Skip to comments.Thoughts for Catholics impacted by the Boy Scouts of America membership policies
Posted on 05/26/2013 1:56:19 PM PDT by NYer
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 Churchs 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 Gods 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 correctlyare 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.
(1) Granted that the non-discrimination principle outlined in CCC 2358 rings platitudinously (for unjust discrimination is never licit!), if the principle therein means anythingand I think it doesit means that the burden of proof lies on those who would discriminate against persons experiencing same-sex attraction to justify that discrimination.
Now in some respects discrimination (e.g., refusing to recognize “same-sex marriage” or prohibiting the admission of homosexuals to seminary) can and should be defended among Catholics. But, that same-sex attraction itself (which is the only factor addressed by the policy), should bar membership (which is the only application of the policy) in a secular organization seems difficult to argue; to propose further that maintaining such a bar is a litmus test for Catholic sponsorship of an organization seems even less tenable. Consider: same-sex attraction, standing alone, does not prohibit one from being a fully initiated Catholic. To argue, therefore, that, say, a Catholic parish must hold a sponsored organization to a higher membership standard than it holds itself to is at best anomalous.
(2) An official statement accompanying the new policy reinforces that Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting. Such a statement, oft repeated, seems wholly in-line with sound Catholic teaching against sexual activity outside of marriage and stands in welcome contrast to the indifference toward premarital sex shown by some other youth organizations let alone to some groups partnering with the likes of Planned Parenthood. Indeed, aside from youth programs expressly oriented toward chastity, I know of no other secular organization that so clearly declares all sexual conduct by its youth members to be contrary to its values as does the Boy Scouts.
In my opinion, these two points suffice to relieve Catholic organizations from concerns that their sponsorship of the Boy Scouts is, at least at present, incompatible with Church teaching on human sexuality.
Part Two, whether Catholic organizations or individuals may dissociate themselves from Boy Scouts without fear of giving bad example to others.
At one level, this one is easy: there is no obligation to sponsor or join Boy Scouts in the first place, so there is no objection to refraining from or cancelling sponsorship and/or membership in the Boy Scouts. But would such disassociation give a sign of unjust discrimination against homosexuals?
I think not.
My decade-long experience of Scouting (Eagle, 1975) was a healthy and entirely sex-free adventure. Part of the angst, even anger, that one sees in the wake of the recent Boy Scout decision is really, I suspect, distress over the fact that, now, the almost unique opportunity that the Boy Scouts offerednamely, space for boys to be boys (and not, as society increasingly treats them, as actual or prospective participants in sexually-tinged interactions)seems compromised.
Scouting requires serious commitments of time, talent, and treasure. If Catholic sponsoring organizations and/or member families cant conclude that the Boy Scouts are able (perhaps through no fault of their own) to deliver a youth program that actually operates within the parameters expressly (and I think defensibly) asserted by the Boy Scouts, then those Catholic organizations and families will likely decide that burdens of Boy Scout affiliation exceed the benefits.
But, unless and until that conclusion is demonstrated on the evidence (and not largely on predictions), and notwithstanding that some elements of the gay lobby are likely treating the Boy Scouts as pawns in their own wider projects, I think that Catholics may, and should, take the Boy Scouts at their word.
For now, at any rate.
Sorry, no sale. The BSA is dead.
I recall reading somewhere that this age bracket is the most vulnerable to experiment with sex and are the most vulnerable for ssa. Anyone else have more details on this?
I’d say the Catholic church has stopped following their own rules for a long time.
This is a real shame.
My son became an Eagle Scout this year. I’d hate to be in his shoes.
“But, that same-sex attraction itself (which is the only factor addressed by the policy), should bar membership (which is the only application of the policy) in a secular organization seems difficult to argue; to propose further that maintaining such a bar is a litmus test for Catholic sponsorship of an organization seems even less tenable. Consider: same-sex attraction, standing alone, does not prohibit one from being a fully initiated Catholic. To argue, therefore, that, say, a Catholic parish must hold a sponsored organization to a higher membership standard than it holds itself to is at best anomalous.”
This is where the error lies. The Church can and does often impose a requirement higher than simple Catholicity to participate in certain parish activities. For example. There is a requirement on the choir to have an in-tune singing voice - to be able to since along with the head of the choir. There’s the requirement for the priests himself that are well above the membership. For Catholic teachers - the Church doesn’t require that the students be Catholic - but it does require them to abide by the teachings of the Church, and requires that the teachers teach a curricula that is compatible with the Catholic church. A student who is openly gay is considered to be in defiance of this principle, and our school, as well as other schools, can ask them to leave.
The key point here - is ‘openly gay’. A boy scout who is openly gay and practicing, cannot be admitted to a Catholic Boy Scout group for the same reason that the Catholic school asks that the students, if not Catholic - respect the teachings of the Church. Why?
The responsibility is on the Catholic church to protect the students in their charge - many of whom are Catholic themselves, from scandal.
What happens if one of these gay boys do sodomize another, younger boy in the full view of the Catholic parish? Are we really going to get away with saying that the requirements of Catholicity permitted us to admit another child who was in open defiance to the teachings of the Catholic church? Does it absolve us of our fiduciary responsibility to all the children to protect them from abuse? No, no, it does not. We have the numbers and we have the facts. Letting openly gay boys in will result in the sodomizing of these boys. Knowing what we know now and then proceeding to put these children in harms way isn’t going to be a justification against wilfull negligence.
You mean some sinful Catholics have stopped following the rules of the church (the rules haven't changed)? Why phrase the question in such a vituperative manner? Perhaps you know of a church in which the membership does not sin?
So, boys who are attracted to other boys should participate in overnights with them?
Exactly how low an IQ must one have not to see the problem?
The new policy allows OPENLY GAY AND PROFESSING GAY boys into the scouts. They cannot be excluded.
It follows that scout leaders will not be allowed to “discriminate” against gay scouts—which means that they will not be permitted to tell ANY Boy Scouts that gay sex is wrong. And other Scouts will not be allowed to express their feelings about gay behavior, because that would be “bullying.”
In other words, the new policy requires everyone connected with scouting to express their approval of being gay.
So, this argument is demonstrably unsupportable. You cannot in good conscience remain a Catholic and support or belong to the Boy Scouts.
Invent a law or condition or problem that is REALLY self excplanatory left alone ... but .. noooooooo ...
Then, pick the damned thing apart and end up with a violation of what the condition of society was in the first place.
The sky is hereby green
No it's not .. just a shade of aqua
the sky is not green, but also not blue
Henceforth the sky is more greeen than blue ... thus ... the sky is green..
This is typical lawyer language. Or may I call it Bull Excrement.
The Church will soon find that legally the BSA can no longer deny leadership to adult active Homosexuals. The Law Suits are already being filed and the BSA will once again spend MILLLIONS of DOLLARS to defend their new membership rules, but this time they will lose, because you can not distinguish between an 18 year old by one day and a seventeen year old with one day till his 18th birthday.
It was always all or nothing with the Homo Lobby and they pushed over and over to allow for their degenerate lifestyle to be acceptable. They are relentless and when given an inch they take a mile.
First it was the idea that they where not mentally ill, just the opposite side of the same phychologicaly correct coin. Then it was the dropping of sodomy and laws against public immorality. Now it is the forcing of not acceptance, but praising of their degeneracy through marital status and monetary benefits. It will soon be the elimination of consent laws to allow them unfettered access to prey upon the teen age and pre teen youth of society.
I believe that this is a losing rear guard action (No pun intended) by the BSA. One they are destined to lose because they where moral cowards at the time it was most important for them to hold to their principals to be morally straight.
This Cannon Lawyer is wrong in his analysis.
You don’t breed homosexuals....you pursue youths and trap them...fill them with guilt and there’s no way out....and voila...chalk up another homo
Like Christ says, “if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.”
Same with the Boy Scouts.
No Catholic will ever defend the indefensible. Most of the sex abuse that took place dates back to the 50's and earlier, long before JPII. I would ask you, however, what is being done in non-Catholic communities to stop predatory sex abuse of children? This is not limited to the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Church here, through its bishops in the USCCB, have implemented a program to prevent future occurrences. This includes all members of the community who come in contact with children, from janitors in the schools to volunteers who teach children at the parish level. We all are subjected to fingerprinting and a police background check. We are also required to attend classes on how to identify sexual predators and what actions to take. This is possible because of the centralized nature of the Catholic Church. It is also the reason why the media have been able to focus a laser beam on us. This is not possible in the non-Catholic denominations where there is no one to take responsibility.
Worse still, is the sex abuse of children in the education system.
And then there are the camp counselors, Big Brothers of America and the list goes on and on. There is plenty of guilt to go around. Even BSA has sex abuse lawsuits pending.
Unfortunately, this is a very shallow analysis from someone professing to be a canon lawyer.
He fails to consider the consequences of allowing opnely homosexual boys in the scouts, namely:
a) courts ruling that the BSA cannot force members out when they turn 18, barring them from being leaders,
b) increased chance of homosexual members preying or recruiting younger boys,
c) scouts having to be taught that the homosexual lifestlye is acceptable and to be tolerated so that they don’t practice discrimination (and be open to lawsuits), etc.
I dont like the way he parses sexual orientation as somehow separable from a persons actions. . We cannot know whether a boy is homosexual unless he tell us by word or action that he is. The Church is is putting itself into an impossible position by linking it with the word discrimination. The Scouts have now made themselves an ally of the Homosexual lobby. The ban on adults will soon be overthrown because the camel has got its nose under the tent. My guess is that the Church is itself in much the same boat because we do have so many homosexual priests, so many we really wonder what to do about them.
“””Id say the Catholic church has stopped following their own rules for a long time.
You mean some sinful Catholics have stopped following the rules of the church (the rules haven’t changed)? Why phrase the question in such a vituperative manner? Perhaps you know of a church in which the membership does not sin? “”””””””
It is not the sinners I am referring to, it is the church itself. Do you see the church raising hell with all the liberal politicians that are pro abortion? I don’t. Do you see the church going postal about gay marriage? Not me.
There are practical reasons for excluding openly gay scouts. Scouting in practice is based on the “buddy system” where an often older scout is paired with a younger one. Are we going to pair up two kids, one of which is openly gay, with a younger child? Do you pair two gay boys together in the same tent? Anyone see the problems here?