Happy Birthday, Boy Scouts of America!
February 8 is the anniversary of the founding of the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. Fittingly, on this date in 2017 Senator Jeff Sessions was confirmed by the Senate as our new United States Attorney General. Senator Sessions is an Eagle Scout. So is our new Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. Both, in fact, are Distinguished Eagle Scouts. Tillerson led the Boy Scouts of America.
Being an Eagle Scout matters. Their achievement of Eagle rank reflects the character of these two men. Their personal and professional lives are shaped by the Scout Law: “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.”
Boy Scouts internalize this credo. Scouting through the BSA is an experience that can’t really be reproduced elsewhere. It has a long tradition, tremendous infrastructure, Scout camps, clubs and events, and Scout ethics. Kids gain know-how, find spirituality in the outdoors, achieve personal discipline, and acquire team skills and trust. Kids with no fathers around and obviously in need of a male authority figure thrive.
Scouting is part of many churches’ official youth programs. No, kids don’t have to participate if they don’t want to. For most children, it’s fun to go out into nature with their buddies and climb rocks and light things on fire. Often the church pays the dues, which is great for families that can’t afford much in the way of extracurricular activities.
It’s not perfect. Many Scouts drop out in high school as other things claim their attention. Some kids become media-addicted zombies.
And there are clouds. Some people think the Boy Scouts are going the way of mainline Protestantism — a long slow march into pop culture conformity, irrelevance, and ultimately self-eradication. Last month the the Boy Scouts of America changed its policy to allow transgenders to join. The mother of an 8-year-old New Jersey girl, who now is identifying as a boy, filed a civil rights complaint after her daughter/son was kicked out for being a girl. A mere one week later the BSA capitulated. A great organization was bullied into submission by the powerful LGBTQ activist community.
Homosexual boys were allowed to be Scouts in 2013. Scout leaders could be homosexuals as of 2015. And now in 2017 children can join based on whatever gender identity they choose. Organizations like the United Way and big city governments added to the pressure by withdrawing funding or the use of public buildings and spaces.
BSA leadership admits that these decisions cause a mass exodus from Scouting. Hundreds of thousands of Scouts and Scouters leaving the organization: casualties in the war on morality.
The Boy Scouts peaked numerically in the early 1970s. Today they are at half the level they were then, in a country where the child population has increased by over 6%.
Not many parents are on board with the trans movement, especially when we’re talking about young kids. The goal of scouting was never to teach young boys about disordered sexual functions, even if some people value that over teaching them how to tie knots or start a fire.
Some people in charge think Scouting is too conservative and needs to be made more “progressive.” These people are a real threat. They almost killed the Boy Scouts in the ‘70s when they changed the program so boys could earn their Eagle without ever having gone camping in an effort to make the program attractive to inner-city youth. It didn’t work. Going full-bore ideological made the program a PC joke. Membership tanked, and they had to make the program about actual Scouting again.
The BSA was organized by Congressional charter as a Title 36 “patriotic and national organization” — as is the American Legion, Little League Baseball, and the National Academy of Sciences. Its mission statement upon inception was to teach “patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred values.” The Boy Scouts continue to promote — and defend — this mission in a postmodern, politically correct, multicultural society.
Real boys don’t care a whit about any of this political stuff. They want to be outside with their friends, sleeping in tents, and building fires.