During his campaign for a second term, Barack Obama spent a lot of time accusing Republicans of waging a "War on Women." Of course, he spoke from experience. He and his party, the Democrats, know a lot about waging wars on various parts of American society that they don't like. In point of fact, they have been waging war on boys for some time. In her book, "The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminismis Harming our Young Men," Christina Hoff Sommers wrote that public-school educators – most of them liberal Democrats – have been trying to brand boyhood as a pathology. This allows them to treat boys with drugs like Ritalin. In 2008, the Washington Post reported that 10% of American boys were on Ritalin therapy – in many cases, simply so they will sit still and "behave like girls."
This is bad enough, but the decade-long campaign against the Boys Scouts of America by militant homosexuals is far more ominous. Gays demand entre to the BSA, as both members and leaders, on grounds that their exclusion due to sexual proclivity is discriminatory. In reality, gays see a rich recruiting ground in the Scouts for their perverted lifestyle. If successful, they will gain access to the core of emerging American manhood. They will also have turned American morality away from the Judeo-Christian ethic on which the country has been based since its founding. These are key elements in gays' quest for legitimacy in American culture and society.
The key issue in this struggle for the boyhood of America is the BSA's strict moral code, which prohibits any homosexual activity within its ranks, and denies access, as either leaders or members, to any boys or men of that sexual proclivity. This stricture is contained explicitly in the Scout Oath, which every scout must affirm: i.e.,
"On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country, and to obey the Scout Law;
to help other people at all times; and to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight."
The Boys Scouts have been grimly hanging on for the last 15 years, despite a barrage of attacks from gays – primarily on issues of discrimination. In its 2000 ruling on Boys Scouts of America, et al vs. Dale, the Supreme Court ruled that the constitutional right to freedom of association allows a private organization like the BSA to exclude a person from membership when "the presence of that person affects in a significant way the group's ability to advocate public or private viewpoints." This means that social, political, and religious viewpoints need not be embraced by organizations committed to opposing views. Thus, a Jewish group may not be compelled to admit a holocaust-denier as a member or leader, since the denier's views would affect the group's central purpose.
Dale was a landmark victory for the BSA. It apparently settled the legal issues, but gays simply took another tack, attacking along financial lines instead. In San Diego, CA, a lesbian couple sued over the BSA's long-term lease from the city of an 18-acre site in Balboa Park. The city received a token rental of $1 plus a service fee of $2500, each year. The couple claimed they were denied access to the park because of the Boy Scouts' greatly discounted rental. In 2003 a lower court ruled that the city's 50-year lease with the Boy Scouts at the discounted rental was unconstitutional. But early this year the Ninth Circuit Court struck down that decision and restored the BSA's long-term lease agreement with San Diego, ruling that the financial discounts were "incidental."
Gay-advocacy groups are not throwing in the towel, however. Along with a steady campaign to have their lifestyle favorably depicted on television and in cinema, gays have been pressing companies who have sponsored the Boys Scouts financially to discontinue that patronage over the "discrimination" issue. This is ironic, of course, since no commercial concern would dream of hiring employees who disapproved of or spoke out against the company's products. Such "discrimination" would seem perfectly sensible. Yet those same companies might now withdraw support from the Scouts for doing essentially the same. Gay acolytes have converted their cause to a civil rights issue by aligning with past issues of racial equality. Many blacks strongly object to this, but compliant, gay-aligned media continue to push the issue.
In recent years, major donors to the Scouts, including UPS, Intel Corp., and the Merck Foundation, have discontinued their financial support, citing discrimination against gays. Their contributions have been significant. UPS, for instance, donated $150,000 to the BSA in 2010. A list of corporate sponsors who have withdrawn support is not generally available, but the financial losses have obviously begun to alarm the BSA. Early this year the organization announced that its leadership was considering changing its national prohibition against gay members and leaders in favor of allowing local regions and troops to decide their own policies on the matter. This would make the Scouts an unpredictable mish-mash of policies across the country.
The proposed policy change has produced mixed reactions. Corporate sponsors generally seem relieved that they will no longer have to choose between ending their patronage of the Scouts or contending with unfavorable publicity and angry harassment of their customer base by gay activists. Donating to civic-betterment organizations like the Scouts has long been regarded as an important corporate "good work," but having it become a contentious issue that might damage a company's business creates a problem that businesses don't need.
Some parents of boys who participate in the BSA programs also responded positively to the proposed change, but it's fair to say that most parents expressed doubt or outright hostility. One of my sons has three sons in the Boy Scouts. The outdoor activities and merit-badge programs have been very positive for all of them. He was doubtful, however, about continuing if gays are admitted as members or leaders.
Critics tend to call such attitudes "bigoted," but they constitute a realistic attitude toward a strong sexual proclivity that is nearly uncontrollable in some men. I know this from experience – fortunately not first-hand. When I was a boy, our scoutmaster – a man in his mid-30s – customarily took several of the scouts with him on an annual spring fishing trip to Florida. Ultimately it was disclosed that he usually molested several of the boys during each trip. He later served time in prison for his crimes. My friend Daryl – two years my senior and far more "street-smart" than I – knew about the danger and kept me from going on any of the trips. (Daryl died in his 30s of a rheumatic heart. God bless him for the protection he gave me.)
In a discussion with my son, we agreed that things might work out if local troops and regions were allowed to decide the issue for themselves. On the other hand, there would still be sectional or national events where troops of varying attitudes toward the gay issue might come together. This could expose some boys to unwelcome influences. It would be very difficult to control such situations. The localized policy would almost certainly crash as soon as an incident occurred.
Ultimately, the policy-change might induce a schism in the BSA, resulting in formation of an alternate organization which adhered to the old standards and policies. It would amount to "secession" from the BSA, much like the recent secession of numerous congregations from the Episcopal Church USA over the ordination of gay clergy and bishops. The seceding congregations have re-associated with the Nigerian Communion of the Worldwide Anglican Church. Financial issues are in play for many of them.
At this writing, it is impossible to tell which way things will go for the Boy Scouts. Supporters of the Scouts' traditional policies have not yet coalesced around a course of action. My counsel would be that they keep in mind the fact that money is a central issue in the "business" of scouting. If a strong private movement can help replace the funding lost from withdrawal of corporate patronage, the BSA's leadership might be persuaded to hold the line on the traditional morality – thereby preventing a damaging split and keeping intact an organization that has served the country well for over 100 years.
Beyond the funding issue, I believe that the corporate sponsors who have bowed to gay pressure will come to admire the Scouts' strong stand on the principle of their freedom to associate with people whose moral values align with those of the organization. With intelligent lobbying and publicity from the BSA, those companies can be shown that the Scouts' policies resemble their own policies for hiring staff who are aligned with the companies' products and services.
Ironically, we can actually take a lesson here from gay activists. They don't quit just because a decision goes against them. They just keep going, pressing, working. They don't change their objective. We need to do the same. We don't have to fold or abandon important principles. The corporate sponsorship is just a skirmish in a long war. In the end, we'll prevail if we hold fast.