Every Eagle Scout (along with quite a few who stopped short) remembers the Scout Law: “A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”
He pledges to keep this law in the Scout Oath: “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country, and to obey the Scout Law. To help other people at all times and to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”
The whole system rests on the last element in the Scout Law: reverence. Each of the other attributes takes its meaning from this goal. Reverence to the moral law and to our fellow men leads us to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, and the rest. While the organization may lift the ban on open homosexuals, it will not even consider removing the phrase about “duty to God.”
We seem to be on the edge of a new world, with a new morality giving us Obama’s promised Hope and Change. Sexism, secrecy, and fear yield to women’s choice, free sexual expression, and gay marriage.
But are the opponents of abortion, sex ed, and homosexuality merely behind the times?
The old sexual morality – that men and women are made for each other, and should restrict their lovemaking to a lifelong commitment for the sake of their own and their children’s happiness – seems restrained, clunky, painful. Why not live and let live?
Because this law – written in our very bodies – illustrates something beyond mere sexuality. It speaks to a secret behind the universe, an ultimate reality which morality exists to protect.
Gender – nearly universal in human language – describes some inanimate objects as masculine and feminine. Our ancestors did not impose maleness and femaleness on mountains and trees in order to keep women in the kitchen.
Indeed, men and women don’t measure up to the Masculine or the Feminine. How many men always look outside themselves, seeking ways to help – constantly prepared to defend what they love? How many women always see the inherent value of things, nurturing and giving birth to love and life?
No, the male and the female, biologically unnecessary (many plants reproduce asexually) “are rather faint and blurred reflections of the masculine and the feminine.” C. S. Lewis’ explanation in Perelandra continues, “Masculine and Feminine meet us on planes of reality where male and female would be simply meaningless.”
The very nature of love – which all agree to be the highest virtue – is thus two-edged. The Eagle Scout must “be prepared,” not just because the world is a dangerous place, but because it is his job as a man to defend good things.
But he needs a woman – a mother, eventually a wife – to show him the inherent value of things. Of course, not all women care primarily about growing and nurturing others (many even destroy the life in their wombs) – the Feminine, dwelling dimly in the female sex, teaches him.
But just because men and women don’t fully match the Masculine and Feminine does not mean they should reject the distinction. Naturally, men tend to look outward and women inward. Who is the better judge of character? Who has more physical strength?
Children look to their mother for value – their father for diplomacy. Their mother shows them how to grow and live, the father teaches them about the outside world.
Homosexuality is not wrong because it affirms the value of another person of the same sex. It is wrong because it forgets the other sex. It is wrong because it is a lie about the universe.
Love is both active and passive – defensive and nurturing. Children need a mother and a father to see this, and it is perfectly reasonable for the Boy Scouts to reject those who deny it.
That said, it is incumbent on Eagle Scouts to recognize the value of everyone – no matter their sexual orientation. The organization teaches love through service, and no matter how wrong homosexuality is, it does not invalidate a person.
Excluding openly gay people is not “hate.” Indeed, it is one of the few ways the organization can correct a social ill, teaching boys about the two sides of love by standing on principle.
There is no bravery in caving to cultural trends. There is no loyalty in abandoning a century-long tradition. There is no reverence in debunking the family. And as controversial as it may sound, there is no love in homosexuality.