Boy Scouts not good business anymore?

A Boy Scout patrol does community service.
Print Friendly

The Boy Scouts of America made a major mistake in recent years. They grew too dependent on gifts from big businesses. But “the business of big business is business,” and business often means catering to customers that might take offense at those who get the gifts. Now those companies are threatening to stop giving. And hundreds of adult Boy Scout leaders  might lead the Boy Scouts, or at least their members, to the independent existence the Boy Scouts of America once knew.

The Boy Scout gay flap

Art Moore, formerly the PR man for the Seattle Mariners, now covers this issue for WND. On Wednesday of last week he wrote why the Boy Scouts were re-thinking over a century of moral policy and practice.

The Boy Scouts of America is a private organization that takes no government funds. The Supreme Court held (Boy Scouts of America v. Dale – 530 U.S. 640 (2000)) that the Scouts have every right to exclude homosexual members and adult volunteers.

No one should have expected the gay lobby to sit still for this. So they bombarded the businesses and non-profits (like United Way) that typically give the most to the Boy Scouts. They used the usual propaganda: exaggerating their proportion in the population (they aren’t ten percent; they’re more like two percent male, o.5 to 1 percent female, according to the Family Research Institute). And they threatened the usual sanction: a boycott.

Power is never what you really have. It is what your enemy or target thinks you have. So these large organizations think they’ll lose ten percent of their markets. In the face of that, they now think the Boy Scouts are not good business. And the Boy Scout executive council don’t want to lose those big checks.

They should have figured out earlier that who pays the piper, calls the tune. The answer is to depend, not on large businesses, but on dues, merchandise, and small gifts from churches (and temples, etc.) and people of good will. But executive councils, Boards of Directors, Boards of Trustees, and other such bodies often won’t look further than the next fiscal year sometimes. That’s how they got into this fix. And that’s why the council is even thinking of letting in gay boys and adult leaders.

Where the Boy Scouts came from

In honor of the unknown Boy Scout who figured in the BSA's formation

This statue of a silver buffalo stands in Gilwell Park in England, in honor of the unknown Scout whose good turn caused the Boy Scouts of America to form. Photo: David Carrington, CC BY-SA 2.5 Generic License

In 1908, Robert, First Baron Baden-Powell formed the Boy Scouts Association in England. As Art Moore notes today, Lord Baden-Powell never asked for money. He reasoned that people would give if they agreed with his idea.

In 1910, reporter William D. Boyce lost his way in a London fog. A young man in a uniform he did not recognize, led him to where he needed to go. But when Boyce offered to tip him, the boy said,

I am a Scout and Scouts do not accept gratuities for courtesy or good turns.

Boyce wanted to know more. So he asked this Scout (whose name he never caught) to take him to the Scout headquarters in London. There Boyce met Baden-Powell and from him learned his great idea, in all its details. Boyce returned to America and founded the Boy Scouts of America, on Baden-Powell’s model. (The Silver Buffalo monument at right, stands in Gilwell Park in England in honor of the unknown Scout who brought Boyce and Lord Baden-Powell together.)

What Lord Baden-Powell, or Boyce, or the unknown Scout would have thought of the discussion at the Boy Scouts of America National Executive Council, might be easy to guess. Lord Baden-Powell would certainly scold the council for asking for money from a few well-heeled donors, instead of relying on small gifts. The very issue at hand might shock the unknown Scout beyond words. And Boyce? He’d probably be ready to call all men and boys of good will to decamp and re-form elsewhere.

A Boy Scout exodus?

Art Moore tells us today that many Scout leaders are ready to do just that: decamp from the present Boy Scout organization.

They’ll end up with a lot of money but no program

says Steve Elwart, of Vicksburg, Mississippi. He has been an adult leader for thirty years. He and his wife each have earned the Silver Beaver award, the highest honor that Scouting in America can give its adult volunteers. Elwart told Moore that he had sounded out his fellow Scoutmasters and Assistant Scoutmasters across the country. And most of the men he talked to, will quit and not agree to any change in the “gay” policy.

Where might they go? Many of them might go to the Christian Service Brigade. CSB will not comment on the Boy Scout gay flap or anything to do with any organization but their own. But their programs overlap almost exactly with the Boy Scout and Cub Scout programs. CSB even has a program for boys younger than Cub Scout age. (Girls would have a place to go, too: the GEMS or “Girls Everywhere Meeting the Savior” program.)

Could a “Hebrew Service Brigade” also form? CNAV doesn’t see why not.

This, then, would be how to solve the problem, in line with “standing on your own two feet.”

Related:

  • Statement of the head of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (P-FOX)
  • Guest editorial by Robert Knight