Gays, Boy Scouts and Catholics

by Steve Ray on May 26, 2013

Thoughts for Catholics impacted by the Boy Scouts of America membership policies, by Dr. Edward Peters

Steve Ray’s Comments Below.

Two groups of Catholics are directly impacted by the decision of the Boy Scouts of America to formally admit as scouts youth who profess a same-sex orientation, namely, Catholic sponsoring organizations and Catholic scouts and their families. As always (See Disclaimer no. 1 to the right), I speak only for myself in what follows.


Part One, whether Catholic organizations may sponsor Boy Scouts.

Preliminary points. First, the Church’s absolute rejection of homosexual acts and her description of same-sex attraction as objectively “disordered” (CCC 2357) is not subject to question among Catholics. Second, the Church calls on persons who experience same-sex attraction “to fulfill God’s will in their lives” (CCC 2358) and to practice chastity (CCC 2359) which, for them as for all unmarried persons, connotes complete continence (CCC 2349-2350). Third, the Church warns society to avoid “every sign of unjust discrimination” against those who experience same-sex attraction (CCC 2358).

Now, the policy adopted by the Boy Scouts states in pertinent part: “No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.”

Immediate observations. First, the policy applies only to youth members (males aged 11 thru 17 and, I assume, single), not to adult leaders who, per the Supreme Court decision in Boy Scouts v. Dale (2000)—a case that I think was decided correctly—are excluded based on a same-sex orientation.

Second, on its face the policy applies only to membership in the Boy Scouts and not necessarily to participation in all Boy Scout activities; intentionally or not, this narrow phrasing seems to leave open some questions about how a membership policy might be applied to reasonable concerns over participation in certain activities.

Third, nothing in the new policy or in Boy Scout literature endorses or advocates the gay life style; in fact all members are prohibited from using the Boy Scouts to promote “any social or political position or agenda”.

These three points being noted, the revised policy may be scrutinized from a Catholic point-of-view as follows.

To read the whole review, click HERE.

Steve’s Comment: Does anyone think that once the camel gets his nose under the tent that he won’t eventually end up inside the tent and chasing everyone else out? We may accept this decision (or we may not) but anyone who knows how the gay agenda works knows full well that they are not happy to be accepted — they want us all to celebrate their gay-ness. If we don’t we are the bigots.

Though I agree with Dr. Peters concerning the legal matters here, I must say that I don’t like the smell of the whole thing. Predictions are unavoidable because we don’t live in a vacuum and we have too much history and practical experience not to have logical predictions. What will be the gay’s next move on the Scouts — since they will never be happy to just leave things are they are? The camel is never interested in putting only his nose in the tent.

No one who loves traditional families, prolife and sanity among the sexes can be happy with this decision because on the face of it it legitimizes (whether is says so outwardly or not) the gay way of thinking. It will also make it very uncomfortable for boys who will be leery of stepping into a shower with an openly gay boy, or sharing a tent with him. But if he shows any hesitancy it will be HIM that is penalized and discriminated against.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. My guess is that it will have devastating effects on a very wholesome institution.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Jed May 26, 2013 at 9:22 AM

The recent decision by the scout “leadership” has fundamentally changed the core values of scouting, altered its mission, and alienated countless thousands of people. This is a sad indicator of how our country is turning a down a road of political correctness from which we may never return. The Church is, and always has been, our last hope to preserve civilization.

William Meyer May 26, 2013 at 1:34 PM

As always, we face the problem of the frog in the pot of water on the stove. By small increments, the liberals seek to advance their agenda, desensitizing people to the realities of right and wrong. As you say, Dr. Peters is literally correct about the legal aspects, but overlooks the sad reality of the last 100+ years.

For my part, I must raise my concerns to my pastor, as our parish is host to a BSA troop. If anyone believes that this policy change is not the precursor of a complete suspension of principles with respect to sexual “orientation” (perversion is perversion, whether rectified by secular populations or not), is keeping his head firmly in the sand.

That said, even a total victory for the gay lobby in this matter would represent only another increment. The real goal is the elimination of right and wrong as principles for living, and the elimination from all religious principles from the public square, and eventually, the entire population.

Ricardo Boncan May 26, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Hit the nail on the head Steve.

mpope May 26, 2013 at 4:51 PM

it would appear that many US diocese disagree with you, Steve:

STEVE RAY HERE: There is nothing that I said that disagrees with Church teaching. You need to read the diocesan statements and my words more clearly. My opposition, and theirs too, is the openly gay agenda.

“Gay boys” could always have joined the Boy Scouts as long as they don’t talk about it. Heterosexuals shouldn’t be talking about it either at this age. They should be building campfires and learning how to do first aid.

But what this decision has done is given “gay boys” with an agenda to openly express and even boast of their gay sexuality and therefore becomes a big issue. This is only the beginning.

Steve Ray May 26, 2013 at 9:06 PM

I tried to post this in comments on your blog, but Wordpress wasn’t cooperating. Anyway, I thought this would interest you. In the wake of the BSA decision, Taylor Marshall has proposed a Catholic scouting program. It seems to be taking off like wildfire. Here’s the initial blog post about it:

and here’s the follow-up post:

Thanks for all your wonderful work!

Judith C. Bettinger
Headmistress, Bettinger Academy for Wayward Children
“Parce virgam tollere liberos.”

mpope May 28, 2013 at 8:12 PM

Steve, I read the EWTN news report to mean several US diocese support the admission of gay scouts a demonstration of upholding human dignity. I read your blog to mean that, by virtue of the ‘camel’s nose’ argument, you are in opposition to the BSA admission of gay scouts, and I also read it as something of a rebuttal to Dr Peters’ blog on the same topic.

But my link to the EWTN article reads as curt. I’m sorry. It’s the only submission (of several attempts) that wasn’t rejected on the grounds of being “spammy.” (I too, tried several times to post the link Dr Taylor Marshall’s BSA alternative but I was prevented by wordpress.)

my husband and I, parents of an Eagle Scout, ended our participation in BSA more than a decade ago because the Troops in which our younger sons participated failed to uphold the “morally straight” aspect of the BSA oath. boys regularly engaged in lewd conversations of sexual exploits (real or imagined), pornography was passed around at camp-outs. Adult Scouters dismissed the behavior as “boys will be boys.” We would not continue to put our sons in such close proximity to occasion of sin.

I wonder that such lax troops will now find themselves entirely ill equipped for the task of upholding the ‘morally straight’ aspect of the oath.

still, i believe lifting the ban (while re-iterating the enforcement of moral behavior) is the right choice. might the admission of openly gay tweens and teens while upholding morality within the troop, be, practically speaking, (as you suggest) an untenable position? yes. it may be. might BSA fall apart? sadly, yes. it might. and yet, i believe our Christian priority is to uphold human dignity AND to choose morally straight environments for our sons. BSA may not score on both counts.

David Ulmer May 29, 2013 at 3:09 AM

Every time I submit my comment it tells me that I am spammy.

David Ulmer May 29, 2013 at 3:10 AM

I keep trying but it may be my gaurdian angel keeping my rant from print, oh well. I’ll give it to God

JesseRay May 29, 2013 at 1:30 PM

The good doctor has his lenses dialed in at 100x to inspect the exact wording of the policy. Sadly one cannot focus on what is going on around them when they are looking through a microscope.

The letter of the law says one thing, the practice will be another thing all together…and the change was unnecessary: we already had the blessing of the Supreme court.

Steve Ray May 30, 2013 at 9:50 AM

STEVE RAY HERE: I want to make clear that the post below is not written by me. David Ulmer tried to post it and was unable to so he emailed and asked me to post it for him. I neither endorse nor deny what he has written – it is his own post and I thank him for reading and posting on my blog.
Steve Ray,
Thanks for letting me send this. Obviously, you won’t post it if it seems too harsh. Perhaps it is because I am a convert that I am missing something here but I am so sad at the lack of concern over this and horrified at the actual praise for the decision coming out of some dioceses. Oh well here’s my comment:

This is a little of what I would like to write to Dr. Peters (he doesn’t take comments) and I think that he completely misses the point. I thought that you were until I read one of your responses. Being his friend maybe you could help him.

Here is the point. Gay is not okay. That sums it up. The boy scouts just declared, by changing their policy, that gay is okay. God created male and female. There is no category of “gay”. Homosexual is not a legitimate identity. It is a real temptation for many young men in our hyper sexualized, gay affirming culture, just as masturbation and use of porn. The scouts don’t ban boys who struggle with masturbation no matter what type of porn they respond to, but a scout can’t say I’m a Masturbator Scout. He can’t come in and make that his identity, whether he actually does the act or not. The change accepts and places side by side as an identity gay with the term “BOY”. As far as I am concerned it is no longer the boy scouts, but the gay scouts. The change has now redefined the term boy (in boy scouts) to mean something other than God’s design and the original purpose of the scouts. A boy is a young man. A man’s identity is male, masculine, and like Christ. A man is not a homosexual or gay, period. Dr. Peters talks as though God created male, female, and homosexual. A boy has a natural orientation. So many Catholics seem to ignore “intrinsic disorder”. The issue is about identity. That is serious. By the grace of God my 14 year old understands that if he is going to remain true to the moral principles of the Boy Scouts then he cannot any longer remain associated with the Scouts. They have redefined themselves and reoriented the scouts. I’ve never been more proud of him. Doing what is morally right and standing up for the truth is more important than reaching the top of the mountain or the goal of Eagle. It is also manlier. Declaring that an intrinsically disordered orientation is acceptable is nothing but a blatant lie. The “camel” doesn’t have the decency to put his nose in the tent, he’s pushed his backside right in and into our faces and it makes me sick.

Worse than that is that most Catholics think it is just fine.

Mya Nameo June 2, 2013 at 7:38 PM

Well, the camel has poked in its nose and started chasing people out:

By the way, there is a scouting organization that is Catholic in nature and hasn’t gotten much press:

Ian June 3, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Hi Steve,

Now that the BSA has said they won’t reprimand scouts who break the new policy and march in Gay Rights parades, do you have any new comments to add?

Jesse Ray June 4, 2013 at 11:12 AM

mpope, it is deplorable that your son encountered such a morally corrupt environment in the BSA. People who fail to display morally straight behavior in the BSA should be reprimanded and kicked out. The fact that these poor leaders did not follow the rules does not make it ok for them to also allow other sexual deviations onto camping trips.

No one should define who they are by where they want to put their genitals. (point noted David Ulmer). I never heard of the BSA never rejected any boy, straight or with same-sex-aattraction, who kept their sexual exploits and desires to themselves.

Scouting should be a safe place where boys can be boys, start fires, sharpen knives, and climb mountains in a non sexually-charged environment. Inviting girls to go camping would have destroyed my experience as a scout, and encouraging boys to be open about attraction to their male tent mate will do the same. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” would have been a much better solution in my opinion.

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