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Sending up the White Flag Print E-mail
By Anthony Esolen   
Wednesday, 05 June 2013

And now, the last words I’ll ever write about the Boy Scouts. 
    

Do you know, Scoutmasters, what you have done?  You were the last prominent public institution left standing that retained for yourselves some small shred of that forgotten but foundational freedom, the freedom of association. It should have been repugnant to a people loving liberty that anyone would hale you before any court in the land, much less the Supreme Court, to compel you to alter your standards for membership in the Scouts – standards that have gotten fairly lax at that. 

Instead, because we are no longer ruled by a Constitution delimiting organs of government and their relationship with one another, but by a cultural creed invented by an elite in positions of influence and power, and pretending to be our “Constitution,” you were sued, and you won your case, by the skin of your teeth. And our teeth, too – but you seem to have forgotten that.
    

You were also the last public institution whose mission was specifically directed to the moral, educational, and social health of boys. It is no surprise that when boys and girls are taught at home, the boys prove to be quite teachable; they do not fail, as they do in our schools. That is not because homeschooling is particularly beneficial to boys, but because our schools have become pernicious to them. 

Have you not read or heard of Professor Summers’ work, The War on Boys? Did it not occur to you that boys, aggressive by nature, often antsy and jumpy, sometimes ready at a signal to launch into rebellion, have their peculiar shortcomings that a feminized and bureaucratized school is ill-equipped to handle, and peculiar strengths, which those places cannot foster? 

Or choose not to foster: for it is hard to believe that even today’s crop of schoolteachers can be entirely ignorant of the nature of boys, so that when they starve them of the adventure stories they would enjoy, or starve them of examples of chivalrous manhood to which they might aspire, they do so knowing that they will languish. They either accept that as a necessary evil, or they wish it. 

For the boy, everywhere he turns, it is either get along with the feminist program, or get lost. 
    

Everywhere, that is, except for the Boy Scouts. Did that not occur to you? Did you really think you were hated even though you helped boys to grow into a healthy manhood?  When city councils were busy driving you out of your own lodgings while voting funds for Gay Pride parades and additional policemen to crack down on gangs, did you think that they were simply inattentive or inconsistent? Did you really think that they actually held the old ideals dear, but just wanted you to reach out to one or two sexually confused boys?


    
   The B.S. Handbook with a cover by Norman Rockwell, c. 1964

When they were condemning you for resisting the idea that men who are sexually attracted to boys should be in charge of troops of boys, did you not notice that they were also busy condemning Catholic bishops for hiding priests who had acted upon the very same attractions?  Did you think they were just incoherent? Did you not understand that they hated you for the virtues you still upheld, although now only sporadically and confusedly? 
    

You will say that you needed to concede some small territory to relieve the pressure of lawsuits, and to extend the goodness of Scouting to more boys. And that alone shows that you do not know what you have done. You now profess yourselves agnostic on the nature of boys – you do not know the plain facts of the case. You cannot bring yourselves to acknowledge that boys are for girls and girls are for boys; that a boy is to become a man, and if he finds a woman who will accept him, to become a husband and a father in his turn. 

That is not tactical retreat. It is total surrender. You have given up the flag. You have reneged on the very principle of your existence.  You are like the hapless David Blankenhorn, who for many years waged a wearisome battle to remind people that children need fathers, and who was reviled for it almost everywhere he turned.  And now Mr. Blankenhorn has given up, and says that he supports the logical and biological impossibility of same-sex marriage; and he does not know that that renders his crusade for fatherhood meaningless. 

For if we ignore the biological fact that anybody can see, we surely are not going to pay attention to the less obvious anthropology. If sex does not matter for sex, it is not going to matter for anything else. 
    

Blankenhorn gave up the principle. You have done that too. You are a tree now dead at the core. You will continue to show signs of life, as such trees do. You will sprout some leaves, and provide some shade, but you are dead. 

You may be like the Young Men’s Christian Association, some years after the decision was made no longer to be Christian, and no longer to attend specifically to the physical, educational, vocational, and spiritual needs of young men. About the time, perhaps, when the Village People composed their jaunty and odious song about trawling for boys at the YMCA. 
    

Do not suppose that your enemies will be placated by your surrender. You will be pressured to accept openly homosexual scoutmasters, then “transgender” girls who say they are boys or the Prince of Wales or male aliens from Alpha Centauri 3, then girls generally for all your programs, as they’ve done in Canada, only to see their membership go the way of the Church of Canada, since no one will stand up for someone who stands for nothing. 
    

You have betrayed your friends to assuage your enemies. May they treat you more handsomely than you have treated us.

Anthony Esolen is a lecturer, translator, and writer. His latest books are Reflections on the Christian Life: How Our Story Is God’s Story and Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child. He teaches at Providence College. 
 
 
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Comments (57)Add Comment
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written by Deacon Ed Peitler, June 05, 2013
The only thing now left for the rest of us to do is to join the 'office pool' guessing the date when the final light will be turned off on the BSA. Only thing is, the time when the winner of the pool is declared will coincide with the time when all of us will have lost something great.

It's no different from all of our once-full convents and houses of religion: the only thing left is guessing the date when the last religious sister or brother leaves and turns off the light.

It's what happens when we stop believing in the eternal truths and opt for the ephemera of this world. What a pity!
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written by nady, June 05, 2013
very true indeed.
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written by Manfred, June 05, 2013
Kudos to you, Dr. Esolen! What a stunning indictment of one of the true shibboleths of American culture-what boy has not been a Scout or has not known friends who were Scouts? First it was the military, then sports and now the Scouts-all these bastions of maleness are gradually being eroded and destroyed. This was abetted and accelerated by the Church, of course, which cannot raise a finger to protect either the laity or the Nation from "catholic" leaders such as Cuomo, Sebelius, Pelosi, Biden, Cdl Mahony et al from abortion or sodomite "marriage". A great article. Thank you.
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written by Athanasius, June 05, 2013
Prof. Esolen is so right that this action won't placate the enemies of the Boy Scouts. These people are in all-out war against the Church and anyone who shares our values. It is a religious fervor with them. They have taken over the Democratic Party, most of academia, Hollywood, and the media.

Many conservatives and believers still do not see the extent of the threat, and still consider these to be people of good will. They are not, at least not the ringleaders. They are on the prowl like dragons. but as Our Lord said, we must be as cunning as wolves when dealing with these people, while still maintaining our trust and fidelity to Our Lord Jesus. We cannot, as the Boy Scouts have done, and as many "conservatives" are doing on gay marriage, give ground on these important moral issues.

We must stand our ground. But in order to do this, we must know the truth ourselves. We must be well versed in the "First Things", as Prof. Arkes would say. As bleak as things seem, we must never forget that all that happens is still within God's providence. The final victory is His. We must, with St. Faustina, trust completely in God.

I never really understood what Jesus meant about turning the other cheek until it was explained by either Scott Hahn or Fr. Robert Barron in one of their lectures (forgive my poor memory here). It is standing our ground instead of running away, but also not descending into the evil of our oppressors by returning the violence (beyond a just self defense). We must stand up for truth and goodness with love, and keep our eyes on the ultimate prize: The eternal vision of the Beauty of God.

Thank you, Tony, for your excellent analysis.

Let us Pray: Oh most Blessed Virgin Mary, you are The Immaculate Conception. Please pray for our Church and our nation that we may be true to the call of Jesus. Amen.
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written by Christophe, June 05, 2013
Where are the bishops in all this? Why haven't they declared that they will cancel their parishes' affiliation with the Boy Scouts? Or, better yet, why didn't they warn of this result beforehand? That would have stopped the move in its tracks.

Well, I guess to ask those questions is to answer them.
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written by Richardson Mcphillips, June 05, 2013
"United Church of Canada"
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written by jweaks, June 05, 2013
I agree with the basic premise expressed here and BSA has signed it's own death certificate, but two observations:

1. The Scoutmasters DID NOT do this. This was done at the "political" level above the Scoutmasters.

2. As one of the largest chartering organizations where was the Roman Catholic Church on this? It is my understanding that they did not and still have not fully weighed in on this and appear to be saying this an okay change.
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written by Sandra, June 05, 2013
I really wish that those outside an organization would 'think' for a moment before spouting off. Like the Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA) the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) were hijacked by those "hand-picked" by the employees to sit on the local and national boards of directors.

The Girl Scouts "caved-in" in the mid-1980s, but it took a total corporate restructure for it to be apparent to those OUTSIDE of Girl Scouting. When all those "traditionalist" women, all those barriers to process with their 'unhealthy devotion to tradition' were removed from previously "local" councils.

The Boy Scouts did similar, if you can't change a group from the 'outside' get inside and work it. So they have, I expect within a year or two, even avowed GLBT "activists" will be welcomed as "leaders" or what GSUSA now calls "volunteers."

If you look at the state of the Worldwide Scouting/Guiding Movement, in many countries, the national organizations are espousing 'values' that would have their founders rolling in their graves.

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written by Jack,CT, June 05, 2013
This Kind of SOFT BIGATRY confirms why people
run from invitation to our Faith!
Mr Esolen the sexuality of these "Children"
for god sake is none of my business or yours.
Since the scouts is an all "Volenteer" organinization,
Parents have a choice.
The willingness to accept others as they are is never
bad, let the Lord do the judge...
I may agree with all you said in "My Heart" but I need
to tolerate all,Just how I see it.
Thanks for a good read.
Jack
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written by Tony, June 05, 2013
To Sandra: My understanding is that 1400 people voted on this measure, many of whom were indeed Scoutmasters. But that doesn't really matter; we could substitute "Leaders of the Scouts" without altering the point of the article.

To Jack: Absolute nonsense. The upbringing of healthy boys, training them towards healthy manhood, is the parents' business and also the church's business and the Boy Scouts' business and the business of everybody concerned about the common good. All you have done is simply to shrug, to say that sexual predilections (and actions) are a matter of indifference. By all means, exercise charity towards persons -- but what you are doing is capitulating to moral evil, and allowing vulnerable kids to be exposed to its allure. That is neither wise nor charitable. I recall something that Jesus said about millstones.
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written by ,Ray, June 05, 2013
@Jack, Ct. Sorry, but I can't agree with this type thinking. Read Ezekiel, Chapter 33 verse 6. We are the watchman in this verse. If we know something is wrong then we need to speak up. If we don't we will be held responsible.
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written by Jack,CT, June 05, 2013
"To Tony", You read alot into what I said, I suggest
You just take what "I" said literally And keep
your interuptations out,we are both better off then.
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written by Walter, June 05, 2013
I commend the BSA for living up fully to the teaching of the Catechism, which calls the faithful to do essentially two things in this regard: (1) draw a distinction between the humanity of those with homosexual tendencies and the sinfulness of homosexual activity, and (2) avoid unjust discrimination against those with homosexual tendencies (my summary, but the full text is at 2357-2359).

The morality part for all boys remains the same: whether straight or gay, they should not be having sex. If any scout acknowledges engaging in sexual activity, they should be disciplined.

Within this framework, there is an inherent logic of including gay scouts but not gay scoutmasters.

I would guess that Mr. Esolen would also support a scouting ban not only on gays, but on any scout who admits to masturbation, a mortal sin and an affliction that has been known to affect more than a few teenage boys.
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written by Jack,CT, June 05, 2013
Dear Ray,
Oh how they "Felt" they had Jesus and
tested him,,,,as she was an obvious sinner and
Jesus replied "Let him cast the first stone.."
My point only is to INVITE the sinner among us
and then we can make a difference in there
Soul and only then...casting the sinner aside
is exactly what the evil one wants.
I apreciate the critics I was aware I would
attract with my statements but I believe in
true "Forgiveness" and only one Judgement.

@Tony,my words on more "Nonsence" then your
wordy phrases to hide a hollow and shrill
view! Respectfully, Jack
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written by Jack,CT, June 05, 2013
ADDENDUM" to the Author: I feel compelled to
exspress that my commentary with a reader in
no way effects how I feel about the quality
of your work,as I Originally said,"In my
Heart I agree with all you said"
Respectfully, Jack
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written by Tony, June 05, 2013
Walter -- I am afraid that you are missing the entire point. Like most people these days, you see nothing in that great sweep of human activity between Celibacy and Sexual Intercourse. I've dealt with your argument in a recent piece for Public Discourse. The fact is, the Boy Scouts now can acknowledge no logical reason why chastity is a virtue; NOR can it acknowledge that there is a range of sexual activity -- that is, activity proper to boys as boys -- which is not only admissible but good and healthy. For instance, giving a sweetheart a present on her birthday, or a kiss, or other tokens of affection. Or perhaps you think that it is all right for an older boy to flirt with a younger boy, and so forth?

The point is that the Boy Scouts of America no longer professes to know what boys ARE. Not knowing that, they can have nothing of sense to say to me about their development into healthy MEN. And if you think that it is a good and healthy thing for boys to be exposed to the company of some kid who AFFIRMS publicly the supposed goodness of his sexual attraction to other boys, then I must throw my hands up in despair -- because this is something that nobody of any sense would allow.

The case of somebody who "admits to masturbation" is a bad analogy. Is he affirming the goodness of the act, publicly? If so, by all means, get rid of him. But that temptation and that action do not completely invert the meaning of masculinity, do they? Recall: they are the BOY Scouts. BOYS are for girls, remember. That is the key -- boys are boys, to be brought up to be men, husbands, fathers. A boy may or may not be a thief, or may or may not be tempted to steal; if he is a thief, he should be sent packing from the Scouts, because he is bad company. But the boy who affirms sexual attraction to other boys is attacking boyhood at the very heart. I am not judging his moral state relative to that of the boy who steals. I am judging the principle. The man who gladly affirms that he is tempted to be angry with his wife is a bad man; but the man who gladly affirms that he is tempted to lie with another woman attacks marriage at the heart.
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written by Achilles, June 05, 2013
Requiescat in pace BSA.

Excellent article Dr. Esolen!

Jack CT, the soft bigotry is yours. Christ commands us to "jugdge righteous judgment." I certainly understand your sentimentality, but you may not understand the nature of this movement and the idol of "tolerance" is getting in the way.

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written by jweaks, June 05, 2013
@Tony: Ditto, and well said sir.
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written by Seanachie, June 05, 2013
Is the BSA decision consistent with the Scout Oath in terms of its vows re "duty to God" and "morally straight"...I don't think so. Scouts have been gravely undermined by charlatans in their own organization. One avoids communicable diseases by avoiding contact and association with those having them.

Scout Oath:
"On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my Country and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight."
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written by Thomas C. Coleman, Jr., June 05, 2013
Christohpe is right. In 1992 when Presdient Clinton was going to allow homosexuals to serve openly in the military the USCCB took a firm pulbic stand against the policy, pointing out that it would be injurious to both the miliatry and to those suffering form SSAD. This time, when President Obama announced his intentions, Cdl Wuerl answered a question about the matter by saying bascially that the Church does not intrude on such matters. Where is there a bishop who will rebuke Joe Biden for his insane support of abortion and calling such unions marriage. Just last week, the newly installed bishop of Oakland, at his concecration and installation ceremony, happily referred to seminary drop-out-become-gay-marriage-advocate Jerry Brown as a Jesuit. Our shepherds seem so enamored by the pro-abortion, pro-sodomy Left, apparently because they believe that Our Savior was a Socialist, that they refuse to denounce evil when they see it. Do they really not understand they their silence is deceiving their flocks? Do they no realize that those who remainn loyal to the Church will be called hate criminals and that a shadow church with men and women who call themselves bishops and priests are set to take over when those gay-hating papists are arrested?
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written by kristinajohannes, June 05, 2013
Tony, your point: "You now profess yourselves agnostic on the nature of boys – you do not know the plain facts of the case" is a perfect summation of the statement in the BSA resolution: "WHEREAS, the Boy Scouts of America does not have an agenda on the matter of sexual orientation, and resolving this complex issue is not the role of the organization..."
Do you know if this BSA statement above is a new statement or one that was already in their membership standards? If it was already there then the writing was on the wall before this latest vote.
I have two thoughts on this generally: we have allowed the term "sexual orientation" to be misused and this has caused confusion; and the phrase "unjust discrimination" in the CCC needs clarification because it has also been the source of much confusion.
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written by Deacon Ed Peitler, June 05, 2013
When I read some of the comments here and elsewhere justifying the Boy Scouts' official stand on homosexuality (or same sex attraction, if you prefer) in the ranks, I am quickly reaching the conclusion that so much of what has happened to our culture is the direct result of radical feminism. This feminism is now (and has been in the recent past) perverting the very meaning of gender identity - what the very meaning of manhood and womanhood are. This has resulted in the feminization of boys/men. We are doing everything in our culture to blur the meaning of what it means to be a male of the human species. Contraception, abortion, single parent/ female headed "families", homosexuality, gun control, surrogate "mothers", rampant divorce, women in active combat and the men who cannot control their passions in such an environment - one could go on and on - all can be laid at the doorstep of radical femininism. Even within the bounds of our Church, we see clergy who have been feminized. How else would you explain adult male priests preying on pubescent males if not because they had become a weakened form the male of the species. And the one who should have been responsible for holding them accountable - the bishop - did not do so because they, too, were feminized men.
Just think about some of the major issues plagueing our culture and examine them against the effects of radical feminism and the feminization of the male.
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written by Maggie-Louise, June 05, 2013
The first step in "standing our ground" as Athanasius advises, is to stop using the word "gay" when we mean "homosexual". We must set the terms of the discussion and the grounds on which the discussion will take place. The first rule is to use the word that means what you intend to say. Don't debate on their terms. If you do, you will have lost the debate before you begin. The first time a Catholic used "gay" when he meant "homosexual" was the instant when the debate was lost Call something what it is.

Before you bring up dictionaries: My Encyclopaedia Brittannica dictionary that is about 50 years old lists a dozen definitions of "gay", all heavily elaborated upon. "Homosexual" is number seven, and there is no elaboration of the definition at all. The Am. Heritage dictionary, 1979, puts it as the last of five definitions. A dictionary is only going to tell you what's popular, not what's accurate.
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written by Walter, June 05, 2013
Tony, I do indeed get your point. I also agree with you on the nature of boys. I disagree with you about what we should do when a young boy bears a cross that is contrary to his nature.

Your solution is to isolate the boy, have him bear his cross alone and deny him exposure to those very things that you say bring out his true nature. Using this logic, one could argue generally that gay attraction is contrary to human nature, that it is attacking humanity at its very heart, and that even celibate gay persons who publicly reveal their homosexual tendencies pose a threat to the members of the church and therefore should be denied the sacraments and excommunicated.

I prefer the Catechism's approach, which is at once faithful, nuanced, constructive and challenging on this topic. Here one can find room for both sides of the BSA argument.

Since you will no longer write about the scouts, perhaps you could take a more difficult and substantive challenge posed by the Catechism (2357-2359): writing about what "unjust discrimnation" against gay people means and what it doesn't, or how exactly a Catholic should accept gay people "with respect, compassion and sensitivity."
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written by Jack,CT, June 05, 2013
@Walter,simply beatifully put...ty
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written by Mack, June 05, 2013
As an old teacher (Get your finger off the "stereotype" key; I was 18 months in Viet-Nam and was voting Republican long before the fat boy on radio ingested his first illegal drugs.), I long ago perceived that same-sex education is a sine qua non. Boys and girls are different (duh), and boys need a lot more masculine roll modeling than they will get from the sperm donors who bugged out long ago.

And you could do something -- volunteer in the reading program or safety program at school. You could mentor. You could stand for school board (democracy is not a video game). Heck, you could even VOTE. I wonder if Mr. Esolen voted in his last school board election; few people do.
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written by Maggie-Louise, June 05, 2013
Deacon Ed,

BINGO!! Absolutely correct. Every social ill in our country today, including obese children and infantilized men, broken families, abortion, transgender nonsense, economic collapse, and the destruction of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, etc. etc., can be laid right at the feet of feminism--and I won't even qualify that with "radical". Not only men, themselves, but whole social and government agencies are so (insert your word) afraid of women they all but cower before them while shaking in their shoes, and the women know it and play it to the hilt. What began as chivalry and good manners soon evolved into feminist tyranny. It kind of reminds one of the Garden of Eden, doesn't it. And we all know where THAT lead.
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written by Tony, June 05, 2013
Walter -- there are two kinds of boys who are troubled with this affliction, as I see it. There are those who keep it to themselves, because they don't want it to persist; they are trying to negotiate the straits. Then there are those who openly embrace it. The first kind of boy needs to be watched, and mentored. The second boy is a direct threat. If you accept him in your company AS A BOY -- recall, these are the BOY scouts -- then you tacitly give your approval to the disorder. You are thus endangering that first boy by inviting the second.

Or are we to believe that there are no vulnerable boys? That they are never, never enticed or allured into that life? I'm not saying that the second boy would necessarily act so as to allure or entice. His very presence in the BOY scouts is a sign to that other boy, "See, this is all right, no problem, it's just one other legitimate way of being a boy."

No heart for that first boy, or for other boys who might have their troubles? All the other boys in the world are just naturally going to be attracted to girls, without confusion, without turmoil? I am continually astonished by our callousness towards kids who are just trying to grow up half normal in a sick world. No sympathy for them, or for their fathers.
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written by Walter, June 05, 2013
Tony, I sincerely appreciate your replies. To illustrate my point, substitute the word Catholic wherever it says boy or boy scout in your last post. And yet the Catechism assumes (perhaps even invites) gay people will be open about their cross. Otherwise, why would it give instructions about how to act toward them? BTW - my suggestion last time was serious: would love to see you apply your gifts to a thought column on the Catechism"s charges against discrimination and about acceptance of gays.
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written by Jack,CT, June 05, 2013
I always felt that if i was listening to a priest/deacon
that I should never walk away with any idea of how they
may vote.
I love the truth that you speak Mack as it is free of the
"cliche" and banter that blocks communication and does
nothing for good "Communication".
My father was wounded in Korea and went back for more
and came home very well decorated.It would be very hard
for the average person to "figure out" his political
views despite being an "Open Book".
I can tell you that this was not an accident as he was
an "All Inclusive" type.
I am a student of listening and I relize that "I" learn
nothing from "hearing myself speak".That is what i learned
from a wise old man.
I had to search for answers about my own fathers "Army Life" from his sister,so as we throw around all these
"Biblical" answers to all that is "Immoral",I find it
silly,the truth is "cub scouts" has nothing to do with
what may or may not be immoral.These topics are much
more complicated,Right?
We all can all learn alot from Mack in my
view,and by the way thanks for your service.
Jack
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written by california teacher, June 05, 2013
The point about home schooled boys being more teachable than public school boys is comparing apples and oranges. Home schooled children almost always have a good family with two parents committed to their education. The antsy ones in public school (I speak from decades of experience here) are invariably from broken homes and uninvolved parents. Your points about the Scouts were valid.
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written by DS, June 05, 2013
How can you watch and mentor a boy on the topic of sexuality if he is keeping the struggle to himself?
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written by Tony, June 05, 2013
Various points:

To Mack: I've long believed that the public schools are irremediably corrupt. That is why I've been active -- strenuously so -- in reclaiming the culture in other ways; for example, by serving for seven years as the president of a rather large state homeschooling organization, back in the years before I was lecturing and writing and so forth. We do what we can and what we believe we are called to do.

To Walter: My good friend Father Paul Check is the national head of Courage, the ministry for men and women who struggle with SSA. He, by the way, agrees most vigorously that the Boy Scouts' decision will hurt boys very badly, both those who do not struggle with the trouble and those who do. We are talking here about kids with a severe moral/psychological disorder, and placing them in the company of other kids who are vulnerable -- we are not talking about grown men. Again, although you and I seem to agree about the nature of healthy manhood, our opponents certainly do not, and the boy in the Scouts who flirts or behaves in a campy way will not be rebuked for it -- on what grounds? The Scouts have denied that there is such a thing as a healthy masculinity oriented by nature to marriage and fatherhood.

To California Teacher: That explains only part of it. You do not know the boys; I do, I have been around homeschooled boys and girls for 20 years, and have been around college freshmen for 28 years. Boys have to slog their way through endless boredom, endless dumping upon them for being boys, endless feminist celebrations, endless twaddle about the wonderfulness of Susan Anthony and the nastiness of the Founding Fathers, endless absurd stories about girl jocks, no stories of male gallantry, no stories of authoritative fatherhood, no stories of masculine adventure; and then everything they are taught, they are taught in a feminine way -- I tell you I remember how bad school could be from having experienced it, but if I had to go through it now, I think they'd have me on Ritalin the second day I got through the door. Take boys out of that situation and they are like plants put back in the sunlight. Half of the improvement comes from just being removed from the harm.

To DS: Every man alive can pick out the boys who seem to have some trouble. You don't mentor them on the topic of sexuality. You mentor them by befriending them and building up their confidence as normal boys. But you cannot do that if they themselves have foreclosed it, by declaring themselves (and affirming themselves) as homosexual.

Good Lord, this is not astrophysics here! What a messed up culture we are, when we have to be arguing about the most commonsensical of things.
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written by Tony, June 05, 2013
Walter -- on being open about your cross: No, a thousand times NO. First of all, God made men and women; the sin, or the temptation to sin, is not essential to us. I do not accept the definition "gay", any more than I would accept the definition "adulterer." A man is not the sin he commits or the sin he is tempted to commit.

The rule about being frank about your temptations is the rule of charity. We must acknowledge our sins to our confessors, and there are times when acknowledging our temptations in private to some one person who needs our help may be an act of charity. More often than not, though, advertising one's temptations is a cheap way of playing the high-minded martyr while making everybody else uncomfortable, and creating ambiguity about the sin itself in their minds.

You would not acknowledge to your friend, for instance, that you fantasize about his wife, not unless you want to curdle that friendship. If you did acknowledge it, and if you did add, "But you must accept me just as I am, anyway," that would be deeply uncharitable. It is more often than not best to keep our temptations to ourselves and our confessors.
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written by Layman Tom, June 06, 2013
Ok, finally something I have the requisite experience and education to discuss on the same level as Team Esolen and the rest of my fellow travelers here. Too bad it has to be this topic.

I am and have been a Cubmaster at my children’s school for 10 years. For those of you who are uninitiated, that means I’m the head man in a Cub Scout Pack, which is the little kid version of the Boy Scouts. My older son has been in the Boy Scout troop for 4 ½ years, and my little guy just crossed over in December. I am an assistant Scout Master in their troop. I have dealt with the BSA regularly for all that time at the Council and District level. So it is saying a lot to say that this is by far the screwiest thing I’ve ever seen from BSA.

Tony is 100% correct in his assessment. Boy Scouts, at both levels, is about becoming a MAN in the correct way. That means a lot more than whatever the activists behind this blatantly stupid ruling think. There is no judgment of others; no hatred. Truly, sexuality is not something explicitly dealt with, and thankfully so. It really has no place in scouting, hetero or otherwise. I could describe all the things that scouting does give a young man, but since @Seanachie was good enough to print the Boy Scout Promise above, I would suggest looking at that for a concise synopsis.

Our troop votes every year on whether to allow women in camp. Hold on to your socks, but the boys always vote no. That’s right; we venture afield once a month away from the tender embrace of mommy and do things that require toughness and manliness. Why would the boys vote that way? Because those monthly campouts might be the only place where they ever experience freedom from our feminized culture. I’m not saying they think of it in those terms, but inherently, they know that it is a special thing. They get to run and play and demonstrate their toughness to other boys. They get to do adventurous things and test their mettle the old fashioned way. Yes, there are dads there to make sure it doesn’t turn into Lord of the Flies. We are there though, mostly as observers and consultants. The older boys do most of the teaching and making sure that things go well; that the younger scouts are dry and warm and that patrol campsites are set up correctly. It’s called the Patrol Method and it works. There are very few places on Earth where a 13-14 year old boy is totally responsible for the health and welfare of 6-8 other boys, some as young as 11 yrs. old, overnight in all conditions as is regularly the case for a patrol leader. There are similarly few places where a 15-18 year old boy would ever associate with a group of 5th grade boys not related to him. And not just associate, but actually take an interest; try to teach; try to help; go and check up on one who is homesick or scared without any adult directing him to. Lest anyone out there is a little uneasy about some of this, you are correct if you noticed that Boy Scouts involves boys at the edge of adulthood interacting in close quarters with 11 year old 5th graders. There is much difference between an 18yr old and an 11yr old boy. This works only if the idea of preying sexually on a little boy is universally repulsive to the teenagers entrusted with their care.

Unfortunately, Tony is correct about something else. The BSA is not going to emerge from this decision in any way recognizable to the millions of alumni who’ve made it what it was. At Cub Scout summer day camp yesterday, I ran into a couple of guys who I’ve known from years and years of summer camps. One guy is Baptist and the other Assembly of God. Both were disgusted and are absolutely positive that their respective churches are done. They are, like me, also involved in their troops. Both report that the plan is to get the guys who’re close through to Eagle as fast as possible because in January, they and their troops are done. They are investigating the Royal Rangers as an outlet for the rest. I told them that I had no idea which way my diocese would come down on the issue. They both shook their heads and said they couldn’t believe the Catholic Church did not come out more forcefully. I didn’t know what to say.
The truth is, that where the rubber meets the road is in the Troops (BS) and Packs (CS). This is where the “scouting program”, as they like to call it, is actually delivered to the boys. Those paid “Professional Scouters” who made this blunderous decision are wholly dependent on us lowly volunteers. They can’t deliver the program without us. Being a Cubmaster takes hours and hours a month of dedicated work. Being a Scoutmaster takes even more time and effort. Those of us who’ve devoted years to running a solid program at great personal cost, do so out of love for our boys, for this program and this way of life. We laid a great deal on the line, willingly, and cheerfully because we believe in this stuff. We were proud to belong to an organization that stood tall and declared this is who we are! When they fought the barbarians at the gate, we were proud and KNEW that this organization wasn’t afraid. Truly, it would have been better if we’d lost. At least we’d have gone down swinging AND we wouldn’t have been knifed in the back by our own. This way, many, many good men who’re great in the eyes of some scout somewhere feel betrayed . They are not likely to continue on. One of the guys put it succinctly: “If the BSA won’t stand for anything, I refuse to stand for it”. The whole sordid thing makes me sad. And Angry

-Tom
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written by Layman Tom, June 06, 2013
By the way, I think a lot more attention is being paid to individual boys’ stories than ought to be. We bandy anecdotal arguments about trying to play this or that scenario to its likely end, while missing the bigger picture. If a homosexual boy wanted to become an Eagle Scout, or more likely a boy on the path became aware of his SSA, that lad, by simply keeping the situation to his self, could continue on and achieve his goal. We are not in the business of driving out anyone, as long as they are not openly, chronically engaging in amoral behavior. There is no anti-homosexual witch hunt. Remember, we are teaching upright behavior in scouts. Behavior, not thoughts or desires. Sexuality is not a driver, because among heterosexual boys, there is no impetus. I can’t speak for all troops, but I imagine that upright behavior in troops chartered to other churches and civic organizations expect propriety from their scouts and moral behavior towards women at all times. i.e. openly discussing one’s heterosexual desires and engaging in unmarried sex with teenage girls is also strenuously frowned upon.

Don’t believe for an instant that this is about getting little Johnny into scouts “and wouldn’t it be shameful if he can’t be a scout?!” This is about destroying a bastion of manhood, one that was unashamedly standing in the vanguard proclaiming morality. This is not over. The leadership cannot be that stupid. And that is going out on a ledge in light of their recent record. This is the break in the salient. No more, no less. The forces of evil don’t give a damn about little Johnny and whether a handful of openly homosexual scouts can now become Eagle Scouts. They have a bigger prize. They will literally trample over the newly legal scouts to claim it too. They will either destroy this thing we all love, or they will denude it to the point of irrelevance. It can end no other way. By giving that inch, the mile is lost.

P.S. sorry for the book on the last post. I copied and pasted and the browser took all my paragraph breaks out

Peace
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written by Grump, June 06, 2013
I'm with Tony. Another once-great American institution bites the dust. How can we ever refer to "pack leaders" again without a smirk?

Despite the "win," the queers still aren't satisfied and are pushing for acceptance of homosexual scout leaders by overwhelmingly passing a bill in California to strip BSA of its nonprofit/tax-exempt status. No doubt rainbow uniforms will soon follow as the cancer spreads across the nation.

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written by schmenz, June 06, 2013
I must compliment Walter, in a back-handed way, for getting right to the crux of the matter: the utter failure of the Catholic Church, perfectly exemplified by their disastrous New Catechism, to teach the Faith clearly and unequivocally. That flawed and virtually worthless Catechism has given exactly the impression that was intended: to cast a cloud over the reality of serious mortal sin. By using such ludicrous concepts as "same sex attraction", aka sinning by thought, to "sexual orientation", whatever that means, the Church is basically given in to the homosexualists.

Did the Church signal this surrender on purpose or by accident? We can debate that point, though with the very obvious presence of a sort of queer mafia in the Church we can speculate that it was done on purpose. And the catastrophic situation of the presence of this unspeakable vice among priests, Bishops and Cardinals should also give us pause. But as long as folks like Walter accept this poorly-worded Catechism as the last word on the subject, and ignore 2,000 years of solid Church teaching on one of those sins that cries to Heaven for vengeance, then opinions like his will be more frequent.

What happened to the Boy Scouts is due in large part to the failure of the Catholic episcopacy. Even now we have high-ranking episcopal idiots clamoring for the rights of homosexuals, even going so far as to say, ludicrously, that they bare "born that way". Until that type of prelate is sacked and sent to a monatsery in the desert and until we get a Pope with a backbone, these evils will metastasize.
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written by kristinajohannes, June 06, 2013
Tony says, "I do not accept the definition "gay", any more than I would accept the definition "adulterer." A man is not the sin he commits or the sin he is tempted to commit."

This is absolutely right and a point we can't make often enough.

By the way, it seems to me that any new group should keep the name "boy" in it.

Grump I figured the ink would barely be dry on the new resolution before the next shoe would drop.
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written by Tony, June 06, 2013
Tom -- God bless you -- that's all I have to say.
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written by Layman Tom, June 06, 2013
Tony, Right back at you! And thanks. I read your piece in Public Discourse a while back. I thought it went straight to the heart of the matter very well. Why is this so difficult to grasp for some?

Peace.
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written by Walter, June 06, 2013
Of the 41 comments posted prior to this one, only schmenz and I reference the Catechism, though from decidedly different viewpoints. One would expect "The Catholic Thing" to actually reference authoritative and specific Catholic teaching on a topic such as homosexuality.

After reading schmenz's comment, I find much irony in the fact that the line to the "cafeteria" forms as often (perhaps more often) on the right as it does on the left. I suggest that schmenz reads the Apostolic Letter Laetamur Magnopere, authored by Blessed John Paul II when the Latin edition of the Catechism was promulgated. If you have problems with the Catechism, you also have problems with Church authority and the Magesterium.
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written by Tony, June 06, 2013
Walter -- Keep your eyes on the topic, please.

We are talking about children here, not about grown men. The Catechism merely says that this sort of sinner is not to be treated with special contempt, and not to be subject to UNJUST discrimination. That's fine. But it is STUPID, criminally stupid, to CONDONE the evil and to leave boys vulnerable to other boys who would find them sexually attractive.

Another thing -- how absurd is this? The boys can act like boys in a healthy way ONLY IF IT IS KNOWN BY EVERYONE FROM THE OUTSET THAT SEXUAL ATTRACTION HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT, that the arm around the shoulder, or the jumping naked into the lake, is just what normal boys do. The assumption that NOBODY APPROVES of boy-boy sex clears room for normal and healthy and physical expressions of friendship and good humor. Want to engage in a thought experiment? You see a boy sitting next to another boy, with an arm around his neck. Homosexuality is now the FIRST thing you will think. Nobody would have thought of that fifty years ago. And that is why you never will see that arm around the neck .... You cannot have things both ways. You cannot say, "I want an organization that will allow boys to forge physically expressed friendships in a normal and healthy way," AND "I want that organization to welcome boys who suffer an abnormal and unhealthy attraction to other boys and who DECLARE OPENLY that they affirm that attraction." It's like asking for self-celebrating drunks to be members of a temperance society.

And kindly refrain from calling me and others here "cafeteria" Catholics. I am thinking about the best interests of normal boys, and nothing that any pope has ever said, and nothing in the Catechism, contradicts me.

A question -- why is it that the ordinary boy can get no consideration, no sympathy, and no assistance? I am beginning to think that the BSA leadership has become like the GSA leadership -- enemies to normal boys. We will know this for certain when they start marching in "gay" parades. Oh -- I forgot -- they just did that the other day, in Salt Lake City.
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written by Burton, June 06, 2013
Tony and Layman Tom have hit on the critical distinction. The clear implication of the BSA policy change is the acceptance of boys with OPEN identity as homosexuals and POSITIVE affirmation of this identity as a "lifestyle choice". It is not as though the BSA were previously passing out entrance questionnaires trying to weed out boys who struggle quietly with same-sex attraction.

Imagine two different adolescent boy scouts, each of whom feel attracted to the same sex. One of these boys openly embraces these feelings, wears gay pride shirts to scout camp, and makes advances toward other boys in his troop. The other boy knows in his heart that these feelings of SSA are disordered, and he privately seeks the advice of his scoutmaster or parent or priest, wanting to do what is right in the eyes of God. This policy change is about the first boy, not the second. It is a tacit condoning of homosexuality as a valid and appropriate expression of boyhood.
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written by Walter, June 06, 2013
Tony, the cafeteria reference was directed to schmenz, not you, for his/her categorical dismissal ("flawed and virtually worthless") of the Catechism. As I said in a prior post, I think there is room in the Catechism to take either side of the BSA debate. Our view of boys' nature is the same, our end goals are the same. I simply judge the risks of a ban - both to straight boys and to gay boys - differently than you do. FYI - I speak as a father of 2 boys, one of whom is a scout.
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written by Anon, June 06, 2013
Walter,

Cardinal Ratzinger wrote at least three documents clarifying what unjust discrimination was and how the inclination itself may evoke moral concern. He was the authentic authority to interpret these matters. Those Vatican documents are never mentioned in these discussions. All we read are a few lines from the CCC with personal interpretation.
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written by anthony sistrom, June 07, 2013
Tony there was a revealing comment online a few months ago. The Brookings Institute in Washington is responsible for the Boy Scouts turnaround. Representatives of leading corporations sit on the board of Brookings and they decided to put the heat on the Boy Scouts. Since they are a great factor in the support of the Boy Scouts, they complied.
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written by Tilly, June 08, 2013
"That is not tactical retreat. It is total surrender. You have given up the flag. You have reneged on the very principle of your existence."

I wish every conservative who supports lgbt "rights"/ssm would understand this point. It is the heart of the matter.

Why do so many believe that this is a small retreat? I wonder how much our own sexual sin as a nation contributes to this blindness, to being unable to see that it's no small retreat, but rather total surrender. I pray for our country's repentance every day. I believe it is the only way out at this point, because reasoned arguments are falling on deaf hears.
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written by Tilly, June 08, 2013
Speaking of raising flags: when the rainbow flag flies to the left of the American flag (as seen from the audience facing the stage), or when it is raised above the American flag, how many people will notice? How many people will understand what it means? I'm afraid to even comment on it here, but I do believe the day is coming.
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written by Michael F. J. Lee, June 08, 2013
Far and away, THE largest chartering organization in the BSA is the Mormon "church." When the BSA got the "nod" from the Mormon sect, the deal was done. The ridiculous statement issued by the so-called "National Catholic Committee on Scouting" is typical Church "lawyer-speak" designed not to offend the offensive.
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written by Jack,CT, June 09, 2013
As Our "Liberal" friends continue to hear the
Hatred spewed by frankly radical "Nut jobs"
we wander why we are not filling our churches.
The fact is science has shown the "Gay Gene"
and to no suprise to those of us who believe
in MOST cases one is born with there sexual
orientation.
The homophobia is palpable on this topic here.
I have read the "wordsy sillyness =garbage
and chuckle.......
(I pray for you my friend)
We are status post 4 days since this story was
writtin and amazingly people are still talking
about "scouts",a group in the past i had only
read about because of there abuses of children...
gee where have I heard that before?
I never would have allowed any of my children
to go away on camping trips mainly due to the
scandals of the organization in the past.
I am not alone in this.....I just have no issue
speaking up.
So every time we show "Intolerance" we simly lose.
We could:
Accept people as they were biologically wired in
99.9 cases.
We could relize that standing side by side with
gays relizing that this is more macho then this
silly fear.
"As we forgive those who trespass agan....well
perhaps these words mean nothing here as no
one is "pushing an agenda" Except those who
DISCRIMINATE.
One of the odd realitys is that we all have
someone we love who is gay!
So just live and let live,the problem in a way
seems everyone is a critic,I swear just because
they can at times.
If we are honest even us who are "Conservaive
thinkers" can see beyond the fog.

Jack-
PS. Take your Blood pressure meds before responding!lol
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written by Layman Tom, June 10, 2013
Well, Jack,CT, I'm sure the past abuse scandals would have been a lot better if we had just been tolerant enough to admit homosexual leaders. Just look how well that worked for our church. Gee whiz! I feel so much better about it now.

You say that you have no issue speaking about something you admit knowing nothing about...um, ok, but understand that when you actually point that out, those who do know, or have a stake in an argument might not put as much credence into your opinion as you might like.

However, just for giggles, I would suggest that discrimination is not always a bad thing. You discriminate every day. You survey your choices in all things large and small, from which tie to wear with your shirt, similarly chosen, to whom you wish to associate with of your many acquaintances. The questionable assertion that homosexuals are 99.9% hard wired biologically does not mean that there aren't ever situations from which they should be exempted. I am biologically hard wired to appreciate beautiful young women. Should I therefore, by merit of being born this way, and in the almighty name of tolerance, be allowed to become a sorority house mother? I'm a good person. Why, anecdotally, we've all loved someone just like me. We should all stand shoulder to shoulder with me and join in my quest to be left alone in a house full of gorgeous college girls. I'll say a vow or sign a written promise that none of our late night pillow fights will degenerate into anything untoward, or that I won't allow myself to take advantage of any emotionally vulnerable, easily manipulated girl in my care. Even if they are confused and lonesome and mistakenly think my compassion and attentiveness is something more than it is. EVEN if they misguidedly become forward and seductive towards me.

Feel uncomfortable about that scenario yet? Why? Are you a hater? Before you get defensive and think I’m calling you names, let me defend you. You are not an intolerant hater, a bigot, or a heterophobe, just because you have the common sense to see that that situation is, regardless of how awesome it might be for me, patently stupid. Even without reading about it, you would not send your girls into a sorority with a full grown man in the position of live-in mentor and care keeper. The fact is that you would be discriminating against me. And that’s alright. As a matter of fact, that is absolutely the correct choice in the conflict between the desire to be open and tolerant to everybody and the desire to make good, common sense decisions about the welfare of your child. BTW, that choice is always, 100% of the time, the correct one.

Oh, one more thing, amongst us evil, white, capitalist, hate-mongering conservatives, we even do it to ourselves. We just can’t help it I guess. There are all sorts of camps that host both girls and boys. Guess what? Nobody bunks girls and boys in the same tent/cabin/sleeping facility. Why is that? Are hetero children more likely to be promiscuous? You’re saying that if I don’t openly welcome a teenage boy into my troop, where he’s going to camp in the same tent as other boys, some of whom might be pretty vulnerable at times, I am an intolerant homophobe. However, if the Lazy Eye Summer Camp for inbred conservatives camped teenage boys and girls together, would you not ridicule the owning organization as a ship of fools? Why is that? What is the difference? The truth about adolescence is that young people have raging hormones and haven’t developed good judgment yet. That’s why nobody bunks opposite sexes together. In case you’re still mulling it over, the only difference is that there is no ulterior agenda driving heteros to make asinine decisions in the name of tolerance.
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written by Jack,CT, June 10, 2013
Well layman,remember i said to take your
blood pressure meds......I suspect you
did not take my advise,I always told my
children not to respond to anyone when
angry' wait a day,,,,your perspective
will change.

Perhaps I give this advise because to
be honest you made no sense.
NONE!
I can respect any opinion but please be
careful not to speak for others and I
think you can understand it only makes
you look foolish.
Perhaps I should have said HOLD THE
COLACE AND THE SENNA.
Respectfully,
Jack, God Bless You
Layman
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written by Anon, June 10, 2013
Jack,
You cannot answer his questions, because to honestly answer him would expose your silly propaganda. Now back to the rainbow flag party.
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written by Jack,CT, June 10, 2013
Anon,
Tolerance is not an agenda.
Jack-
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written by Jack,CT, June 11, 2013


.............................................................d r a w i ng t h e L I N E
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written by Layman Tom, June 11, 2013
Jack,

You are right about one thing. I should never pound out the first thing that comes to me. I wasn't angry. Yet, had I waited, I would have been less the smart alec in my first two paragraphs. That was not very generous of me and I apologise if I hurt your feelings.

That being said, I do not think anything about my perspective is one iota different wihout the snarkiness. My questions still stand unanswered as pointed out by Anon. They are destined to remain unanswered too. The fact remains that the agenda is NOT tolerance as you mention, but the destruction of something for which the activist left has no tolerance. This decision was not based on a logical argument, but a reaction to invective and bully tactics. My side will be stymied trying to counter it with logic.

God bless you too.

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