14 Feb Why We’re Sending a Petition to the BSA
What follows explains why Calvary Oxnard will be asking it’s members to sign a petition to the Boy Scouts of America on Sunday, Feb. 17, asking them not to alter their policy regarding allowing the gay-rights agenda to influence their organization. But first, a little background . . .
One of the ways public discourse is shut down is by labeling an issue as “political” then banning certain groups from contributing their views to political issues. A problem arises when that issue is profoundly moral and the banned group is compelled by its ethic to take a moral stand.
Slavery was an intensely charged subject in this country in the mid-19th century. It was THE defining political issue. It was also essentially moral. In truth, it was so politically charged precisely because it was regarded by a great many as evil. Imagine a Northern abolitionist pastor being told he was not allowed to speak on the subject of slavery because it was a “political issue.” Imagine Christians at large being told they were not allowed to weigh in on the topic that dominated so many discussions of the day because as “religious people” their view wasn’t tolerated.
That’s the situation many evangelicals and churches face today with same-sex marriage and gay-rights. Certainly this is a highly charged political issue. It’s also essentially a deeply moral issue. If it weren’t, it would have been settled long ago. While some want to make gay-rights merely a civil rights issue, Evangelical Christians see it as a non-negotiable moral issue. It’s non-negotiable because the Bible is clear that homosexual behavior is a sin.
Hold on! Let me explain.
Yes, homosexual acts are sin, as are immoral heterosexual acts like adultery, fornication and the lustful consumption of pornography. They’re sin because the Bible says they are, not because some group of moralists have made up a set of do’s and don’ts.
A common complaint voiced about Christians is that “they’re all a bunch of hypocrites.” Yet when they do adhere to a Biblical standard they’re labeled as “intolerant”. Christians aren’t allowed to pick and choose what they believe about such things as God and morality. They may field all kinds of opinions about music, art, and who has the best burger, but the Bible is the authoritative standard that shapes their theology and ethics.
Scripture is clear; all sex outside of marriage is sin. All of it, hetero- and homosexual.
One pastor has said it well: Homosexuality won’t send someone to hell any more than heterosexuality will send them to heaven. There will be people who’ve had same-sex attraction in heaven and oodles of heterosexuals in hell. A person’s sexuality doesn’t determine their destiny. What DOES is their faith in Jesus Christ. And the history of the Church is one of a long list of morally wretched derelicts who’ve been radically transformed by the power of Christ.
Being a follower of Jesus means acknowledgment and acceptance of the Gospel as made clear in the New Testament. Jesus saves us FROM something; that something is SIN. It’s God who defines what sin is. Man does not have the authority to edit morality. His duty is to comply. So Evangelical Christians understand homosexual behavior to be sin because God’s Word says so. No amount of social tinkering changes that. Sin, in all its forms, harms humans. It does not contribute to human flourishing. God wants the race to flourish, so His people are obligated to promote that which contributes to it’s flourishing and oppose that which works contrary to it. Even when the larger society in which they live is of a divergent opinion.
The gay-rights movement in collusion with major media have done an effective job of casting their agenda as a civil-rights issue. According to recent polls, it seems that public opinion will soon swing to a majority in favor of gay-rights and same-sex marriage. This change has come about because the issue has been untethered from its moral connection and made a political issue. Gay rights advocates try to link their movement to the Civil rights movement of the 60’s. As many have made clear; they are not the same. Being black isn’t a sin. Practicing homosexuality is.
Evangelical Christians simply cannot promote, condone, or stand silently along the sidelines when there is a movement to normalize sin, which is what the gay—rights movement aims to do. They’ve pressed hard to see same-sex marriages legalized and now they are pressing into traditional institutions that have purposefully taken a stand against their inclusion. Today we see that with the Boys Scouts.
Sadly, Evangelicals have at times dealt poorly with homosexuality. Having its own agenda, the press has jumped on some of those sad moments and used them to caricature the Evangelical position toward homosexuals as bigoted, intolerant, hateful and/or homophobic. Yet all of those things are 180 degrees out of phase with what it means to follow Jesus. Christian don’t hate gays, nor are they afraid of them. Truth is, there are many in evangelical churches who experience same-sex attraction but who are also born again, and just like their heterosexual friends, struggle to keep sexual temptation at bay, choosing instead to be holy and discover God’s plan for their lives. What Evangelicals must learn to do is to love consistently enough that we promote what makes for human flourishing while tactfully opposing what diminishes that flourishing.
Now, to the issue of gay rights and the Boy Scouts . . .
The Scout oath includes the promise to remain, “. . . morally straight.” And now, because they’ve been targeted by proponents of gay-rights, they face a crisis of redefining what that oath means. The “straight” of the oath doesn’t mean merely heterosexual, as in “gay versus straight.” It speaks to a moral standard derived from the fixed and unchanging certainty of a Biblically consistent worldview. Part of the Scouting ethic is loyal adherence to traditions that embody solid and substantial content; content that strives for virtue. Now they’re being pressed to cut themselves loose from the very virtues that scouting has been dedicated to fostering.
As Biblically-consistent Evangelical Christians we must exercise our identity as spiritual salt and light. WE have a golden opportunity to do so by sending to the National Organization of the Boy Scouts of America our strong insistence they do not capitulate to those who do not have the best interests of the Scouts in mind but only an agenda to promote, and agenda that which betrays what Scouting stands for. Those leaders took an oath to be loyal and morally straight. Will they keep that oath?
We need to encourage them to do so.