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Boy Scout Troops Prepare to Abandon BSA If Policy Changes Are Adopted

By Stu Nolan

In response to an announcement by the Boy Scouts of America that its Executive Board is considering leaving to local chartering organizations the discretion to allow participation by the homosexually active, the letter below was sent today to the BSA office of the Shenandoah Area Council and to the Arlington Diocese Catholic Committee on Scouting, as well as the National Catholic Committee on Scouting. You can read more about the BSA's contemplation of institutional suicide here.

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Text of the Letter to Shenandoah Area Council of BSA, copied to National Catholic Committee on Scouting and to the Arlington Diocese Catholic Committee on Scouting.

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This relates to the Boy Scouts of America's announcement (see below) that it is considering a reversal of its ban on homosexual activity in Scouting.

As a preliminary matter, it is not especially helpful for any policy regarding homosexuality to focus on so-called "sexual orientation". The Catholic Church, for example, does not teach that it is a sin to experience same-sex attraction. Rather, it is deviant sexual activity that is problematic and objectionable -- as is a lack of clarity when attempting to form youth who understand that this is so.

Moreover, BSA should not be condoning any sexual activity within the context of Scouting, other than that which occurs between a married adult leader and his wife.

Furthermore, many of those inclined to initiate sexual abuse of minors are known to be attracted to leadership positions in youth organizations. Strong empirical evidence suggests the risk is even greater where male homosexuals staff organizations whose members include many males approaching their 18th birthday. For a youth organization already struggling (as all youth organizations must) to ensure adequate protection of its members, any contribution to a climate of sexual permissiveness at all, and especially permissiveness of leadership by "active homosexuals", should not strike right thinking persons as a particularly prudent measure.

But let us move on to the more immediate issue at hand.

The BSA has is in recent years maintained an admirable record in the battle against moral relativism. The change under consideration would retreat from that record and would hopelessly compromise the integrity of the institution. At a minimum, the proposed change would render hollow the portions of the Scout Oath that pledges to be "morally straight" and likewise undermine the Scout Law commitment being "Clean and Reverent".

We live in an age when heroism is required of our leaders, and the BSA, which many of us assumed would play a vital role in training those leaders, is contemplating capitulation instead. It is profoundly disappointing to see such a proud institution come so close to betraying its principles in an ill-informed effort to side-step controversy.

It is not sufficient to delegate to others the burden of upholding convictions for which an entire institution used to stand. If the Boy Scouts of America are to lack the courage to remain committed to Truth, my sons will not belong to the Boy Scouts of America, and I would likewise discourage other parents from allowing their children to participate in the BSA.

With yesterday's announcement standing in stark contrast to a decision released in June of last year, absent confirmation from the other adult leaders, parents, and in particular the headmaster of our chartering organization, I simply cannot say for certain the troop will wish to continue to function as an affiliate of the BSA. Thus, Troop 1212 in Front Royal, VA, will await reaffirmation of the current policy prior to submitting its charter renewal.

As you are well aware, whether the troop decides to dissolve is not my authority alone. However, in the unfortunate event that the proposed change is adopted, I strongly suspect that Troop 1212 would choose dissolution as a BSA Troop and that the participants in the current troop would re-organize pursuant to a non-BSA charter.

Moreover, I hereby pledge that in the event the proposed change is adopted, even if BSA Troop 1212 does not dissolve, I will resign as its Scoutmaster. In addition, I would use every resource at my disposal to facilitate the launching of an alternative organization that would preserve a true youth formation program in the best tradition of Scouting, even if BSA has by that time recklessly abandoned that tradition.

In any event, the families, institutions, and values that our troop was established to serve will continue to benefit from the tradition for which the BSA has stood, even if we can no longer do so as members of the BSA.

Please pass this message along the appropriate channels within Boy Scouts of America hierarchy.

Stu Nolan,
Scoutmaster
BSA Troop 1212

Be joyful in hope, patient in adversity, and faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)

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