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Examining Scouting Choices

October 16, AD2013 54 Comments

\"JoAnna

My husband wrote what I consider to be an excellent letter to our parish the other day, and he gave me permission to post it in case others like him would find it useful as a template for similar letters. Our fifth child here on earth, a boy, was born on October 7; now that we have 3 sons, our concern with the current state of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has increased, as we want all of our sons to be able to participate in a scouting program of some kind. 

Greetings [Parish] Scout Leadership and Pastors,

My name is [JoAnna\’s husband], 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. [Name] and Family

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About the Author:

JoAnna was baptized, raised, and married in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America but converted to Catholicism in May 2003, on G.K. Chesterton's birthday. She has six terrific kids here on earth, four saints in heaven praying for her, and a wonderful husband who supports her in all things. She enjoys defending the Catholic faith online (in between her duties as chief cook and bottle washer for La Casa Wahlund, and her role as Senior Editor of Catholic Stand). She blogs at www.catholicworkingmother.com and more sporadically at http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com.

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