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FIRST-PERSON: Christians need to support Boy Scouts

LYNCHBURG, Va. (BP)–In a previous column I wrote of the urgent need for the Catholic Church to ensure that children within the denomination are unconditionally safe from homosexual priests who have been preying on them. I noted that the Boy Scouts of America made a wise decision to prohibit homosexuals from serving as leaders in order to protect children against the threat of pedophilia.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that, as a private organization, the Scouts have a right to establish such membership guidelines. While homosexual-rights groups and leftist organizations have savagely denounced this sensible decision to ban homosexual leaders, rational observers comprehend the fact that children must be protected at all costs. The dilemma within the Catholic Church confirms that there are men who will use their positions of authority to sexually abuse children.

Nevertheless, a battle continues to rage over the Scouts’ decision to exclude homosexuals as a safety precaution for its members. That battle is being waged largely through the efforts of several United Way affiliates which have cut off funds to the Scouts because they disagree with the organization’s policy. In fact, on March 15, The Washington Times reported that at least 39 United Way affiliates nationwide have ceased direct community funding of the Scouts to protest the organization’s effort to safeguard its members.

“I’d estimate these decisions affected 10 [percent] to 15 percent of the average income of an affected [Boy Scouts] council, and they’ve totaled millions of dollars. And when it happens, we have to find other ways to raise those dollars,” Gregg Shields, spokesman for the Scouts, told the newspaper.

In other words, because this historic organization has adopted a policy to shelter its credulous members, it has been condemned by homosexuals and naive business leaders who are easily influenced by fashionable social causes. Never mind that this fine organization has trained millions of boys to be at the vanguard of good citizenship. The great good that comes from the Scouts is conveniently forgotten in this politically-correct game of smash-mouth politics.

The Scouts, portrayed as hate mongers in this charade, are typically targeted through the manipulation of “nondiscrimination” laws that prohibit hiring bans on homosexuals, even though the highest court in the land ruled that the Scouts were well within their rights to adopt rules to protect its members. [The right to privacy apparently only matters when one desires to terminate the life of an unborn child — and not when you upset homosexual-rights groups and their cronies.]

The Times noted that several United Way groups that have cut off funds to the Scouts are in liberal college towns. The list includes United Way chapters in Boston; Seattle; Ann Arbor, Mich.; New Haven, Conn.; San Francisco; Providence, R.I.; Evanston, Ill.; Tucson, Ariz., and Santa Fe, N.M.

While the Scouts reportedly continue to receive more than $85 million from United Way chapters, the ongoing threat to these dollars is real. Boy Scout leaders are determined to maintain their standards of decency and therefore deserve the unyielding support of conservative people of faith.

I am urging my pastor friends and other Christian leaders across America to stand with the Boy Scouts of America in your communities should they face financial threats from the United Way or any other organization. Contact your United Way office and urge officials not to cut off support to the Scouts. Also, visit the national United Way website (www.unitedway.org) to tell them of your unyielding support of the Scouts. If your local school threatens to kick out the Scouts, go to bat for this organization.

The homosexual-rights community has dictated the agenda in this battle long enough. Neither the Scouts nor the people who support them are advocating hatred or animosity toward homosexuals. We are simply expressing concern that children need to receive superior protection from what the world has learned is a genuine threat.

It is high time that people of faith reclaim some moral authority in America. We have allowed the left to dictate what is right for far too long — and look where it’s gotten us.
Jerry Falwell is pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va. and chancellor of Liberty University.

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