In February of this year (2010), the Boy Scouts of America celebrated its 100th anniversary. A Chicago publisher named W. D. Boyce incorporated the organization on February 8, 1910. Since that time, more than 110 million American boys have been members of the BSA.
I am one of those. I joined the Cub Scouts in 1949 at age 11. My mom served as our Den Mother, and she served with gusto. We made field trips to all kinds of businesses and institutions, the most memorable being to the city jail where we were confronted by a naked prisoner! To say the least, it was enough to convince all of us that we should never break the law.
We learned civil manners and wilderness survival skills. We studied the cultures of American Indians. We did community service projects. We marched in parades, and as we marched, we chanted our Den’s motto which my mother wrote and which was based upon the Cub Scout colors of blue and gold:
Blue and Gold, Blue and Gold,
You know, we know,
You’ve been told.
We’re the stuff. That’s no bluff.
We’re Den 1, and that’s enough!
I proceeded on up through the ranks of scouting, becoming a Boy Scout and then an Explorer Scout. I achieved the rank of Life Scout, and I regret to this day that I did not earn the highest rank of Eagle.
One of the highlights of my scouting experience was the week I spent at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico in 1954.
It proved to be the toughest week of my life up to that time. We hiked in mountains to a height of over 10,000 feet, carrying most of our supplies on our backs. We were determined to win a plaque that said, “We All Made It!” At times that required us to carry some of our fellow Scouts on our backs when they experienced severe leg cramps.
My richest experience as a Scout occurred in 1953 when I attended the Third National Jamboree which was held at Irvine Ranch in California (where the city of Irvine is located today). We traveled to the site on a chartered train that carried several thousand Scouts from Texas. We visited quaint Santa Fe where the Indians sold trinkets at the train station. We traveled through Salt Lake City, Utah to San Francisco where we visited China Town. On the way back we got to see the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
We were told that we needed to take something unique to the Jamboree to trade with Scouts from other states. I think every boy from Texas got the same idea — horned toads! We ended up with hundreds of them on the train, most of them in cardboard boxes with air holes punched in them. When we arrived at the California border, agricultural inspectors came on the train, and when they saw some of the toads running loose, they went bananas! They searched the train thoroughly, but we were still able to sneak dozens, if not hundreds, of the strange critters into the state.
Scouting had a major impact on my life. The whole organization is based on Christian principles and is devoted to maintaining the Christian heritage of our nation. It reinforced the values I learned at home and at the church. Consider:
The Scout Oath:
On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country;
To obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake and morally straight.
The Scout Law:
A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.
The Scout Motto:
The Scout Slogan:
Do a good turn daily.
Because the Scouts stand as defenders of America’s Christian heritage, the organization has come under increasing attack in recent years. Homosexual leaders have attacked the Scouts for being “discriminatory” because they refuse to allow homosexual boys to be members and homosexual men to be leaders. (Can you imagine anything more bizarre than demanding that groups of boys be led by homosexuals?)
The organization has also been under constant attack from Humanists, Atheists, and Agnostics who demand that it drop all its references to God and its advocacy of religious involvement. (Why don’t these groups form their own youth organizations?)
The ACLU has also been a thorn in the side of the Scouts, constantly hounding them with law suits. One of these cases went all the way to the Supreme Court in 2000. The Court ruled that the BSA is a private organization whose membership standards are protected by the Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of association. But the law suits continue as the ACLU tries to cut off any form of government support, such as the use of public parks.
The BSA’s stated purpose at its incorporation in 1910 was “to teach boys patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred values.” The current mission is “to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.”
That such an organization with such high ideals and values would become a target of law suits and political harassment is just one more sign of the rapidly growing secularization and paganization of our society. A classic example of the persecution the organization faces daily occurred at the 2000 Democrat Convention in Los Angeles when hundreds of delegates booed a group of Boy Scouts as they tried to lead the convention in the Pledge of Allegiance.
I praise God for the Boy Scouts of America. They are instilling Christian values in young people who will hopefully be some of the future leaders of our nation. May God bless them and protect them from the merciless and relentless attacks of those who despise everything that made this nation great.