pretty sure the issue hasn’t arisen this side of the Pond, and whilst I recall God being mentioned sometimes in the Beavers and Cubs, never quite saw it as an *explicitly* Christian organisation which would demand such standards of behaviour.

    • I think it’s quite impossible to believe that God has given people sexual orientation not expected them to act on it.

      I don’t conceive of anyone being able to be “whole” without being sexual beings. If someone asked me to stop acting on my heterosexuality, and as I’m not feeling called to celibacy, I would take that as a serious infringement on my ability to be whole.

      • Can we say God has given us an inclination to sin, and as such we should expect to act on it?

        The fact is even the New Testament does not seem to speak too highly of sexual relations between persons of the same sex, does not seem to suggest practising such relations is anything but just that.

        I am pretty sure the apostle Paul as well taught it would be better not to marry, although does not forbid doing so; and since I think the ideal for sexual relations is meant to be within that context, there seems to be a pretty clear indication it is possible to gain wholeness without being sexually active. We can also see from nature that sex is not a pre-requisite for an individual’s survival; we need to eat, drink, breathe, sleep and excrete to keep our bodies going and moreover, we need God to be spiritually alive, but having intercourse is not a pre-requisite for life. I don’t see any specific “called to celibacy” in the Bible.

        I do however admit that this is a standard of behaviour which cannot be extended to all people, especially those not inclined to believe at all, or only inclined to believe after a fashion. And as the Scouts, whilst they might enshrine some elements of theism, aren’t a specifically Christian organisation they should not have to impose such on their members. Since who are we to judge those outside the church (1 Cor. 5:12)?

      • I think it’s clear that we come from different places when it comes to scriptural interpretation. There is so much here, I’m not going to get into all of it.

        Suffice to say, the prohibitions against same-sex intimacy in scripture are, I find, poorly translated with even poorer exegesis by and large. In fact, I don’t think there are blanket prohibitions against same-sex intimacy in scripture.

      • “I don’t conceive of anyone being able to be “whole” without being sexual beings” – a fairly widely held view (at least from a heterosexual angle) which helps to explain why many younger singles feel excluded from, or at best ignored by, local churches.

        There are an lot of dimensions to being human; it strikes me that the cultural obsession with sexual behaviours reduces humanity to a one-dimensional cut-out, and it is sad that churches are often a part of that. I do not see this as a view which is supported by the NT, nor by the examples of Jesus and Paul.

        I am aware from your other writings that you are not generally so reductionist. However I do know a couple of (single) people who are interested in church, but whenever they have made the effort to go along they get hit by some sort of comment which (to them) says that church is all about families, and maybe young couples, but not them. So they go away again.

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