Article VI Blog

"Religion, Politics, the Presidency: Commentary by a Mormon, an Evangelical, and an Orthodox Christian"

United States Constitution — Article VI:

"No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

The Real Stakes

Posted by: John Schroeder at 11:28 am, February 4th 2013     —    1 Comment »

As the Boy Scouts begin their meetings to decide, among other things, if they are going to change their rules on homosexuality, I think it is reasonable to come to understand what is really at stake.  This MSNBC article makes it fairly plain.

The Boy Scouts of America announcement last week that it may eliminate the exclusion of gays from membership at the national level, leaving the decision to its local units, has drawn a harsh backlash from some of the organization’s more religious conservative members, who are “gravely distressed,” even as more liberal churches hailed the move.

With more than two-thirds of Scouting groups affiliated with religious bodies, faith plays a large role in the private youth organization.

And so the “battle lines” are drawn.  It’s the reasonable, loving pro-gay forces against the repressive, Luddite forces of religion.  Make no mistake.  The forces of homosexual normalization have the religious community squarely in its sights.  What makes me sad is that people of faith are not mean to homosexuals, they simply view homosexual practice as aberrant and immoral.  It is the nature of Christianity in all its expressions to understand that  we are all engaged in sinful behavior of one sort or the other.  But it is in fact religion’s job to help us overcome that behavior.

But that is not the game the LGBT community is choosing to play here.  In their view, if we do not accept their behavior, then we do not accept them.  The responses to such are trite – “Is it ‘unaccepting’ to allow a child to stick their hand in a fire?” and so forth.  We have good arguments, but our opponents choose not to listen to them.

Perhaps we bear some responsibility for those deaf ears.  We have at times set the LGBT community outside the community of “common” sinners, as if lepers.  In this we were wrong, but the answer is not to change our definition of sin – the answer is to do as Jesus and the apostles did.  Make company of the “leper,” while still seeking to heal them.

But we must also protect our institutions.  Have you ever wondered what constitutes an institution?  Some, business corporations for example, are pure money machines.  It is the acquisition of wealth that is their reason to exist.  But some institutions exist for other reasons.  University, for example, exists to preserve and advance knowledge.  For them money is but a means to that end.  At least it should be, though I fear that for many the money now drives the mission instead of the other way around.

Scouting is an institution of a different type.  Like service clubs such as the Rotary or the Jaycees, it is an institution deigned to promote character in its participants.  Often religiously tinged, though rarely overtly of a religion, such institutions exist to create and reinforce good character across religious and cultural lines.  They are first and foremost American institutions.  Not of the government but designed to reinforce the character that is typically viewed as necessary for good citizenship.

When you mess with the character and morality standards of such an institution, you mess with the very basis of the nation.  Yes, the institution will continue to survive in some sense, but it will be something very different than what it was conceived to be.  You could say that in the moth, the caterpillar still lives, but does it really?  Is it not now so fundamentally changed that you must declare the caterpillar dead?  So it has been with churches that have made the move that the BSA now contemplates – so it will be with the BSA.

Yes, some troops will still resemble the “old” Boy Scouts, at least for now.  But such changes are a form of institutional entropy.  They drive ever forward and once the energy barrier has been overcome, the entropy inevitably spreads.

A friend commented to me that many, if not most, of the commercials during last night’s Twilight Zone of a Super Bowl were an indication that we are in a true age of cultural depravity.  Perhaps what constitutes “depravity” is subject to individual interpretation, but freedom means we can create pockets where our view is preserved.  But our opposition on these matters seems determined not to allow us such pockets.  If they would allow us such freedom they would simply form their own institution similar to Scouts, but no, they must change the Scouts.

Freedom is not what this fight is about.  They wish to transform us at our very core and are willing to eliminate our freedom if that is what it takes.

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Posted in Religious Bigotry, Religious Freedom, Social/Religious Trends, The Way Forward, Understanding Religion | 1 Comment » | Print this post Print this post | Email This Post Email This Post

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