In light of the organization’s recent vote to allow gay youths to join, the Rev. Derek Lappe, pastor of a Roman Catholic Church in Bremerton, announced his parish will separate ties with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).
“I do not feel that it is possible for us to live out, and to teach, the authentic truth about human sexuality within the confines of the Boy Scout’s new policy and so I would like to give an explanation as to why it will be necessary for our parish to part ways with the New Boy Scouts.”
In a related incident, Pastor Greg Walker also that Boy Scout troops will no longer be welcome to meet onsite at the First Baptist Church of Helena (in Alabama). Pastor Walker said the Boy Scouts are supporting a “sinful lifestyle” by allowing openly-gay scout members to join. Also, “Focal Point” radio host Bryan Fischer ranted that the BSA stands for “Boy Sodomizers of America,” further suggesting the organization’s decision was supported by the Mormon church because officials of the latter group hope legalization of polygamy.
So I’m pretty darn confused. In the BSA policy, sexual conduct, of any kind has never been condoned. Therefore, I have to question why homosexuality is singled out.
Reverend Lappe, Pastor Walker and Mr. Fischer all seem to have neglected BSA’s own internal problems, specifically allowing sexual predators to pass. In confidential files, BSA secretly hid details of sexual abuse, the files — parts of which have surfaced recently through lawsuits — illustrate how the Boy Scouts frequently failed to protect youths within the organization and beyond. Too often, allegations were treated as Scout secrets and not referred to law enforcement. Yet how many BSA clubs were excommunicated by churches across the country?
Pastor Walker seems to focus on a BSA non-issue. But does Pastor Walker focus on real issues at home, where reports show that Alabama has gone from the 9th poorest state in the U.S. in 2010 to the 5th poorest state in 2011? Alabama has the highest tax rates for families at the poverty line. So now, when rates are likely to increase even further and increase the burden on the state’s most vulnerable residents, Alabama is doing its best to remove residents who pay into the system but almost never receive any services back. What does his church do for those issues?
In Season 2 of the West Wing, Martin Sheen’s character demonstrates the need for intelligent, temporally contextual interpretations of religious thought (paraphrased).
- I want to sell my youngest daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. What’s a good price?
- My chief of staff insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself? Or is it okay to call the police?
- Here’s one that’s really important, because we’ve got a lot of sports fans in this town. Touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point?
- Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side?
- Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads?
As a nation we declare “all men equal.” But we must not be blind to those who read “all men are created equal; except negroes; Hispanics; Asians; homosexuals; immigrants; illegal aliens; Buddhists; Catholics (or whatever religion); the ‘lamestream’ media, etc., etc., etc.” where absolutism is subjectively infused with a splatter of hypocrisy.
In truth, we are all equal.
I respect the BSA leadership for inclusion. I am enthralled by their courage. They should be honored.
To all others, I unequivocally state, “Your fifteen minutes are up. Get a life.”