Originally published in American|Writes on June 1, 2013
Today we had the discussion with my boys about the recent decision by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to actively invite homosexual boys to be a part of the organization. While you may argue about the veracity of that claim of “invitation,” I will address it shortly.
Today, the tradition of the Cowles Family being a part of the BSA came to an end. That’s no small feat. Family lore holds that the Cowles Family has been a part of the BSA since the day William D. Boyce got BSA going in 1910. Most likely it was a few years after Boyce’s legendary meet in the London fog with the Unknown Scout that the Cowles Family got involved, but it is fair to say it has been 100 years. My father was an exemplary scout and a leader for thirty years, and was inculcated into the program by his father, John, who had himself served as a Scout. John was born in 1912, and it would be inconceivable to think of a Cowles father not involved in the BSA if his son were involved, so there is no doubt that my great Grampa Cowles was a leader or volunteer at the outset of the Boy Scouts of America.
Interestingly, I am the first Catholic Cowles of this line who has been involved in the BSA program. I was an Arrow Of Light Cub Scout, a Brotherhood Member of the Order of the Arrow, and a Life Scout, determining in my misguided sense of independence as a youth that the best way to get back at my Dad for moving us to San Antonio when I was a junior in High School was to refuse to be a Boy Scout…even for the two merit badges and six-hour service project that would attain for me the rank of Eagle Scout. I thought I was really sticking it to him because we moved from Ohio to San Antonio so he could take the job as Ranger at McGimsey Scout Park in the Alamo Area Council in 1985.
The Boy Scouts are not an unfamiliar club to us Cowles boys. My brother is an Eagle Scout, and our older brother was involved to the rank of Star, I believe. Many of my stories about growing up revolve around Boy Scouts.
So I know from whence I speak, as my father would demand.
When I was fourteen or fifteen, as a member of Boy Scout Troop 247, chartered to the First United Methodist Church of Sunbury, Ohio, I was a Patrol Leader and a Philmont veteran. I went on a campout and tented with one of the patrol members – a boy who was close enough to my age in a matter of months to not matter – whose name was Jim Cole.
I have, to this day, never publicly uttered his name.
Spending the night in the tent with Jim, I awoke to him grabbing my hand and placing it on his penis, which he had exposed by lifting up the waistband of his underwear. This was not an accidental action by a sleeping boy. Not knowing what else to do, I rolled away from Jim, and my arm naturally withdrew from his groin. I never spoke of this until a few days ago when my wife and I were talking about the decision of the BSA to invite boys to be openly homosexual in their Scouting activities.
Obviously, as a Pack Trainer, Tiger Den and Wolf Den Leader and District Trainer myself, I have been fully aware of there being homosexuals in Boy Scouts since at least that fateful moment thirty years ago when I was, by definition, sexually assaulted and molested.
As my oldest boy’s Wolf Den Leader, my Assistant Den Leader was a Lesbian. I knew it. She knew it, and most folks in the Den probably knew it. But we did not advertise it. She was a fantastic leader, and was involved and had her son in the Den because she wanted him to learn how to be a man…which she admitted she could not do.
So let me leave it at that. Though I could have easily said I have gay friends and the same gay man has been cutting my hair for over twenty years and I am not homophobic, you need to know my background relative to this case. That’s it, in a nutshell.
So, to the matter at hand. Today was the day the 100 year history of the Cowles Family being a part of the Boy Scouts ended. You may think, or ask, “Why?”
Let’s look at the logo of the Boy Scouts of America:
It says “Timeless Values”.
Evidently, that is not so.
Now, the acceptance and invitation of homosexual youth has nothing to do with whether or not these children are moral. Remember the Scout Oath requires a Scout to be “Physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”
As a Catholic and reasoning human being, I simply see sexual activity that is not within the context of marriage that is capable or open to the possibility of marriage as immoral. By definition, homosexual activity is incapable of producing children conceived through the marital covenant. So is heterosexual activity outside of marriage and any sexual activity that involves contraception or even self-stimulation and gratification.
Though I know some people choose to be homosexual (I just encountered someone this past week in Mathis, Texas), I believe truly homosexual people are, actually, born and wired that way.
But that does not mean they need to act on their attractions for the same sex.
As an example, I am diabetic. I know that chugging chocolate bars will have bad effects on my health. It is a cross I must bear. The sexual attractions a homosexual has are a cross they must bear and temptations they must resist – just as an unmarried heterosexual must bear.
So, being homosexual or diabetic is not a sin. Acting upon those temptations is.
And now we get to that idea of inviting homosexuals to be a part of the BSA.
Approximately 6% of the population of the United States is diabetic. That translates into approximately 162,000 boys in the BSA being diabetic. As I understand it, no policy in the BSA has been changed to accommodate those 162,000.
Approximately 3% of the US population is gay. That means about 81,000 Scouts are gay.
Where’s the justice for us diabetics?
Okay…you may think I am being pithy, but think about this. 3% of the Boy Scout population is gay. And we need to invite them in?
By proclaiming that no boy shall be denied membership based on their sexual orientation, the Boy Scouts of America insists that programming must be changed in order to accommodate them. When I was diagnosed as diabetic on November 4, 1982, nobody changed programming…and they still haven’t.
So you have more background. What about the pragmatics…?
Would you send your boy on a campout knowing a girl would be sharing his two-man tent with him?
What is the difference, then, if you send your boy on a campout sharing his two-man tent with another boy who likes boys ?
Here’s the problem: You can’t say, “I don’t want my boy sharing a tent with that homosexual boy,” because then you are discriminating. The BSA will actually wind up FORCING boys to sleep in a tent where everyone knows the attraction for one boy is to your boy. In the name of diversity, openness, and non-discrimination.
Teenage boys have sexual lusts…whether for other boys or for girls. They act upon them. I would not put my teenage boy in the same tent as a girl anymore than I would put him in a tent with a teenage boy who has sexual attraction to him.
Remember, I have had a personal experience with the lusts of a homosexual teenage boy in a tent. Boy or girl doesn’t matter – the sexual desires of those boys or girls do.
So I had to explain this to my children, including my six-year old who had been eagerly awaiting joining Tiger Cubs for two years, which would have happened today.
“I’m sorry, son, we won’t be in Boy Scouts anymore because they would rather you get sexually assaulted than stand up for their ‘Timeless Values.’”
Thanks, Boy Scouts of America.