In 2013, the Boy Scouts of America turned its back on decades of tradition and moral certainty for the first time, announcing that the organization was now open for gays to join the club. Two years later, it went further – putting young, vulnerable boys at unnecessary risk by repealing the ban on gay Scout leaders. In 2015, the organization kept the ball rolling when it announced that transgender kids who identify as boys would be allowed into the group. Finally, this year, the group officially changed its name to Scouts BSA upon opening up the enrollment books to girls who identify as girls as well.
On all of these occasions, Scout officials hinted that they were making the changes to keep up with a changing society, and that the moves were meant to keep the organization strong at a time when enrollment numbers were dropping.
It’s unclear how any of these moves would have done that.
And it’s now obvious that they did not. In fact, there’s every reason to believe they had the opposite effect. Perhaps the demise of the Boy Scouts was an inevitability in the Age of Relentless Screen Times, but the group did everything it could to hasten that death.
In the immediate aftermath of the organization’s decision to throw open the books to girls and change its name, the Mormon Church pulled out of its long-running partnership with the Boy Scouts. No small number of Christian churches of other denominations around the country undoubtedly did the same thing. The net result has been a plummeting enrollment and, as announced this week, the decision to declare bankruptcy.
To be sure, the immediate decision to file for bankruptcy comes as a result of a legal claim against the organization, stemming from a sexual abuse scandal. Insurance companies are reportedly refusing to help pay out settlements to 11 former Scouts who are accusing disgraced troopmaster Thomas Hacker of molesting them. The specter of this abuse scandal is no doubt contributing to the ongoing woes the organization is having when it comes to attracting new members.
But we maintain that their new “woke” approach to scouting is having just as deleterious of an influence. In a country that is increasingly intolerant of anything that excludes girls, gays, transgenders, and so forth, what room is there for a Christian, exclusive, boys-only group like the Scouts? So they made the decisions they thought they had to make, destroying any reason for the organization to exist in the process. They are becoming like the newly-defunct Weekly Standard, catering to an audience that simply isn’t there. We’re sure that, on a local level, there remain many great Scout packs that are every bit as tied to tradition and integrity as the organization ever was. But you have to wonder how long that can last.
For any of us who were a part of this once-great institution, it’s a damn shame. But it’s really just one of many signs that our country is forever changing.
We wish we could believe it was for the better.