So let’s start with the obvious: I wasn’t a fan of President Trump’s speech at the Boy Scout Jamboree. It started off OK, until he said “hell,” and then it went downhill. Personally, I’m more disappointed that he missed an opportunity for a great speech than with any one thing he said.
Now that is off my chest, here’s another thought: Catholic Churches need to stop abandoning Scouting. In fact, I’ll say that if you’re a Catholic Church and don’t have a Scouting program, you’re probably guilty of neglecting your parish’s young men.
This abandonment started when Boy Scouts of America (BSA) changed rules regarding both homosexual leaders and transgender scouts. While every LGBT organization out there will claim BSA is openly supporting them, the truth was that BSA simply dropped rules that otherwise banned leaders. Rather than get in the middle of what would be a legal mess, BSA opted to state that since each BSA unit was “owned” by the sponsoring organization, then each unit could decide whether to admit homosexual or transgender individuals (Plenty of details here).
So if a Baptist Church was OK with a homosexual Scout leader, then BSA wouldn’t object. On the flip side, if a transgender individual wanted to be a Cub Scout and a Catholic-sponsored Pack said no, then that person would be redirected to find another Scouting organization that fit that person’s needs.
As much as I don’t like it, this was probably the easiest road for BSA to take that still preserved religious freedom. Rather than risk costly lawsuits and lost time, they simply punted the decision to the sponsoring unit. Catholic units could continue to ban LGBT individuals, and other units could accept them. In too many cases, this wasn’t good enough, and soon plenty of diocese, including one in North Dakota, began breaking ties with Scouting.
I find this cowardly. Boys have a hard time finding organizations that cater to their needs. Every school seems to want to tell them to be quiet, sit nicely and study, when the poor kids want to run around, get muddy and explore the wilderness. Scouting really helps boys tap into that desire, and coupled with good Catholic teaching, can help build strong morals in these young men. We have too many “conservatives” that simply throw up their hands and say “Well, Scouting is now all messed up, so we need to cut ties!” That attitude is cowardly.
Do you simply give up on marriage when it becomes hard? How about going to Mass every week when life becomes difficult? If there are divisive issues in the church, do we throw up our hands and give up on her (well, I guess some people do)? Jesus certainly didn’t. When people got too caught up in money lending in the temple, he cleansed it (Matthew 21: 12-17). He didn’t throw up his hands and say “Well, the money lenders have messed it all up, time to move on!”
We need Scouting. We need that great program for young boys to help them grow. And we as Catholics need to stop being cowards and fighting to save the organizations that we were once a part of. Because if we continue throwing our hands up in despair and abandoning them, at some point we won’t have places for our youth to go, and they’ll start falling away from the Church.
Check out my blog and donate to Da Tech Guy!