Letter of Resignation to the National Board from Rob Green, Palmetto Council (South Carolina) Scout Executive
Many Scouting friends, as well as others outside of Scouting, have asked me for my response to last week's National Resolution (which will soon change the BSA's long-standing policy prohibiting openly homosexual members). I had to take a full week after the vote to organize my thoughts. I didn't want to come across as bitter or divisive, but wanted to clearly communicate what happened, and what it means to our local Scouting programs, and to me personally. Let me start by saying that the thoughts expressed here are my personal opinions, not an official statement on behalf of the Palmetto Council. Whether you agree or not is up to you. If you don't but want to continue a dialog with me on this in a civil manner, I'll be glad to respond.
In late January, National BSA's CEO and his cabinet of Executive Committee members, began calling for a change in membership standards; this was a complete reversal of statements they released just a few months earlier (that their two-year study affirmed our traditional policy, with no plans to reopen the issue). Suddenly the push to change was coming not from the pro-gay lobby, but from the inside.
It became clear during these last four months that the "progressive values" of the BSA and my Biblical values were diverging. So I decided to resign, regardless of the outcome of the vote, because I had lost trust and confidence in this movement's top national leadership. Each member of the National Key-3 has stated publically that they believe homosexuality is "morally wrong, BUT it's in the best interest of Scouting" to make this change. Take a moment to let that sink in: "morally wrong, BUT...." As in, "I believe it's morally wrong to steal from my employer, BUT..." Or, "I think it's morally wrong to cheat on my wife, BUT..." There is no BUT if it's wrong. If it's wrong, don't do it -- period! Take a stand. Don't cave in to political pressure or corporate dollars.
The Bible (in Romans 1:18-32 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, among other passages) clearly states that homosexual behavior is sin -- but that it can be overcome through Jesus Christ. The Romans passage says that homosexuality is a result of turning against God -- and becomes a "gateway" to many other forms of depravity -- leading to an erosion of societal virtues.
The BSA is a pawn in a larger cultural struggle. The powerful pro-gay message (representing only 2-3% of the adult population in the U.S.) already controls print and television news media, Hollywood actors, much of politics, and the resulting judicial appointments made by those politicians. Corporate America (their CEOs' influence, plus their potentially huge corporate donations) have also pressured BSA to change. Then a few large Councils threatened not to comply with the old policy. So the national Key-3, with no warning to the rest of us, began promoting this agenda . All 286 Scout Executives were called to gather in Dallas on March 1 for policy change indoctrination -- what we were to say, and how we were to communicate it to our local constituents. That began a PR blitz -- millions of dollars spent to force this on local Councils. However, Councils across America would soon rise up against it!
After every Council was instructed to survey their Charter Partners, donors and Scouters, 3 out of 4 Regions recommended no policy change (only the Northeast Region was pro-change). This was made clear to the National Executive Committee before their resolution was announced -- yet they pushed ahead! Here were the other findings that BSA announced:
BSA's nationwide "Voice of the Scout" survey discovered that respondents supported the current policy 61% to 34%.
• 72 percent of chartered organizations (host churches) opposed a policy change.
• 64 percent of Council and District volunteers opposed this change.
• 62 percent of unit leaders opposed this change.
The majority of our direct customers -- local churches that charter Scout units -- cannot embrace this policy without violating their religious convictions.
BSA's own research provided the answer. There is no doubt that Scouters at every level did not want this policy to pass, especially if it would allow gay leaders in. So a youth-centered resolution was crafted, inserting the phrase "No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone."
This is designed to play on an emotional reaction: "Don't discriminate against children". But deeper inspection reveals that this is just a smoke screen: I have never kicked out (or denied) a kid for being gay. That's out of over 100,000+ youth members through my 20 years of serving in two Councils. Nor have I ever known a Scout Executive in any Council -- representing millions of youth -- who has! So if this is not the issue, what is?
First, did you know that BSA's long-standing policy did not prohibit gay members, or even gay leaders? It simply did not embrace homosexuality. The topic has no place in our programs; boys want to explore the outdoors, hiking and fishing and building campfires. The ban was on "open and avowed homosexuals" -- that means participating in and promoting that lifestyle, pushing others to accept it. BSA's policy was "We won't ask -- just don't flaunt it", making it such an issue that it disrupts the program!
The passage of this initial policy is an obvious attempt of the homosexual lobby to "get a foot in the door", appeasing some factions for a short time. Both sides admit that this is just the first step -- embracing openly homosexual/transgender leaders, Camp Staff, employees, and so on, comes next. It took less than a day after the vote for newspapers across the country to call for inclusion of gay leaders!
From the beginning, National has controlled the message, sending out slanted propaganda to the 1400+ voters with no alternative perspective allowed. But they could not escape one problem: Homosexuality is morally wrong.
After much local research, with our upstate South Carolina constituent responses showing that over 97% favor the traditional stance, this Council was amazed at the national organization's one-sided promotion of a pro-gay policy change!
Our Council's position was that we would do what we could to uphold the Biblical standards that Scouting has held for over 103 years. To us, and the majority of Americans, Scouting terms like 'Reverent' and 'Morally Straight' still hold their traditional meaning. Our local Council was one of a number that submitted resolutions calling for new leadership at the top of the national Scouting organization.
"Sexual orientation" and "preference" are benign-sounding but undefined terms -- they can apply to any deviancy you can imagine! Soon, using this "open" policy as a starting point, we will not be able to say how much is enough. Consider what is happening in some states in our country: schools no longer recognizing the terms "boys" and girls" -- only "students". Gender specificity is offensive--only gender- neutrality is acceptable. So no more "please hand these Cub Scout flyers to the boys" -- because there are no boys. No more Male or Female restrooms -- because there are no males and females. It throws common sense out the window.
Do we not see this coming next to Scouting? Denying membership to a Cub Scout who is John today and Joanne tomorrow? Would his/her transgendered "orientation" be a distraction to our programs? Does anyone think accepting gay youth members closes this issue? Or next year, when gay leaders are added to the revised policy--is even that the end? The LGBT will not stop until everyone buys the whole package. Pandora's Box has been opened.
Child Abuse Facts: Irrefutable Logic that nobody wants to admit
Of the thousands of documented cases of male leaders who sexually abused young Scouts, how many were perpetrated by homosexuals? Think about it; the answer is not difficult to figure out: all of them. That's right, 100%. That's a statistic you will never see in the media, and will certainly never communicated by the Boy Scouts of America.
We must not buy into a socially-engineered lie. What a person does (not how he "identifies") confirms who and what he is. When someone drives a car, he is called a driver. A person who runs is a runner; one who works is a worker. If he commits a crime, he is identified as a criminal. The willful act of homosexuality, by definition, identifies the person as homosexual.
So, applying rational thought to the future: of all the cases of male leaders who will sexually abuse boys, what percentage will be perpetrated by homosexuals? There is no mystery here -- we all know the answer -- it's 100%. Knowing this and enabling such abuse by welcoming open, avowed homosexuals will bring shame -- as well as many expensive lawsuits -- to the BSA. This is infinitely worse than Penn State's scandal involving Jerry Sandusky, because many in that university's administration did not know that he was abusing boys. But National BSA is aware of the facts, and must be held responsible.
But it could get much worse than that. The resolution puts all Scouting units in a legal catch-22. The new policy requires every chartered Scouting unit, regardless of religious convictions, to accept "open and avowed homosexual" youth (up to age 18) in their program.
This leaves them with no legal protection if they refuse to allow open homosexuality among the boys of their units. The new policy completely retreats from Scouting's principles that prevailed in the U.S. Supreme Court case BSA vs. Dale in 2000. Scout units which refuse to abide by the new policy will either have their charter revoked, or be exposed to legal attacks for alleged violations.
Second, it will put Scout units in legal peril if they do accept gay members (and in the near future, gay leaders), since they will comply with the policy despite being aware of the risk they are putting Scouts in.
Finally, this policy change fails to consider the religious beliefs, values and theology of the vast majority of Christian churches, which charter well over 70% of all Scouting units. Churches understand that they are the next legal targets once the BSA caves in.
BSA took a stand in the 2000 Dale case, affirming that by definition, "Morally Straight" and "Clean" preclude homosexuality. BSA drew the line in the sand. We defined the terms. Will we now redefine them to fit a new morality? Then what? Forsake the rest of the Scout Oath and Law, changing definitions at the whim of each special interest group that takes exception to our terms? No! We need leadership that will take a strong moral stand, refusing to be swayed by politics. We need leadership that says, as we have in the not so distant past, "Our values are not for sale." That is the leadership America respects us for. And it's what our National organization has failed to provide.
The night before the May 23 vote, BSA held a one-sided "Voter Education" meeting, where each member of the National Key-3 told stories about how important the passage of this proposal was. This was followed by many scripted speakers (who decried BSA's "discriminatory policy", comparing it to racism and anti-Semitism) during an open mic session. The final push was enough, as the third party group hired to oversee the voting process declared a 61.44% to 38.56% "win" for those endorsing change. BSA controlled the message, both internally and externally, down to the smallest detail. Which goes to prove that if you shove something down someone's throat long enough, they'll either gag on it or swallow it. In this case, 61% swallowed the message -- and the rest of us gagged.
The BSA I joined as a new employee 20 years ago stood as a beacon, a shining light in a crumbling culture. It stood as a protector of the Church, a lightning rod to head off the assault of the gay lobby. Now, it has not only stepped out of the way, leaving the Church expose -- it has joined the other side.
I am resigning as Scout Executive effective June 30. I cannot in good conscience endorse the BSA's new direction. I cannot send my annual membership fee to the National office, or pay for Boys' Life magazine, knowing that the money will be used to further an agenda I wholeheartedly oppose. However, please know that I greatly value and appreciate the wonderful volunteers in the Palmetto Council. What a blessing you have been to me and my family over the past 9 years! I support what you are doing locally as you invest in the lives of youth. Thank you for all you have done for the Scouts.
I am not sure where the Green family will go next, or what career I will venture into at this point. Our desire is eventually to serve in overseas missions. In the mean time, I have updated my résumé and LinkedIn profile. We certainly appreciate your prayers during this transition period.
This issue has left many (like me) disillusioned. But through the dark clouds of an eroding society, a bright ray of hope shines. That's the hope I'd like to leave you with. Not the hope of reforming Scouting, or even America, but the hope found in Jesus Christ. Let's face it, we live in a fallen world. The Bible says that all people "have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God." This fallen nature doesn't just apply to people on the other side of this issue, it applies to me -- and to you. All of us at some point have turned away from God, seeking our own will rather than His. But our desires lead us in the wrong direction. "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death". Death is inevitable for everyone. It is the payment due us for our sin -- not only physical death, but eternal separation from the perfect God who made us.
But there is great news! "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." This wonderful gift that God gave us was Jesus' life! Jesus, sinless, dying on the cross in my place...in your place...paying the penalty for our sin. That's God's gift of grace; the grace that makes us righteous before Him, able to stand in His presence, no longer separated from Him. We can never earn or deserve this righteousness. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast." Accept this gift and you will become a redeemed child of God, freed from sin and death. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."
When the direction of this world seems bleak, I look forward to my future. I hope that future includes rejoicing with you at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Until then...on Christ, the solid Rock, I stand.