Perspectives: Scouting’s connection to personal freedom

OPINION – Doing the right thing isn’t always easy. This is especially true when a matter of conscience requires standing up to the crowd.

For years, the Boy Scouts of America have been under relentless social pressure to begin admitting openly homosexual scouts and leaders into the organization. Recently, the BSA undertook a confidential two-year review of their policy before affirming that the institutional principles that have guided them for over a century would remain rooted in traditional religious morality.

Following the announcement that Scouting’s core standards will not be discarded for the sake of popularity, a predictable chorus of outrage has erupted. By holding to their stated values of duty to God, country, others, and self, the Boy Scouts are accused of marginalizing homosexuals in much the same way they were accused of denigrating atheists a few years ago.

It’s not as if those whose values differ from the Boy Scouts are being prevented from starting their own organizations. But instead of creating an institution and persuading others to embrace the inclusive message they wish to share, these pressure groups prefer to tear down what others have built. Rather than defining and promoting their own ideals, the protestors presume to redefine the purposes, standards, and criteria for membership for the BSA through compulsory association.

There have undoubtedly been homosexual scouts and scout leaders throughout the years. But by refusing to make their sexual behavior a matter of their public identity, they were able to contribute to scouting without commandeering the program in order to make a personal political statement.

Anyone who has spent time working within the Boy Scouts can attest that scouting has helped millions of young men become better men in their personal and public lives. Recognition as an Eagle Scout opens doors in the public and private sector alike because it serves as evidence of good character and leadership. The scouting program sets the bar high by encouraging its members to stay physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

If the Boy Scouts were to depart from these ideals and to embrace the current social imperative of introducing sexual politics into its program, it would cease to be the institution it was created to be. Scouting was founded to build trustworthy, upstanding young men capable of living up to a moral code of personal excellence. This requires the ability to make a distinction between right and wrong.

The scouting program affirms a respect for others, including those whose beliefs differ from our own. Why doesn’t that same respect for differing beliefs extend to tolerance of those whose code of behavior upholds traditional Christian sexual morality? If the BSA standards dictate that its members’ sexual preferences remain a personal matter, it is their right as a private organization to do so.

The right to refuse assimilation at the hands of the cultural Borg is one of our few remaining bulwarks of personal freedom.

Joseph Sobran explained why this is so, “Because the traditional code is designed to support the family as the basic unit of society, and the family, like religion and private property, is one of the foundations of liberty and resistance to monolithic state power. Without religion, the state faces no rival moral authority. Without property, freedom has no material basis, and everyone becomes dependent on the state for support. And without the family, the individual belongs almost wholly to the state, with no stable competing loyalty.”

America’s culture warriors quit trying to convince us a long time ago. Instead, they’re relying on time and pressure to simply wear down the individuals and private institutions that refuse to bow to secularizing pressures. It is admirable that the Boy Scouts have emphatically stood their ground in the face of years of increasingly antagonistic demands.

The only bigotry associated with the BSA’s decision to stand firm appears to be emanating from those activists who have failed to bully the Boy Scouts into submission.

Let the Boy Scouts continue to build responsible, conscientious, and service-oriented young men. And let those culture warriors who believe that scouting is missing something in terms of inclusive thinking, start their own organization that can either stand or fall on its own merits.

Truth is a more valuable tool than coercion when it comes to proving what is sound and what is unsound.

Related Article: ON Kilter: ‘Forced tolerance’ is a farce, bias in the Boy Scouts unpacked

Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: bhyde@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright 2012 St. George News.

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Posted in Columnists, Opinion / Columns / ShowsTagged , ,

9 Comments

  • Jacob July 26, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    I disagree with Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay stance. I guess instead of “commandeering them to promote my own idea” of freedom and acceptance, I should just start my own chicken sandwich franchise?

    • Alan July 27, 2012 at 10:19 pm

      Where is this much ballyhooed “tolerance”? Someone, a company in your example, believes differently from you. So what? Is it the end of the world? Is your “tolerance” only extended to those who believe as YOU do?

      If you disagree with Chick-Fil-A, by all means, do not support their business with your wallet. Run your smear campaigns about something not even remotely business related. Pass a law that requires EVERYONE to think as you do. Start your own business and compete, tooting your own personal viewpoints.

      What is with people who believe that EVERYONE must believe and have the morals, or lack thereof, that THEY do? Is it left over from the “tear down the man” mentality of the 60’s?

      Your values happen to differ from mine. You don’t see me smearing your beliefs. I accept your belief as what it is: different from my own. Who is more “tolerant”?

      Wait a minute. I just realized that in *your* eyes, I am just not “enlightened.” It is your sworn duty to enlighten me to the way of your way of thinking. That way, every can thin k alike and your precious diversity is swallowed up into the masses. That way, your tolerance is much more easily spouted.

      • Jacob July 28, 2012 at 4:09 pm

        You say it doesn’t matter that someone else believes differently than I do. You seem to care a great deal that I think differently. You’re seething and going on and on about points I didn’t even make. You are absolutely smearing my beliefs and twisting them. I also thinking that bragging about who is more tolerant is quite ironic. I’m not trying to enlighten you that is obviously out of the question. All I care about is not teaching young children to outcast others because they are different and indoctrinating them to hate. Both sides of this argument believe they are fighting for God and even though they are deep seeded beliefs, we should let all beings decide for themselves what is right or wrong. The BSA is degrading young children and teaching others to do the same.

  • ron July 27, 2012 at 6:07 am

    “. . . scouting has helped millions of young men become better men in their personal and public lives.” So reenforcing beliefs that marginalize and hurt others helps young men become better men? I don’t think so.

  • Frank July 27, 2012 at 8:32 am

    @Jacob, you totally missed the point of this opinion article. You are comparing apples to chicken sandwiches.
    You should look at it this way. If you tell Chick-fil-A they should have a certain type of sandwich that has beef on it, and they tell you “No”, then yes you should start your own chicken franchise that serves beef. Chick-fil-A sticking to its origins and not serving beef is a quality that is hard to find these days. They should not have to bow down to different groups to get them to change, its an ideal that they hold dear to their hearts. Its these type of ideals that keep our world a nice place to live. 99% don’t want to be forced to choose from beef or chicken, they just want the chicken, its the 1% that believes everyone should think the way they do and try to force their ideal upon us chicken lovers.
    Beef, it might be whats for dinner, but people shouldn’t be forced to put it on their menus

    • Jacob July 28, 2012 at 3:52 pm

      All I was saying is that those who believe what the BSA has done is corrupt, should not NEED to create a new organization with their own agenda. They have every right to stand up against what they believe to be evil. We are fighting for inclusion and equality. That’s much different than forcing our ideals on you. The way I see it is in within a few decades, gays will be respected and accepted just as the blacks fought for their rights and won and the womens movement fought and won. You might see that as a stretch and unrelated but that’s how it is. If your God believes it to be sinful then I guess we will all suffer the consequences someday but until then I think we will have a sense of satisfaction that we stood up for what is right…. helpful, friendly, courteous, and kind.

  • Thomas July 28, 2012 at 6:38 am

    Thanks for the great article Brian ! God , his laws , morals and truth are eternal , and anyone that fights against them will fail in the end . They will end up very unhappy . They will break themselves against Gods laws .

  • ron July 28, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Thomas, like so many so-called Christians, you seem to ignore Christ’s message of love, forgiveness, and community and focus instead on the Old Testament and its vengeful god. Two different concepts and two different messages, I’m afraid, no matter how the fundamentalists struggle to reconcile them.

  • Dsull July 29, 2012 at 8:55 am

    I am all for equality in government, and for your freedom to choose, but seeing as how I don’t remember being taught for or against any sexual preference in scouts makes this conversation strange. Granted it’s been 20 years since I was in scouts. I have a few gay friends that were in scouts, we didn’t’ exclude them, but at the same time they weren’t standing on the table telling us that we need to accept them for being gay. At the time we were more interested in what activities we were going on and what we were going to accomplish.
    I think that part of the problem is the people that are looking for a reason to be offended. Both sides have them. I have as much of a problem with the people that are against the LBGT community as I am those who are forcing the LGBT standards down my throat. I am not lessening the fact that people need to be accepted. I have friends that as they have gotten older have walked away from our gay friends, but blaming a Sandwich Shop, or the BSA is not going to help change things. If you want to change a business’s view point, you just don’t support them. The problem with attacking them is that those who believe the same will just support them more.Being more in the face of those who dislike you is only going to embolden their stance.
    Rather than a group trying to be as offensive and in your face as possible, we should be focused on our similarities. America today is so quick to focus on the differences and try and force each other to the other side. What ever happened to common ground.

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