Gay Men to Lead Boy Scouts: Gates’ Failure to Render Genuine Leadership

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This week the Boy Scouts of America have announced they will welcome transgendered youth into the program. This culture-following trend began when the BSA allowed gay scouts, then gay leaders. This shows a serious leadership gap, according to Eagle Scout, former Scout employee, and volunteer Byron Barlowe.

Boy Scouts will now be subject to gay adult leadership if BSA (Boy Scouts of America) president Robert Gates’ advice is taken. Gates, who once held our military’s top position as Secretary of Defense, declared the inevitability of ending the ban on openly gay Scout leaders while addressing the BSA national annual meeting in Atlanta Thursday, May 21, 2015.

Does anyone really doubt that Gates’ position will be made official, especially given recent advances for gay rights at the states’ level, with the Girl Scouts, in Ireland’s national referendum vote three days later and most likely via the United States Supreme Court this June? I wager it’ll be only a few months before it’s official BSA policy.

The question for Mr. Gates: How does bowing to the rapidly changing poll numbers on this issue constitute leadership? Don’t heroes often have to stand alone? Even if Gates holds convictions that would dictate openness in his personal dealings, his stated premise for lifting the long-time ban on gay Scout leaders that stands to affect tens of thousands of youth is flawed: that the proverbial train has left the station and the organization needs to cover its rear guard, to go with the inevitable flow of gay rights, to kowtow to pressure from within and without. Pure pragmatism on parade. And entirely inappropriate and unrespectable.

Brave New World vs. “A Scout is Brave”

Part of the Scout Law every Boy Scout for 105 years has memorized and recited reads, “A Scout is trustworthy . . . brave . . . reverent. . . .” But the BSA has done a 180-degree flip on the topic of homosexuality, having won a Supreme Court case against a gay membership push as recently as 2000. The Opinion of the Court in Dale v. Boy Scouts of America, written by Chief Justice Rehnquist, reads, “The Boy Scouts asserts that it ‘teach[es] that homosexual conduct is not morally straight'” in its defense of denying avowed homosexual and gay activist James Dale leadership privileges with a Scout troop.

Oh, what a difference fifteen years makes when one bases decisions on the swiveling wind vane of a degrading culture.

To his credit, Dr. Gates called for individual chartering organizations—representing 70 percent of Boy Scout Troops and Cub Packs—to decide for themselves how to implement such a policy. Yet, in the same speech, Gates cites the refusal of a New York Council to abide by current BSA policy in hiring gay leaders as a realistic reason to change the national policy. Which is it? Gay men get the right to lead, or troops and packs get to say no? We see where that is going in the courts and in culture with Christian photographers, bakers and T-shirt makers: inescapable pressure to succumb.

Live Up to High Standards of Scouting

I’m holding President Gates to a high standard here. Sure, he’s been pressured by his own big business (read: big donor) board members like Randall Stephenson of AT&T and James Turley of Ernst & Young to eradicate the BSA’s longstanding policies against gay participation at every level. Though it may not compare to high stakes, national level non-profit boardroom politics, I lost my job as a BSA District Executive by holding to the principles of Scouting (and my biblical faith). When asked to misrepresent the number of Cub Scout Packs in local schools at a BSA Council in North Carolina, I refused. Threats didn’t move me despite my 23-year-old, first-job fears. Call me naïve. Then explain that to a boy. It would be refreshing to see Mr. Gates stand up to power himself.

Even if I agreed with gay rights claims concerning the private youth training organization, I’d object to the hypocrisy of its leader.
Gates’ recent declaration, as with the BSA’s 2013 decision to enroll openly gay Scouts, is modeling another dereliction of duty. Yet “duty to God,” others and self has always formed the three-legged stool of values on which Scouting stood. God is not confused on this issue, nor was the Scouting program for a full century.

If This Goes, Scouting Will Forever Be Altered

I write “values on which Scouting stood” in past tense advisedly. As I was quoted via the Los Angeles Times syndicate while demonstrating against the policy change to allow openly gay Scouts in 2013, this is the end of Scouting as we have known it. Another prediction: A sharp decrease in numbers following that decision will be surpassed if the BSA allows admittedly gay leaders. As an Eagle Scout, father of an Eagle Scout, former volunteer Scouting leader and BSA local executive, I can no longer support in any way the Boy Scouts of America. I’ll support other youth programs.

This conviction grieves me, but borrowing from the Christian reformer Martin Luther, here I stand and I can do no other. No, this episode does not rise to the level of religious reformation; however, the gravity of such social slides will change the cultural landscape for as long as our Republic stands. The gay advocacy heavyweight Human Rights Campaign is right when it celebrates Gates’ announcement as a huge victory in its drive for full acceptance of homosexuals across the culture, given that the BSA is “one of America’s most storied institutions.”

As SecDef, Gates ended the ambiguous “Don’t ask, don’t tell” doctrine, a decision that opened doors for openly gay service men and women to serve freely despite fears of sexual chaos. Our former CIA Director and, again, Secretary of Defense Gates now holds the top leadership post among a younger group of Americans. On this issue he has led neither members of the armed forces nor impressionable and sexually vulnerable adolescent Scouts.

Once again, Gates’ ethics reek of pure pragmatism: “We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be. The status quo in our movement’s membership standards cannot be sustained,” he said to the assembled Scouting leaders.

Never mind high ideals. The wind has blown, the ship has sailed and we must get on board or be left behind (or at least sued heavily). Oh, such bravery.

Posted May 2015 | Updated Jan 2017
© 2015 Probe Ministries

Byron Barlowe

Byron Barlowe is a research associate and digital communicator with Probe Ministries. He studied Communications and Marketing at Appalachian State University in gorgeous Boone, N.C. Byron served 20 years with Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC), eight years as editor and Webmaster of a major scholarly publishing site, Leadership University (LeaderU.com). In that role, he oversaw several sub-sites, including the Online Faculty Offices of Drs. William Lane Craig and William Dembski. His wonderful wife, Dianne, served 25 years with CCC. They now track their triplets who entered college simultaneously in three different states, leaving them in an apocalyptic empty nest. Prayers welcome.

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2 Comments
  1. SB 2 years ago

    When Gates made statements regarding his position on this, I felt totally betrayed. Cowardice is the word that best describes his pitiful stance. As an eagle scout, former scoutmaster, and father of three, I could never condone such a dangerous proposition, as allowing homosexual males to lead young, innocent, highly impressionable boys in anything. Homosexuality is a mental disorder, that was removed from the American Psychological Association’s list of mental disorders, the DSM 5, only because of political, and social pressure. These forced upon them by lgbt activists, in manners that have even been observed to have been terrorist like. There was not sound scientific, or psychological discovery, evidence, or information that came to light, what so ever, that moved the APA to remove homosexuality from the list. Some members of the APA, at that time, later said that they had feared for their safety, and that of their families, as a result of threats of bodily harm that had been repeatedly made my lgbt activists. HOW CAN ANYONE justify leaving their kids with people who suffer a gravely serious mental disorder? Anyone who is, misguidedly, moved to take a sympathetic stance on this… just google CDC homosexual statistics, and see the frightening, and very dangerous truths that surround the health matters of homosexuals, and those who they are very apt to try and recruit into their numbers. This next statement may seem a bit insensitive, but it’s nothing less than the truth. Homosexuals cannot reproduce, so they recruit. • CDC 2014 Gay and bisexual men aged 13 to 24 accounted for an estimated 92% of new HIV diagnoses AMONG ALL MEN in their age group, DESPITE THE FACT that they make up less then 4% of the population of the United States. How about Gates rounds up all his grandkids and sends them out camping, or overnight hotel field trips with homosexual scoutmasters. Cowardice & Idiocy

  2. Byron Barlowe Author
    Byron Barlowe 2 years ago

    SB, while I’m not sure of the accuracy of all your claims–and I plan to check the CDC and APA history–I realize that much of the basis of your comments is true. Thanks for including sources.

    I stood as a demonstrator (and was interviewed by news outlets uninterested in the worldview-level objections and observations I made, the stuff of Probe.org in general) on the grounds of the Boy Scouts of American HQ. I protested not only the consideration of allowing gay boys into the organization, but I then predicted the downward slide of the BSA toward capitulation. This is according to a plan, the now-well-known propaganda campaign first proposed in the book After the Ball; we now have seen the plan come fully to pass: normalization, accommodation and required celebration of lifestyles which militate against nature and nature’s God, violate Scripture and, as you point out, follow a recent trend to take the needed stigma out of an unnatural, unhealthy act.

    More on the related issue of the supposed determinative gay gene here: https://www.probe.org/is-there-a-genetic-component-to-homosexuality.

    While there may be certain proclivities to this particular sin, to act on it is sin (homosexuality does not meet with God’s approval, as clearly stated in Romans 1, since he loves us and wants us to operate by our design), and so being, is destructive to the one who acts out these desires and the community at large. If the subject of sin is not agreed with, the facts should suffice. See Sue Bohlin’s piece on this here: https://www.probe.org/helping-teens-understand-homosexuality-2. She writes, “Acting physically on same-sex attractions is certainly not healthy. Those who do are at far greater risk for sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS; alcoholism and drug abuse; depression; emotionally exhausting relationships; and a shortened lifespan.{1} Please see the “Facts About Youth” website from the American College of Pediatricians, especially this article: Health Risks of the Homosexual Lifestyle.”

    At the same time, let’s be charitable toward those who disagree while holding our ground. The logic of challenging others in regard to their own families is sound but can be a minefield of unnecessary rancor.

    Thanks for writing.

    The author, Byron Barlowe

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