April 27, 2012
Over the past few days, the secular media have reported extensively about a woman whose lesbianism compelled the Boy Scouts of America to ask her to resign as a Den Mother. She has been featured in numerous media interviews, her overwhelmed-looking little boy with her, and been heralded as a hero for standing up to the BSA.
Here are some facts:
- Scouting does not allow homosexuals to be in leadership - period. After hundreds of lawsuits regarding the sexual abuse of boys - nearly all of them involving homosexual molestation - and after paying out many millions of dollars in settlements ($18.5 million in one case alone), the BSA wisely has chosen to have a zero-tolerance policy toward homosexuality. It has been reported that since 2007 alone, the Boy Scouts of America have been sued for sexual abuse claims by 35 individuals in 11 states. This prohibition on gays and lesbians in leadership positions is widely known and was known, specifically, by Jennifer Tyrrell when she chose to become a Den Mother.
- Ms. Tyrrell seems intent on using her little boy as a means of attacking the BSA's position on homosexuality. By all accounts, she was capable and caring as a leader of the Tiger Cubs. That is irrelevant: Despite her claim that a local Scoutmaster told her that her lesbianism was immaterial, the stated policy of the Boy Scouts of America is that homosexuality is incompatible with the tenets of Scouting. Every week, roughly 2.8 million Scouts take an oath to remain "morally straight." According to the historic tenets of Scouting, homosexuality does not comport with that standard. Every adult in Scouting is to support and model the moral convictions expressed by the BSA. Ms. Tyrrell knew that, too.
- In 2000, the Supreme Court declared that as a private organization - one joined voluntarily by every person involved with it - the BSA had the right to require belief in a Creator and traditional sexual morality of all participants. Ms. Tyrrell (drum roll, please) knew that before becoming a Den Mother, as well.
In West Virginia, the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve is composed of 10,600 acres of land adjacent to the New River Gorge National River. It is a boy's paradise, and was provided through the generosity of several wealthy families and an energy company. Together, they have given in excess of $100 million to provide Scouts with a beautiful and perpetual site to hold their National Jamboree and many other activities.
Yet this remarkable gift would have been less necessary to the future of Scouting had the American Civil Liberties Union not filed a suit insisting that the BSA could not officially be sponsored by the Department of Defense, since according the ACLU the Scouts' affirmation of a Creator constitutes a state endorsement of religion. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, under the agreement reached between the ACLU and the DOD, "Provided there is no sponsorship by Department of Defense personnel in an official capacity, Boy Scout units are permitted to meet on military bases and military personnel are permitted to remain active in Boy Scout programs.
While Scouts are grateful they can continue their historic access to military facilities, the fact that they affirm belief in God and eschew homosexuality places the continued use of military bases at risk. Why? Two reasons: (1) Homosexual and atheist groups continue to work to undermine Scoutings positions on God and human sexuality, and (2) the U.S. military now allows open homosexuality. Given these things, how long will it be before the Scouts are told to endorse homosexuality and drop their allegiance to a Creator or else never come to military bases again (much as many cities and corporations have also cut off support to the BSA for these reasons)?
These attacks on Scouting have made private donations, including massive ones that provide locations for major Scouting events, essential.
Cruz Tyrrell, the young boy thrust into the center of this controversy, and his fellow Tiger Cubs are the ones most adversely affected by Ms. Tyrrells behavior. Our hearts should go out to them. Yet it would be a disservice to millions of boys and their families to lift the prohibition on homosexuality in Scouting. Just look at the litigation history of the past 40 years: Of course not every gay man is a sexual predator, but the predators in Scouting have been, almost without exception, male.
Tonight one of my sons will be staying on a military installation with a host of other local Scouts. He will lead his Patrol in a series of activities and, barring something unforeseen, have a great time. In all likelihood, they will never consider the matters discussed in this piece. Nor should they have to: They are boys, surrounded by honorable men, roughing it with a spirit of fun and adventure.
May it be ever thus.