The Boy Scouts of America voted yesterday to end its ban on gay kids and teens joining the organization. This was the right decision, not only because the majority of its members supports it, but because our nation benefits when youth are “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent,” regardless of their sexual orientation.
Erick Erickson over at Red State has a different take on it. He believes that because the Boy Scouts have chosen to no longer discriminate, “the moral component to the Scouts will collapse in favor of knot tying, tent pitching, and badge collection.” Erickson says that while being gay is not a sin, acting on it is—a statement with which I agree. Sex of any kind outside the confines of marriage is a sin.
Erickson’s premise however, that admitting sinners or potential sinners causes an organization to lose its ability to teach morality, is ridiculous. Erickson declares that churches should “not turn away gays.” But, if Boy Scouts cannot admit gays and teach morality, how can churches accept gays and still preach the Gospel “in the context of teaching healthy morality and character” to worshippers? If we follow his reasoning, Erickson himself is incapable of teaching morality and character to his children. He has admitted gays into his social circle and does “not worry about [his children] interacting with and having gay friends.”
I am an Eagle Scout and participated in a scout troop sponsored by the LDS Church. In fact, the LDS Church sponsors more BSA troops than any other organization. In a statement after the vote, the Church pointed out that they have never precluded gay boys from participating in scouting activities as long as they live up to the moral code.
Jesus reminded us that we are all sinners, “he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a first stone.” As Christians, we are constantly striving to be better, to “go and sin no more,” and organizations like the Boy Scouts help us—all of us—on this journey.
In a world all too often filled with hate, by accepting gay kids, the Boy Scouts demonstrate love—a tenant of every major faith—and for that, I applaud them.