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How can Christians influence the Boy Scouts?

Dr. Jim Denison is the CEO of Denison Forum.
His Daily Article and podcast globally reach over 160,000 subscribers. Dr. Denison guides readers to discern today’s news—biblically. He is the author of multiple books and has taught on the philosophy of religion and apologetics at several seminaries. Prior to launching Denison Forum in 2009, he pastored churches in Texas and Georgia. He holds a Ph.D and a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Jim and his wife, Janet, live in Dallas, Texas. They have two sons and four grandchildren.

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A Boy Scouts of America uniform is pictured in San Diego, California, in this October 18, 2012 file photo (Credit: Reuters/Staff/Files)

The Boy Scouts of America have excluded gays from membership or leadership since the inception of the organization in 1910.  The Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that they have a legal right to continue this position.  The Scouts reaffirmed this policy just last year.

However, companies such as shipping giant UPS, drug manufacturer Merck, and the United Way have stopped or postponed donations as long as their no-gays policy is in force.  A gay rights advocacy group gathered more than 1.2 million online signatures to protest the Scouts’ position.  Now the Scouts may give troop sponsors the authority to accept gays as scouts and leaders.  This change could be announced next week.

How can a person disagree with the Scouts’ decision without seeming bigoted or hard-hearted?  Consider Derek Nance, a longtime Boy Scout and camp leader.  His video disclosing that he is gay ends with this statement: “Until the time comes that I can again work at summer camp without having to hide who I am, this uniform will proudly hang in my closet waiting for things to get better.”  Watching it, my heart goes out to him.

If the Scouts had a policy prohibiting non-Anglos from membership, I would celebrate an announcement that they were changing this stance.  What makes gay Scouts different?

Put simply: the word of God.  In a Roman culture where homosexuality was widely accepted, the Apostle Paul was led by the Holy Spirit to call such activity “unnatural” and “indecent” (Romans 1:26, 27).  He warned the Corinthians about “homosexual offenders” (1 Corinthians 6:9).  Everywhere homosexual activity is mentioned in Scripture, it is disapproved and counted as sin.

If you believe God’s word on this subject, how can you act on your convictions?  When 1.2 million gay advocates protested the Boy Scouts’ policy, they were instrumental in persuading the organization to consider changing its long-standing position.  There are 247 million Christians in America.  What would happen if we voiced our support for biblical values “with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15)?  I emailed the BSA yesterday and have prayed for their leaders; you can do the same today.

There is no question that our culture is rejecting God’s word on this issue.  But before we choose popularity over Scripture, we would be wise to count the cost.  Jesus told us that “everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24).  When storms blew against his house, “it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock” (v. 25).  However, the person who rejected God’s word built his house on sand; when storms blew against it, “it fell with a great crash” (v. 27).

When one of our sons graduated from high school, the commencement speaker warned his class: “It’s easy to be popular.  After all, a dead fish floats with the river.”