It seems that every few months there is a story of a Christian minister or priest involved in some sex scandal. There was another in the news a few days ago. Whenever I see a story on this, I am reminded of the first round of scandals with homosexual priests in the Roman Catholic Church, which was happening at about the same time as a court case against the Boy Scouts, which was trying to force the scouts into allowing homosexual leaders. The case with the boy scouts ended up going all the way to the supreme court, with the scouts winning by one vote.
In any case, at the time I wrote an opinion piece and submitted it to a few publications, but it was never accepted. So I’m reposting it here. It’s a little dated, but I think the point still comes across. Here it is:
This spring my son was recognized as an Eagle Scout, the highest honor a boy can earn in scouting. It was a quiet service, held in a small church located in the suburbs of a city in the southern United States. As I watched the ceremony, I was proud of all the effort my son put into getting the Eagle, but I also wondered whether he’d be able to handle the stress and pressures that await him. For he will surely encounter the fiery darts sent by those who strongly disagree with what he has learned.
Outside the walls of that small church rages a maelstrom of conflicting values. Barely two years ago, a Supreme Court decision upheld the rights of a private organization to keep homosexual men from going camping with my son. This small protection brought a chorus of shrill screams from those with a liberal social agenda. Yet these complaints have been largely silent this year, pushed out of the headlines by scandals of child molestation from priests. It now seems that portions of the Roman Catholic church have winked for years at an increasingly homosexual priesthood, with some priests recently admitting that over 40% of their order were gay. While some social engineers still weakly deny any connection between homosexual men and pedophiles, most have grown temporarily silent, waiting for us to forget the scandal du jour so they can go back to their long-range agenda. I’m sure that if we were to point out that the U.S. has become the pornography capital of the world, we’d be quickly told there is no connection there, either. So we’re not supposed to notice that the molestation is apparently overwhelmingly centered on gay men, young boys, and the U.S.
While I tried my best to push away the idea of a homosexual priest taking our scout troop camping, I remembered a recent news article announcing a new gay cable channel. The article was in the paper not because it was an all-gay channel, which has been done before. This one made news because it took the audacious position that a gay channel could be profitable without pornographic programming. The other gay channels laughed at the idea.
As the Eagle ceremony continued, I looked at my 76-year-old father as he watched his grandson get his award. My father is the son of a dirt-poor sharecropper, who tried to scratch out a living raising cotton on worn-out Texas soil throughout the great depression. With the most valuable thing to his name being a couple of mules, my grandfather went broke in 1937 trying to feed his 9 kids. Actually, the most valuable thing was indeed his name, because with hard work over the next year or two he was able to get electricity at about the time my father turned the age my son is today.
I also thought of last year when there was the hoopla about Confederate symbols being on a state flag. I dared to mention to a coworker that there are some positive qualities to southern culture and heritage. My coworker, who was from the northeast, just laughed and genuinely couldn’t imagine what they might be. I didn’t bother to mention that it was Andrew Carnegie who proudly admitted that he cheated his son every chance he got, and B. B. King who said his hardest lesson was the realization that he couldn’t make business deals with a handshake like he could in Mississippi. It seems people would look him in the eye and lie.
It is yet to be seen whether my son will be able to weather the storms of ideas trying to break down the walls of the small church. But he’s been told that real job stress is when you’re watching a year’s pay slowly burn up the summer sun, wondering how you’re going to feed your kids next winter during a major depression. He’s been taught that hard work will pay off in the end, and to be honest in all his dealings, even when it’s not convenient. He’s been told that ideas have consequences, and clean ideas bring clean consequences.
Today’s generation may not be aware of the storm that is pulling apart the seams of our society. This year my son’s high school history class didn’t cover everything when they studied World War II, so I had to tell him about Neville Chamberlain and appeasement. So I don’t know whether the rest of my son’s class can make the connection between Europe in the 1930s and the Middle East in the 2000s. I also don’t know whether 50 years from now my grandchildren will have the emotional strength to survive a repetition of Chamberlain’s failed ideas.
But I can point to the car that my son drove to his Eagle ceremony. At 16, he bought the car and paid for the insurance with his own hard-earned money.
Whatever tribulation my grandchildren encounter, my prayer is that there will be an Eagle Scout close by to help hold things together.