On Monday, the Boy Scouts of America pushed through a change that was probably one of the largest unforced errors of its 100+ year history. All moral preening aside, the decision to lift the ban on allowing openly homosexual adults to lead scout troops has all but guaranteed a flurry of further litigation and further splintering of the organization, while doing nothing to address the precipitous decline that has only accelerated under the 2014 change that allowed openly homosexual scouts to participate in its programs.
While the policy change was ostensibly done out of a desire to avoid further litigation over the issue (which is ironic given the BSA’s landmark victory at the Supreme Court just 15 years ago), all it has done is to guarantee more of the same. Except now, the national BSA organization won’t be the target of the Big Gay legal bullies; the local troops and their chartering organizations will. What has effectively happened is that the national organization, in a brilliant stroke of cowardice disguised as compromise, has pushed off any legal responsibility (or liability) for volunteer selection onto the local units (perhaps a Scout isn’t so Brave after all).
While these lawsuits may have been financially straining for a national organization with millions of dollars in annual revenue, they will prove completely ruinous for local units whose business model consists of having a couple 12-year olds sell overpriced popcorn to their neighbors. BSA, Inc. can afford to drop a few million on years-long civil litigation suits. The First Baptist Church of Everytown, USA, not so much. So, the end result of this policy change will ultimately be a national de-facto requirement that all scouting units/chartering organizations accept all homosexuals. It would have been more honest (a Scout is Trustworthy) of the national organization to simply change the membership policy to reflect that fact rather than simply throwing their local units to the wolves. But that would have required an honest recognition of what they were doing (i.e. appeasing the Big Gay activists who have been harassing their corporate donors for the last decade). For an organization that prides itself on its ability to turn young boys into men by instilling in them the virtues of honor and duty, such duplicity is discouraging.
In a similar vein, the policy change coupled with the coming onslaught of further lawsuits is all but guaranteed to fracture the organization. Nearly half of all scouting units are sponsored by Mormon, Catholic, or Southern Baptist churches. Of those three groups, the Southern Baptists and Mormons have all but promised to leave, while the Catholics are keeping their options open. If the policy change isn’t enough to drive out these units, the lawsuits will be. No chartering organization is going to stick around long when they’ve been left to fend for themselves by the national organization. The result will send the membership rolls into free fall and cast serious doubt on the legitimacy of the Boy Scouts and their ability to carry out their mission. It is difficult to teach boys how to be leaders when your own weak leadership sends your own members running for splinter groups. While these splinter groups are also unlikely to last very long, the damage will be done to the Boy Scouts. The BSA will be reduced to a rump of its former self.
But that was the point of Big Gay’s decade-long crusade against the Boy Scouts. It was never about giving homosexually-inclined boys the opportunity to experience the Scouting program. It was all about destroying Scouting. Scouting was about the only program left that taught young people how to be self-reliant, productive members of society, so naturally that was intolerable to the radical Left. Unable to co-opt the organization, these radicals have sought to destroy it. They’ve successfully created a deep, internal division (over something that just a few years ago was considered simple common sense) so that the organization is unable to withstand the external attacks of the radical Left. The BSA may or may not continue to bumble along as a viable organization, but if it does, it will be in a diminished form. And that will be because they forgot the meaning of their own Scout Oath and Law.