Be Prepared

I got caught flat-footed. Just after I posted my tribute to the Boy Scouts of America (and National Geographic as well) for not caving to GLAAD, the BSA put out word that they might renege on their stance.

I had failed in the Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared.” I have told people through the years that that little phrase helped make me who I am -- that it taught me from youth up to be agile and adaptable, and to expect, even welcome, danger and challenges with confidence. Because I was always prepared. Yet I was not prepared for this announcement.

As the traditional foundations of our society have crumbled around us, it had been a source of great satisfaction to me to see scouting hold on to the old formula: God, self, others. Those three things are what the three fingers of the Scout salute stand for. But the way things are going, the “God” part may soon fall, and soon I would expect the emphasis on “others,” including country, to diminish. That would make it an organization about “self,” much like oh-so-many others in our day (even some churches). With an accompanying one-finger salute. Ironically, “self” is the middle finger.

You may be saying, “Get scouting caught up with the times!” Make it relevant and cool! But when was scouting ever supposed to be cool? Even a long time ago, when I was a kid, Scouts were the “uncool.” That is where the “morally straight” part comes in. So it fit that scouting would take a stand against homosexual activity in its ranks. It took a stand against sexual immorality of any stripe. It took a stand FOR God, at least in the USA. We were not supposed to be cool in the worldly sense. 

Add to that the trust factor. It was hard enough for parents to trust others to take their sons out for training, for weekends or even weeks of camping and wilderness hikes. I remember a case where a church had to deal with rumors that one of the Scout leaders was secretly gay and that he had made moves on some of the boys. There was an explosion that almost tore the sponsoring church apart. The troop was demolished. What parents would want this to happen to their sons? One of the reasons they had SUPPORTED scouting so much was the simple fact that, in contrast to the “cool kids” parties and clubs and outings, this group was all about morality and self-discipline.

There was a time when to be an Eagle Scout meant that you had an automatic job at many companies. Some branches of the service at one time granted an officer’s commission. I was in a scout troop with a kid who has since become one of the true leaders in American business. His net worth is now in the billions. Yes, you would probably know his name. He built his company from scratch. I have been told that, once his company grew large, he would not hire senior executives unless they had been Eagle Scouts. That is what he thought of it.

If the Boy Scouts of America make this move, it is reported that they will still leave the option of keeping the ban on gay leaders and members to the local sponsors. What does that do? It removes liability for potential lawsuits and opens up thousands of churches and other organizations to legal targeting by groups that simply are there to pound a point.

Even worse, it removes a code of honor and decency regarding morality OF ALL KINDS from the entire movement. To many, that will be a death knell. To those of us who grew up in Scouts when times were different – we will always be Scouts, as founder Robert Baden-Powell himself expressed in his final letter (see below). To those who have not known such a movement or such a code yet, it may be time for someone else to rise up with a new movement and set a standard and retain it with a stronger spine.  We hope and pray that the Boys Scouts of America reconsider.

Try and leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best. 'Be Prepared' in this way, to live happy and to die happy — stick to your Scout Promise always — even after you have ceased to be a boy — and God help you to do it. (From Baden-Powell’s Final Letter to the Scouts. )


Well put, all three of you.

Both my parents were Scout leaders. Both brothers became Eagle scouts and both my sisters and myself attained First Class. But somehow, scouting was something my parents put us all into and something I grew up with, but I never had strong plans one way or another about putting our kids into scouting. Perhaps it's partly because my husband grew up hunting in remote areas is better at camping and adventuring than most scouts I know. And perhaps it's because there is so much lacking in the scouting experience that one only finds in the radically committed Christian experience.

I grew up going to church on Sundays, saying a set mealtime prayer before dinner and some sporadic catechism attendance. I did not have a childhood rich in Christian experience. I look at all the Christian discipleship our children are receiving at home, church, AWANA and Christian summer camp, and my scouting experience pales in comparison to the riches my children are receiving.

So, we are a committed Christian family. Who knew that one day in America that would be a radical lifestyle? Well, as Mo pointed out so well, that day is here.

Our God is a God who is worth living for, worth being ridiculed for, worth being imprisoned for, worth being tortured for, and worth dying for. And one day I might have to show that in my own life and in the lives of my family. I think the worst thing I can imagine is having my children being slowly tortured in front of me. In any and all of these awful scenarios, I pray that Jesus will keep me faithful to Himself. Thanks, Mo, for the reminder of the present and future we will have to endure.
I always thought the Boy Scouts were something from another time. I've never known anyone who participated in it. (And I'm not a youngin', I'm in my 40s!)

As I said in a comment on a different story, none of this surprises me. Individuals are terrified of being labeled bigots. Organizations are terrified of lawsuits or losing business. Everyone, everywhere continues to cave to the bullying of homosexuals and those who support them.

Others sincerely believe that homosexuality is okay, and so what can they do but view those who disagree as hateful bigots?


I'm not sure there's an answer here. At least, I don't have one.

We have to understand that this is getting ugly and will only get worse.

Are we ready?

Are we ready to lose friends, family members, maybe even our jobs? Are we ready to have threats made against us and even carried out?

This is where we are headed. Those who say, "Oh, you're exaggerating! It's not so bad. It'll never happen." are just kidding themselves.

Unless you hear the words of these folks, you may not understand how deeply they hate us. Go on YouTube. Go to the Comments section of any article on this topic. Post something on your Facebook or blog and see the response.

People *hate* us, and it's becoming more and more socially acceptable to say so openly.

Are we ready?
Looking ahead
This issue hits close to home. I have an 8-year-old Cub Scout, with two more sons to be joining Scouts in the next few years. I'm not mourning the loss of what was, but I am very concerned about what lies ahead.

For me, it's a matter of trust. I could trust the BSA to support the same values I'm teaching at home. I have to teach my kids to "selectively listen" to teachers and friends. But I know that they're hearing Truth at church and Scouts.

Scouts is a perfect example of a Christian worldview. The kids are being taught adventure skills and leadership, all with God as the foundation. Once that foundation begins to erode, the skills based on it begin to crumble as well.

Scouts has been a priority to my family. My son has missed many school outings and events, but no Scouting events. If they no longer reinforce what we're teaching, it won't matter as much either to us, or him, or to the world if he reaches Eagle Scout.
Thank you for commenting on yesterday's explosive news. With all the tragedy in our news recently, this one hit me especially hard. I was a Girl Scout way back when. With no brothers of my own, I married into an Eagle family. My husband and his 2 brothers earned their Eagle. Two of the older brother's sons earned their Eagle. And, my grandson earned his Eagle. This apparent change in the Laws will have an obviously adverse effect on the BSA. I mourn the loss of what was.

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