SBC Life Articles

God, Country, and the Culture War

America's parents are about to discover that the culture war is a lot closer than they thought. The ruling of the New Jersey Supreme Court ordering the Boy Scouts to accept homosexuals as members and troop leaders is an open assault upon one of the nation's most cherished and respected organizations.

The Aug. 4 ruling should send chills down the spines of all those who once believed an organization as wholesome and traditional as the Boy Scouts would be beyond the reach of the moral revolutionaries determined to enshrine homosexuality as a fully legitimate, fully moral lifestyle. The impact of the decision will be massive.

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA), scouting's national organization, is left with only the hope of a reversal by the U.S. Supreme Court. Though the decision covers only the scouting program in New Jersey, the legal precedent is disastrous and will be a public relations nightmare for an organization that lives by its reputation for trustworthiness, wholesomeness, and tradition.

The New Jersey court has effectively driven a stake through the heart of the Boy Scout program. America's parents, possessing far more common sense and moral judgment than the New Jersey court, are not about to put their young sons under the leadership of known homosexuals. Scouting builds both individual character and team spirit in boys, and this requires trust between the boys, their parents, and their scout leaders. Putting homosexuality into the mix is both explosive and deadly.

Homosexual activists have long targeted the Boy Scouts for legal action. As a matter of fact, for several years the BSA has been defending itself against legal assaults on its standards for membership and leadership. In California, the scouts had to defend their right to require belief in God. An atheist, after all, cannot honestly pledge "to do my duty to God and my country," an oath required since scouting came to America in 1910.

In other cases, girls have demanded admission. These cases, along with litigation over homosexuality, are likely headed for the U.S. Supreme Court. Meanwhile, scouting may have suffered a mortal blow.

The decision of the New Jersey court is a classic case of judicial imperialism. The judges decided to legislate from the bench, and their unanimous decision represents judicial arrogance in its ugliest form. The court ruled that the Boy Scouts are not a private organization, but a "public accommodation" covered by the New Jersey "Law Against Discrimination." That law was amended in 1991 to include "sexual orientation."

Difficult as it is to understand, the court ruled the Boy Scouts deserve no more legal protection than a restaurant, hotel, or theater. If this decision stands, there is no way the Scouts can deny membership to girls, because discrimination on the basis of sex is already outlawed for public accommodations in all fifty states. The decision also denies the Scouts the right to deny leadership to persons of any sexual "orientation," or even to members of the National Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA).

If the decision stands, scouting will either die or be totally transformed. The court's legal logic is a feat of irrationality. Acknowledging that Boy Scouts are required to pledge an oath and law that include a promise "to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight" and to remain morally "clean," the chief justice stated that "the words 'morally straight' and 'clean' do not, on their face, express anything about sexuality."

Does anyone really believe "morally straight" expresses nothing about sexuality? Are we to believe sex is completely severed from morality? As suspected, more is involved here. In a concurring opinion, Justice Alan B. Handler argued that any view of homosexuality as immoral is "discredited," "discordant with current law and public policy," and "cannot serve to define contemporary social mores and morality."

Here we see the work of the moral revolutionaries who would turn our moral code upside down. Any sexual behavior or "lifestyle" must be not only accommodated but also protected and respected by society. Any institution or organization, no matter how venerable or wholesome, must give way to the sexual revolutionaries or be abolished. No society can long survive this moral madness.

What about churches? The logic of the decision leaves room for religious organizations to be declared "public accommodations" as well. Even without expansion, the decision does not allow a church sponsoring a scout troop to refuse a homosexual scoutmaster, regardless of the church's convictions.

We must hope for the U.S. Supreme Court to render a timely and definitive reversal of this devastating decision. If not, America's parents will have to do their duty, remove their children, and cherish only the memory of a once great organization.

    About the Author

  • R. Albert Mohler, Jr.