Examining Scouting Choices - A Letter from My Husband

My husband wrote what I consider to be a kick-ass letter to our parish the other day, and he gave me permission to post it.

Greetings [Parish] Scout Leadership and Pastors,

My name is Collin Wahlund, I have been a parishioner at [Parish] for several years.  I have had a great interest in sharing the experiences that scouting had brought to me with my children at our parish, especially with my oldest son who has just entered Kindergarten this year.

Unfortunately, in light of the recent decision by the BSA to allow open and active homosexual behavior to be declared acceptable I simply cannot in good conscience allow my children to be involved with that organization.  This stance that the BSA has taken is even more disconcerting given that the incoming president of the BSA, Randall Stephenson, is on record in a homosexual activism publication for being committed to allow actively homosexual men as scout leaders.

Since homosexual activity is gravely sinful by the teachings of our Church, I cannot take this stance lightly.  Given that boys in scouting should be abstinent (as they are not married) there should be no involvement of sexuality in scouting at all.  Adults should also be an example to the scouts on how to be "morally straight" and "to do my duty to God", as the Oath says.

I do not want simply to complain without ideas on how to improve the situation though.  It would be a harder decision if there were no options whatsoever other than exiting scouting or compromising our morals, but there are morally-acceptable alternatives.

I would like to suggest that we look into migrating our scouting group to Trail Life USA.  This group specifically is trying to facilitate scouting that returns to the morals intended originally.  They're trying hard to make scouts feel as welcome as possible and to transfer all achievements of the individual scout to them inside of the new organization so the boys are rewarded for their prior hard work.

This organization follows the same guidelines about homosexuality that our Church does, that the inclinations towards evil behavior are not inherently sinful, but that homosexual activity is wrong.  Therefore they will not be searching to try to remove boys who try to resist evil urges.

Similarly, openly being involved with heterosexual premarital sex is also wrong and this is against the organization's values, which are committed to Christian morals. Teaching and illustrating right from wrong should absolutely be an integral part to scouting and should not be put aside or shrugged off because making a change would be inconvenient.

I highly wish for our church's scouting leadership and our pastors to read the following article about Trail Life USA and consider that this organization may be a better fit for our parish to be actively involved in:  http://www.worldmag.com/2013/09/rapid_response

You can also find more information as well at the Trail Life USA website: http://www.traillifeusa.com

I hope this is strongly considered as a possibility, and I'm more than glad to help look into this option (or others, such as the dedicatedly Catholic Scouts of St. George - http://scoutsofsaintgeorge.com).

I really wish to get my sons and myself involved in our scouting program at [Parish].  Please help turn my family's disappointment in the BSA into pride that our parish are leaders in a return to morality in scouting.  I look forward to hearing the responses from our scouting and church leadership.  Thank you very much for your serious consideration in this important issue.

Sincerely,
Mr. Collin Wahlund and Family

Comments

  1. When the whole affair came to a head, I asked a friend of mine who was in scouts and worked at a scouting camp what he thought. He's Baptist by the way. He told me it was sad, but felt it was all about the money. The hire-ups follow the money trail, but he didn't feel that it would change individual troops particularly ones affiliated with churches. I hope he's right. But I have a funny feeling that he might be wrong.

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  3. I agree that there should be no involvement of sexuality in Scouting -- so I am baffled as to why allowing openly homosexual leaders is any different than allowing openly heterosexual people (such as for instance you and your husband, quite openly in a heterosexual relationship) as leaders. I see no reason that the gender of the people that a Scout leader chooses to have committed relationships with should be relevant to their leadership, unless we want the leaders to be monks committed to complete abstinence.

    It is unfortunate that the word "homosexual" contains "sexual" and thereby implies that it is especially about sex in a way that the rest of us are not. It is about sex, in the same way that heterosexual marriage is, but that is not the point of it -- it is much more deeply about whether God gives a person the desire to be in an emotional and romantic committed relationships with people of one gender or the other. And certainly young teenagers have those desires and are working through what they mean and how to deal with them as responsible and moral people.

    I also am saddened by Deltaflute's belief that this is "all about the money." As a lifelong Christian, were I in Mr. Stephenson's position I would hold the same position he does because I believe it is the morally right thing to do, and is what God would have me to do. Even if it is about the money for some people -- that money is there because people like me donate it because we have those moral beliefs. I hope that you can at least respect the fact that we hold these positions because we believe that they are right and true and honorable, even if you disagree strongly with our belief.

    In any case, perhaps unlike you, I know openly homosexual men -- I do, after all, live only a few miles from San Francisco. And, given the men that I know, I expect that even if your troop had a homosexual man as its leader, very little would change in how the group was led. He might be a little more alert to bullying of the less-popular boys (as most homosexual men were bullied tremendously as teenagers), and he would probably be even less likely to talk about sexual topics than a heterosexual leader given the higher scrutiny that people would have of him talking about such things, but that's really about it.

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    1. The money that he is talking about is from big business, including banks, etc.; it is not from the little people, the ones that the BSA (& the Girls Scouts) ignore. Don't forget that Obama had his hand in this also. If you would dare to follow the homosexual movement and learn the real truth, you would hang your head in shame for all of your poor remarks. God DID NOT create this evil of homosexuality, but it came from the devil and sadly, these people chose their death-style. Don't blame God. +JMJ+

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    2. "Mr. Stephenson has considerable leverage with the National Executive Committee. He currently serves as one of its vice presidents and is set to become its president in 2014. AT&T, the company Mr. Stephenson leads as CEO, is one of the largest donors to the Boy Scouts of America. The financial relationship between AT&T and the Boy Scouts of America began in 2010 – roughly the same time frame in which the NEC began to review its policy on homosexuals. When AT&T reduced its funding to the Boy Scouts of America earlier this year, the move led organizations like the American Family Association to accuse Stephenson and AT&T of trying to bully the Scouts into submission.

      The loss of corporate funding is a real threat to national groups like the Boy Scouts of America. Following the decision last summer, two large corporate donors – the Intel Foundation and the Merck Company Foundation – both ended funding to the Boy Scouts of America. Intel and Merck both admit that their decision was directly related to the BSA’s ban on homosexuals. One can only hope that the National Executive Committee is not abandoning principle because it is more lucrative to blow with the wind of political correctness than to stand against it." - source

      You don't have a problem at all with an active, practicing homosexual man sleeping in a tent with teenage boys? Do you also think that heterosexual men should sleep in a tent of teenage girls in a Girl Scout camping trip? Frankly, I think both scenarios are asking for trouble.

      I also think that heterosexual men who are cohabitating with girlfriends should not be scout leaders, nor should a married man living in open adultery with a woman not his wife. (In a Catholic context, that would include a man who has divorced and remarried without obtaining a degree of nullity.)

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    3. It is not politically popular to say but homosexual tendencies are disordered. The body tells us the truth. We only have to look at men and women's bodies to see it. I don't think it would be appropriate on this blog to go into any detail on it, but suffice to say homosexual attraction is disordered. Teens will struggle with same sex attraction. Scouts doesn't need leaders who have given in to this attraction and have decided to live it out as normal. I have been involved in youth ministry for over 20 years. I would not knowingly have a leader who is outwardly struggling or living in a lifestyle that is disordered. Obviously, every person struggles with sin. Homosexuality in itself is not a sin but acting on it is a sin. Thus, I would not have a leader in my program who is living it out. I have had many teens over the years who have struggled with same sex attraction in my program. The last thing I need is a leader, who thinks it is ok to have homosexual sex, leading our teens.

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  4. Brooks- I said my friend said that. But it makes sense. Homosexual groups were putting pressure on scout sponsors. Why else in a short time period would the scout leadership go from not allowing gays to allowing it? Its not just the president who decides these things.

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  5. I thought this might interest you:
    Alliance Defending Freedom, Legal Ramifications
    http://www.adfmedia.org/files/BSALegalRamifications.pdf

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  7. (I am long winded, sorry. This is 1 of 2 posts)

    It is important to first have the correct information. I think you have been misinformed, so I hope my reply is informative.

    You stated "Unfortunately, in light of the recent decision by the BSA to allow open and active homosexual behavior to be declared acceptable I simply cannot in good conscience allow my children to be involved with that organization."

    That is a FALSE statement.

    1. The first point is a bit of misinformation so clarification is important. This was not a decision by the paid staff of the Boy Scouts of America, this resolution was voted on by representatives from every Council, the volunteer leaders made this policy change by a majority vote.
    2. The BSA membership absolutely does not allow "open and active homosexual behavior", it says "No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone." The complete resolution can be read at http://www.circle10.org/sites/circle10.org/files/media/proposed_membership_standards_resolution.pdf


    I am going to quote from http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0364.htm because it sums up what the Catechism says quite well

    "First, homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. The word disordered means that such acts fail to observe the design and purpose of human sexuality. They lack the natural ordering to procreation. They also lack the complementarity necessary to achieve the union of two persons in one flesh. The word intrinsically means that the disorder is in the nature of the acts themselves. They are always and at all times immoral. No situation, circumstance or affection can make them moral. Some accuse the Church of saying that homosexual persons are intrinsically disordered. The Church has never said any such thing. As we will see, that error comes only from those who reduce personal identity to sexual activity.

    Second, the homosexual inclination is objectively disordered. Same-sex attractions, which a person may experience in varying degrees, tend toward a use of sexuality contrary to its twofold purpose. This is not a moral statement insofar as a person who experiences homosexual inclinations is not morally culpable for such feelings. Feelings in themselves are morally neutral. They become morally charged (for virtue or vice) only when we act on them. The inclinations themselves are not a sin. Nevertheless, they incline individuals to unchaste actions and therefore are disordered.

    Finally, and most importantly, the person. The human person is always a good and always to be respected – indeed, loved. The person – no matter his attractions – is a child of God, bears the likeness of God and is redeemed by the blood of Christ. Those with same-sex attractions are not an exception to this. They are called to chastity, to holiness – to heaven. They experience a particular struggle, and at times a deeply painful one. But that does not undermine their dignity as persons."


    So we have a resolution that is in Harmony with the Catechism. Acknowledging this point is very important.

    The BSA does not tolerate ANY sexual activity, homo- or hetero-sexual. In Catholic eyes it would either be a homosexual act or adultery, outlawing this activity is consistent with the Catechism.

    Seeing as it remains consistent with Catechism, I can only think you did not correctly read the policy. I do not mean that to insult, if you see a fault in my logic (which is also shared by the National Catholic Committee on Scouting) I would gladly hear your interpretation.

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  8. You later replied to someone "You don't have a problem at all with an active, practicing homosexual man sleeping in a tent with teenage boys? Do you also think that heterosexual men should sleep in a tent of teenage girls in a Girl Scout camping trip? Frankly, I think both scenarios are asking for trouble."


    I do not think there is anyone in the world who would be okay with an adult sleeping in the same tent as their child regardless of the combination of genders and orientations. BSA policy expressely prohibits this. Like the Catholic Church itself, the BSA has had its share of child molestation problems. And like the Catholic Church they have answered it by educating everyone who comes in contact with youth. They are now considered the premiere example of youth protection in the world. It includes many important policies and practices as well as ongoign re-education for all who continue to work with youth. It is conintually re-evaluated and updated. Our Church couldlearn a bit from how BSA handles Yuth Protection. You can learn more here http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/sitecore/content/Scouting/Training/YouthProtection.aspx The important takeway here is the BSA requires two-deep leadership and seperates sleeping quarters based on gender and whether you are a youth or adult. The training has not been updated as to how we will handle Same Sex attracted youth, but since the policy does not go into effect until January 1, I am sure we will be updated in plenty of time. Further, the policy continues to disallow Homo-sexual leaders, to any degree.


    In Closing, here are some points to consider.

    1. Someone mentioned this policy change was driven by finances. I think it was to some degree. Like a Parish or Diocese, the BSA is an organization that needs to be funded to operate. As they say, Money talks, and we did not have a very big voice in this regard. My Troop is chartered to a Catholic Church and aside from a meeting room and storage space, we get very little support from the Church. This needs to change as it seems to be consistent in almost every Catholic chartered troop I have run into.

    2. You suggested the move to Trail Life Scouts, they used the Homo Sexual policy change as a reason to break from the BSA, but then a couple months later adopted a policy on gay youth almost identical to the BSA's. Very few people are aware of this, but go take a look at the Trail Life forums and you will find the big reason they split is they are more interested in excluding non-protestant youth. Please remember this very important point, they continue to view us as Papist's and Marist's, as heathens even, slightly better then jews, but certainly not Christian in their eyes. Go see fo yourself. We can work with what the BSA has given us, Trail Life Scouts on the other hand...

    3. Arguably these young men need Scouting more than most, they need to see the good example scouting sets.

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