Forgive me for a diversion from my usual posts. But I was a Boy Scout, an Eagle Scout, in fact, so the news that the Boy Scouts were mulling dropping their ban on homosexuals is of interest to me. So here’s the big question: as a Catholic, where can I stand on this while simultaneously upholding our faith’s teachings? Here is what I believe the best solution is.
The Boy Scouts encourage religious faith, but they don’t say which faith is best, nor should they. Some faiths, right or wrong, say that gay sex is not immoral. They have openly gay leaders who have a deep faith in God. Then, of course, we have the faiths whose teachings on sex and marriage match the Church’s or are close.
The problem is that by the gay ban, the Scouts are taking sides and trying to dictate to faiths how they should practice it. That’s not a good thing and against the Scouts’ norms, I believe. But if they go the other way and say that no troop can prohibit gays, then they also step on the faiths in the other direction. (The Supreme Court, by the way, says that the Boy Scouts may prohibit gays, so I don’t believe there’s a legal issue here.) Their best course of action, ergo, is to let each troop decide for itself, in my view. Incidentally, that’s the proposal at hand:
…there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation, and the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with each organization’s mission, principles, or religious beliefs. BSA members and parents would be able to choose a local unit that best meets the needs of their families.
The policy change under discussion would allow the religious, civic, or educational organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting to determine how to address this issue. The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members, or parents. Under this proposed policy, the BSA would not require any chartered organization to act in ways inconsistent with that organization’s mission, principles, or religious beliefs.
So for Catholic troops intent on upholding the Church’s teachings, very little would change under this proposal. It’s not a perfect proposal, of course. But as a person in the pews who is trying to both uphold my faith and live in this world (but not of it), this seems to me to be about the best scenario the Boy Scouts can ask for, and it’s one that allow Catholics to uphold their moral teachings at the same time.
Side note: Please understand that I am not questioning Church teaching or disagreeing with it, and I’m entirely open to comments with other approaches to this question. Feel free to leave comments.