COLUMBUS, Oh. (BNc) by Greg Tidwell — Scouting came to the United States from England in 1910 and quickly became identified with American character and with traditional American values. The conflict which surrounds scouting today is a reflection of the deep divisions existing in American society.
Recently, in response to pressure from homosexual activists, shipping giant UPS said it will not contribute to the Boy Scouts of America since the group discriminates against homosexuals. Last year UPS gave more than $85,000 to the Boy Scouts.
We are seeing increased discrimination in America against those who hold traditional values. We are expected to support with our tax dollars organizations such as Planned Parenthood which is the nation’s largest abortion provider, and public education which is homosexual-tolerant or homosexual-promoting. The social liberals, however, are aggressively attempting to silence anyone who differs from their perspective.
The Boy Scouts of America is a private organization which exists for the benefit of youth. At each scout meeting, the youth and their leaders make a promise:
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;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.
While there are differences of opinion, the overwhelming majority of those involved in scouting see homosexual activity as contradicting the concept of being “morally straight.”
I certainly pray the Boy Scouts do not give in to the pressure, and that men and women of conviction will rise to their support.
As my sons are away in college, I have had time to reflect on the years they spent in scouting. While most of their friends in scouting were from various denominations, the program gave them the opportunity to spend time with young men who shared similar values.
At our congregation, scouts have had the opportunity to go through the Servant Leadership Series offered by Members of Churches of Christ for Scouting – an organization which exists to promote scouting among churches of Christ. (You can find out more about this program at goodservant.org)
The media has made much of the sexual indiscretions of certain scout leaders, but the events recently in the news occurred a half century ago and involved a miniscule percentage of the Boy Scouts. Even so, the Boy Scouts have put in place over the past two decades the most extensive program of youth protection possible. I have always believed my sons were completely safe with the men and women who led them in scouting.
I cannot overstate how proud I was to see my sons work to become Eagle Scouts. They were able to put their convictions into practice in countless acts of service to others. I would hate to see this productive program harmed to score political points.
Greg Tidwell is editor of Gospel Advocate magazine and was a Boy Scout chaplain. He preaches with the Fishinger Road church in Columbus, Oh.