Boy Scout Decision Pushed by Ohio Activists

How often must propaganda be repeated to become accepted truth?

On the subject of youth and homosexuality, we could ask the Boys Scouts of America, but right now, we might not get a straight answer–so to speak.

No boy will be denied a spot in a Boy Scout troop based on his “sexual orientation,” proclaim the newly revised Boy Scout standards, which essentially embrace the problematic notion of the allegedly “gay” child.

One believer in such propaganda is a Bridgeport, Ohio woman, Jennifer Tyrrell, removed last year from her position as leader of her son’s Cub Scout troop when her lesbian lifestyle was disclosed. A lot has happened in the ensuing months. It seems a lifetime ago when the BSA upheld sexuality standards without apology.

Tyrrell soon became an activist, catapulted into the spotlight. She joined the campaign of militant “gay” advocacy that descended on the Scouts, urged on by the mainstream media. Tyrrell wanted to overturn the long-time standard of Scouting for boys–and their leaders–to be “morally straight.”

On May 23, she achieved part of her wish, when the national organization voted by 61% to scrap its long-standing ban on open homosexual behavior and identity among the boys themselves. The ban on adult homosexual leaders continues for now, but many predict this pressure-sensitive organization will cave soon on that point as well.  That’s what Tyrrell is working toward.  The day after the vote, she told reporters, “I’m so proud of how far we’ve come, but until there’s a place for everyone in Scouting, my work will continue.” By “everyone,” she means homosexual adults.  And she’s started an online petition calling for an end to “discrimination” against adult homosexuals as leaders.

In a short couple of years, the Boy Scouts of America went from reaffirming the ban on open homosexuality, to complete capitulation to the popular culture, corporate donors, and internal dissenters. There was definitely support in some Ohio circles for this change.

In the week prior to the May vote, the Simon Kenton Council, serving Southern and Central Ohio and Northern Kentucky, put out a press release announcing their delegates would be casting all votes in favor of allowing boy homosexuality. They did so because “. . . a strong majority of the council’s stakeholders agreed that denying a youth member the opportunity to benefit from the many virtues of Scouting was unacceptable.” This statement, however, does not accurately reflect how the ban worked. Behavior–not disposition–is what was prohibited.  Kids can be encouraged to change behavior.

But that’s all history now. What such advocacy does to the level of trust a parent might feel toward the Simon Kenton Council, or any other pro-homosexual council, is anyone’s guess.  Responses to the BSA itself, though, may be clues.

Many troops are hosted by churches, so some are predicting a mass exodus.  The Assemblies of God denomination denounced the Boy Scout vote. The Southern Baptist Convention just voted to oppose the Scout vote, leaving it up to local churches whether to disband troops or not. They, like the AOG, have a Scout alternative youth organization. And the SBC also encouraged those families who stay in the Scouts to work for a reversal from within, including BSA board ousters of those who pressured for this change.

SBC Executive Committee President Frank Page said in his address, “We are under attack. The worldview of God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit is under attack.”

The rapidly growing American Heritage Girls, based in Cincinnati, has balked as well.  AHG has been a solid faith-based alternative to the politically correct Girl Scouts, which, along with promoting feminism and pro-“choice” ideology, began admitting homosexual girls and leaders in the mid-1990s. AHG entered into an agreement of mutual support with the Boy Scouts several years ago, but following the BSA vote, AHG issued a statement that, “with a heavy heart,” their board had voted to dissolve the BSA relationship.

Others aren’t so sure how many will feel. The Mormons, amazingly, are okay with the change, and they host more troops than any other faith group. The United Methodists and the Roman Catholic Church seem conflicted, possibly reflecting internal dissension. Both are studying their options before the January 1 implementation date, evidently fearful that a clear stand against the BSA vote will be met with relentless attacks from the LGBT lobby.

Meanwhile, the American public seems to be buying the unsubstantiated claim that some people are born homosexual, even little children, and that there’s no danger in exposing impressionable boys to a bold, openly homosexual fellow Scout. But this begs the obvious question: what is the moral/emotional status of any boy willing to make such a brazen and adult-level declaration at such a tender age?  Isn’t it likely this bold youth will also be comfortable with declaring attractions to another boy? And do we think this will always be welcome, never divisive, never manipulative, never a tragic turning point that could have been avoided?

Troops are not always filled with secure young fellows from Ozzie and Harriet homes. Many boys already struggling with emotional issues, or from vulnerable single-parent homes, or being teased for being smaller developmentally, or who have minimal moral guidance from distracted parents, could be drawn into confused attractions with confident, misguided peers.

This behavior is not without consequences–sometimes grave ones. It results in around 29,000 new HIV cases per year in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control’s reports about the transmission category of “males who have sex with males.”  And the trend for HIV among homosexual youth has been steadily uphill for the past few years. Could the accelerating promotion of this behavior in the media, in school-based homosexual clubs, by our president, by even Ohio Senator Rob Portman, be a factor influencing youth acceptance and entry into this lifestyle?

No, the voices of authority would say. There are no risks to this new policy. Look over there! Nothing to see here–except perhaps the betrayal of our youth.



Linda Harvey holds a B.A. in English from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, and has done graduate work at Miami, Ohio State University, and Trinity Lutheran Seminary. She is the wife of Tom Harvey and the mother of two children. They live in Columbus, Ohio.


All opinions expressed belong solely to their authors and may not be construed as the opinions of other writers or of OCR staff.

[Also on OCR: “Is a Bill on Religious Liberties Necessary for Ohio?”]

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