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An essay donated by Susan Humphreys

Schism within the Boy Scouts movement

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Most of the essays on this site attempt to explain all sides to each essay. However, we have a section called "Visitors' Essays for people who have visited our web site to freely express their opinions. If you disagree with this essay, we invite you to write an essay containing your own views and Email it to us. We will consider it for publication.

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“Schism”—division into hostile groups.

The “On My Honor” organization has decided to organize its own group for boys.  I am not surprised. I figured they would when they lost the vote

For those that missed out or have forgotten, this group was formed to oppose the Boy Scouts proposal to allow homosexual youth into the Boy Scouts. Homosexual adults are still denied membership. BUT the majority of the representatives at the Boy Scouts national convention earlier this summer voted to accept the change allowing homosexual youth to join.

I used the “On My Honor” groups web site to send a message to the national leaders in opposition to the “On My Honor” group’s efforts. Consequently I am now getting their mailings. They obviously didn’t bother to read what messages were sent!

The mailing I received this week is an appeal for financial support to get the new organization for boys started.  The cover letter says “Our world is spiraling in a state of moral and social confusion. But there is good news among the bad. In just a few days, a coalition of national leaders will be forging a permanent cultural force for good into the future.”

They don’t realize that they are part of the problem, a cause of this “moral and social confusion”. The force they plan to institute won’t be for the “good”. The reason I say they are part of the confusion is that they send mixed messages. On the one hand they say they support the Boy Scout ideals but their words and actions towards homosexuals show they don’t.

A little later in the letter, “And the organization which was so instrumental in my growing up as a young man was no longer the organization with timeless values that it had started as.”

Personally I think John Stemberger, the Founder of this new group got it wrong. The Boy Scouts have decided to RETURN to those timeless values after wandering in a state of moral and social confusion for far too many years!

I have my brother's 1948 “Scout Field Book”. The Scout Oath in that book says:

“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.”

Morally “straight” doesn’t refer to one’s sexual orientation! It does mean that one shouldn’t lie or spread false information which is what has been done with the “information” this group spread when they “alerted and educated unsuspecting parents and Scouting leaders nationwide, of the dangers of the new membership policy.”  At least I don’t consider liars, stretchers of truth, fabricators of misinformation morally straight people.

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From their own web site, the “On My Honor” group stated that changing the policy would have the following negative impacts:

“2. Opening the Boy Scouts…..will inevitably create an increase of boy-on-boy sexual contact which will result in further public scandal to the BSA, not to mention the tragedy of countless boys who will experience sexual, physical and psychological abuse.

3. The proposal forces and requires every chartered Scouting unit, regardless of religious convictions, to facilitate open homosexuality among boys in their program.

5. The Resolution robs parents of the sole authority to raise issues of sex and sexuality with their kids.

7. The proposed resolution leaves Scouting units with no options or legal protection if they refuse to allow open homosexuality among the boys of their units.” 

You’d think the Boy Scouts will be actively teaching boys to be homosexuals. The proposal just allows homosexuals to be members of the group. 

The Scout Law from 1948 states:

“1. A Scout is Trustworthy. A Scout’s honor is to be trusted. If he were to violate his honor by telling a lie, or by cheating, or by not doing exactly a given task, when trusted on his honor, he may be directed to hand over his Scout Badge.”

I think the members of the “On My Honor” group should hand over their Scout Badges. The organization will be better off without them.

“2. A Scout is Loyal

3. A Scout is Helpful

4. A Scout is Friendly. He is a friend to all and a brother to every other Scout.”

I think the members of the “On My Honor” group need to be reminded that they violated this law with their persecution of homosexuals, by implying they were unworthy of being Scouts. 

“5. A Scout is Courteous. He is polite to all, especially to women, children, old people and the weak and helpless. He must not take pay for being helpful or courteous.”

There is nothing Courteous about what the “On MY Honor” group has done towards homosexuals.

“6. A Scout is Kind.

7. A Scout is Obedient.

8. A Scout is Cheerful.

9. A Scout is Thrifty.

10. A Scout is Brave.

11. A Scout is Clean.

12 A Scout is Reverent. He is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties, and respects the convictions of others in matters of custom and religion.”

Can one be “reverent” towards God and still not believe in God? No, but then one can’t respect others in matters of custom and religion by showing disrespect to those who choose not to follow an organized religion and choose a secular “religion” instead. I use “religion” here in the broadest sense of the word, a world view, a way of living, belief system. A view that includes the principle that,

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

“All men” in my mind includes homosexuals and heterosexuals, men and women, believers and non-believers, Christians and the followers of other religious Faiths. 

As some of the “On My Honor” folks demonstrate, a belief in God doesn’t make you a good person. To paraphrase and expand upon Steven Weinberg the American Physicist’s statement, Good people will be good people. Not so good people will be not so good people. Religion can help a person become a better person or a worse one -- more self-righteous, judgmental, hypocritical, intransigent.

This leads me back to “Schism.” In the Qur'an, there is a passage where Mohammed warns his followers not to allow themselves to splinter apart into opposing camps as the Christians have done. Way back then he was aware of the problems this was creating for Christians and could envision the unholy “holy wars” that would tear his people apart (literally in some instances) centuries later. 

Abraham Lincoln reminded us that a “house divided against itself can not stand”.  It took an unholy “holy war” to end slavery and to hold this Union together. We are still suffering the consequences with the current stalemate and gridlock in Washington. Some people seem to carry grudges into the next and the next generation! 

So the morally upright leaders of the “On My Honor” group instead of stepping back from their defeat and reexamining their tactics, their statements, their position…..and realizing how wrong and immoral their words and actions have been……how their principles are against the very Scouting principles they claim they uphold and “Honor”…….they decide to go their own way, organize their own group so they can teach and promote their own version of fear and hatred of homosexuals to more young people. 

What a tragedy. BUT to be honest the Boy Scouts of America will be better off without them. Unfortunately our world’s youth won’t be better off with another group dedicated to preserving and promoting the division between “US” and “THEM”. 

PS: At the bottom of their fund raising letter it says “We value your opinion and feedback! Please share your thoughts with us…..” 

I hope you will share your thoughts with them. The email address is on their web site at: www.OnMyHonor.Net

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Originally posted: 2013-JUL-17
Latest update: 2013-JUL-17
Author: Susan Humphreys

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