Scouts Use Kids for Pride Propaganda in Seattle
Monday, in Seattle, the Boy Scouts marched in the local Pride Parade. Rainbow flags were held aloft by a line of boys marching behind another row with American flags. The LGBT flags were displayed on poles several feet higher than the flags of our country.
On a personal level, this pains me. I was raised in a Seattle suburb. With my family, I attended other types of parades in downtown Seattle when that city was truly the gem of the Pacific Northwest instead of a grim hub of drug abuse, mental illness, and rampant crime.
For more than a decade, my sons were involved in every level of Scouting, and I with them. It was a tremendous experience — goofy songs, pitching tents in the pouring rain, shooting water balloons with a gigantic sling-shot, and a whole lot of skill-learning and leadership development. We camped in frigid cold and suffocating heat. We hiked, laughed, and became like a big extended family. One of my sons was inducted into the Order of the Arrow, Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) national honor society. Both of them were well on their way to becoming Eagle Scouts.
Then, in 2014, former Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who was critical to ending the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the U.S. military, was named as president of the BSA. He and a number of corporate leaders, including then-ExxonMobil leader and future Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, led the charge for repeal of the BSA’s more than 100-year policy of not allowing open homosexuality in Scouting.
So, in July 2015, the Scouts decided to allow young men who publicly identified as homosexual to participate in Scouting. Historically, while no boy was removed from Scouting for struggles he had with sexual matters, there was a clear line drawn between helping troubled youths and affirming sexual practices at odds with the biblical foundations of the Scouting movement.
With many others, I recognized that the initial decision was only the first step toward the radical sexualization of Scouting. Soon, other barriers fell — openly LGBT-identifying Scout leaders, youth who identify as transgender, and now even girls are happily welcomed into the Boy Scouts of America.
An organization that seems unwilling, now, even to define what a man is can no longer be true to its original stated mission, defined in its 1916 federal charter as “to promote … the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in Scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues.”
Instead, the BSA has adopted a politically correct and poorly defined new purpose: “to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes” according to “the values of the Scout Oath and Law.” “Ethical and moral choices” — by what standard? The Scout Oath and Law use terms that were drawn from the organization’s Judeo-Christian background. Yet those standards are, today, not only being reinterpreted by a highly secular culture but often derided as archaic and “hateful.”
Now, too, the BSA has finally had to come to terms with its multi-decade cover-up of massive sexual abuse within the organization. In 2020, after hundreds of men had sued the organization over its failure to protect them from sexual predation, the BSA declared bankruptcy. And as explained by Congressional Quarterly’s Barbara Mantel, “Approximately 85,000 men have come forward since then,” demanding compensation from the Scouts for what they endured as boys or teenagers.
Mantel continues that Scouting’s many changes “have sparked a feud with the Girl Scouts of the USA, the loss of many members to alternative Christian organizations, and a fierce debate about what values the iconic organization should embrace.”
The result of all of this? As the Associated Press reports, “Membership for the BSA’s flagship Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA programs dropped from 1.97 million in 2019 to 1.12 million in 2020, a 43% plunge … Court records show membership has fallen further since then, to about 762,000.”
Had the BSA dealt forthrightly with the sexual deviance within its ranks and upheld its allegiance to the values it espoused, the implosion of the organization could have been prevented. While some loss of membership might have taken place due to the increasing prominence of youth sports leagues and growing urbanization, the collapse of America’s premier leadership group for boys and young men could have been avoided.
Thankfully, Trail Life USA has emerged as a truly Christian alternative to Scouting. My family knows this firsthand; after leaving Scouting, my sons became among the first 10 young men in Virginia to earn Trail Life’s highest award, the Freedom Rangeman award.
So, as Cub Scouts are carrying banners celebrating tragic expressions of human sexuality, thousands of other boys in Seattle and around the country are learning that confident and compassionate masculinity is both good and needed. That’s something Christians can truly celebrate.
Rob Schwarzwalder is a Senior Lecture in Regent University’s Honors College.
Rob Schwarzwalder, Ph.D., is Senior Lecturer in Regent University's Honors College.