I personally believe the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to revisit the idea of homosexuals being welcomed within the ranks of scouting is overdue. I received my eagle scout as a young man in the scouting program, and currently am an eleven year old scout leader in a LDS troop. My thoughts are not the official position of the LDS church, but are influenced by my religious orientation.
Boy Scouts has long been an inclusive organization, welcoming troops and individuals from many religions, Muslim, Jewish, and Christian in all its many variants – Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, etc… – as boys are turned into men. Some of the stated goals of scouting are to encourage boys to do their duty to God, and to be morally straight. Scouting has traditionally defined these goals in general terms, and left the specifics up to the individual scout’s religious leaders to define the details. Scouting’s role in my opinion is to continue in this non-denominational support of the individual sponsoring institutions’ religious belief systems.
In regards to the specifics of boys or leaders in scouts who identify themselves as gay, being homosexual, identifying oneself as gay, is not a sin. It does not violate a scout’s stated duty to God or the oath to be morally straight. Self identification as gay is not a sin, acting on that identification is. The same standard applies to boys and men who are gay, as to those who are not; absolute chastity before marriage and complete fidelity to one’s spouse after marriage.
We all have challenges in life, but yours are not mine, and vice versa. We should not judge others because they sin differently than we do. Being gay is a challenge which can lead to morally objectionable choices, but that is no different than the paths all who are not gay face in their own lives.
The perception, or self identification, of being homosexual is not a sin. It may be a temptation, but it is not a sin. It is the action on that self perception, that temptation, which is the sin. Once again this is the same standard which applies to all the divers challenges and temptations we individually face. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Himself was tempted in all things, as we are, yet was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). It is no sin to be tempted. Sin only lies in succumbing, giving in to the temptation.
It is unconscionable to judge someone because they sin differently than we do. We have all sinned, and but for the grace of Christ, come short of the throne of God (Romans 3:23).
Currently there are already many who self identify as homosexual in the Boy Scouts of America, both boys and leaders. The problem is they are now closeted, living a lie – they are not accepted by the BSA. In other words, the current official scout position on homosexuality is placing an awful burden on these boys and men, who wish to be scouts; a choice to disregard the scout law and its injunction to be trustworthy and remain closeted, or to abandon scouting and its benefits and support system in favor of coming out. In accordance with the above discussion, there is no reason in the scout oath or law barring these individuals from full and open membership in the Boy Scouts of America. I encourage the scouting program to change their stance on homosexuality.
The scouting years are formative, and therein lies the power of the scouting movement, the ability to help boys grow into men. The challenges of gender identity often strike in these same formative years. The Boy Scouts of America should be there to help all boys, regardless of gender attraction, grow into manhood, so that they may live the Scout oath and law to their dying day.