CAL warns churches that remain with the BSA are at risk of spiritual compromise and legal complications
By M.H. Cavanaugh
Christian Action League
July 29, 2015
“No one likes to say, ‘I told you so,’” said Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “But here we are only two years later and the Boy Scouts of America have removed their prohibition against adult gay scout leaders. Sorry, be we told you so.”
In May of 2013 the BSA voted to accept openly homosexual members, a decision Dr. Creech and other Christian leaders warned would negate the BSA’s ability to legally defend its position regarding no homosexual leadership. The first sign of this inevitable change was given in May of this year when former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who now leads the BSA, announced the ban on gay leaders was no longer sustainable. He said that it would likely result in a number of lawsuits.
Last week, the BSA’s National Executive Board approved a new policy by a 45-12 vote that drops the ban on homosexual leaders.
In a gesture of compromise, the board granted church sponsored units the option to continue upholding the ban against gay leaders. Nonetheless, immediately after the vote, activists were already vehemently protesting that the new policy was still too restrictive. They vowed to continue pressure and bring possible legal action if the church-sponsored troops refuse to allow homosexual adult leadership.
Dr. Richard Land, former head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and currently president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, told the Christian Post that he supports the BSA’s exemption for religiously sponsored units, but added there were still serious concerns remaining for boys in scouting.
Land said, “If you put them in the compromising situations that you are sometimes in with Scout leaders and Scouts, in terms of camping and other situations, it could lead to great tragedy for children: It’s best to avoid the temptation,” he said.
In an alert sent out on Tuesday, the American Family Association said the decision by the BSA “means men who are attracted to males are now welcome on campouts in intimate proximity to boys.”
The Mormon Church, which is the largest sponsor of Boy Scouts in the country, stated the policy change has precipitated the need for them to re-evaluate their longstanding participation in the BSA.
In a statement provided on Monday, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints said, “The Church has always welcomed all boys to its Scouting units regardless of sexual orientation. However, the admission of openly gay leaders is inconsistent with the doctrines of the Church and what have traditionally been the values of the Boy Scouts of America.”
Attorney Richard Matthews, who served as legal counsel for the BSA for more than a decade and national general counsel for the last three years, has authored a legal memorandum explaining the litigation risks that churches undertake by continuing to charter BSA units or starting new ones. The full legal memo in PDF form may be accessed here.
Matthew’s legal memorandum lists four concerns for church or religious sponsored BSA units: (1) the new policy eradicates the legal protections afforded to chartering organizations obtained in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, (2) the new policy opens chartered organizations to legal challenges by homosexual adults denied membership, (3) the new policy makes churches or religious organizations vulnerable to litigation under state public accommodation laws, (4) the new policy also makes churches and other religious organizations vulnerable to claims of hazing, bullying, and discrimination.
Matthews concludes, “Apart from the greater legal risk, this striking language in the resolution will likely be seen as wholly incompatible with most historic Christian theology and ethics, making it even more challenging for a church to integrate a BSA troop as part of a church’s ministry offerings.”
“The Bible speaks to us about the necessity of spiritual separation,” said Dr. Creech. “The apostle Paul instructed believers living in the sinful environment of Corinth, ‘Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.’ The very name Corinthian is synonymous with lustful living. Like a father, the apostle instructed believers in that sinful city and during that evil age, ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord.’ In other words, you can’t harness together in a working relationship two competing sets of values. What the Lord has separated from us, we shouldn’t join. We’re in the world, but not of it. Being separate, Christians are to live by God’s commands and not forge partnerships with those who disregard those commands,” added Dr. Creech.
TAKE CHRISTIAN ACTION
This Christian Action League urges its supporters and supporting churches to take the following actions:
- If you are involved in scouting, or have a son or grandson involved, show your convictions by resigning from the BSA. Your dropped membership sends a strong message that your Christian values are steadfast, faithful and unchangeable.
- If your church charters a scouting unit contact the pastor and scouting committee members. Urge your church to drop the charter based on the eternal truth of God Word and a Christian sexual ethic.
- Find an alternative program to the BSA. The Christian Action League strongly recommends the Christian based Trail Life USA