Thursday, August 6, 2015

Q Toon: Be Thou Prepared

Last week, officials of the Boy Scouts of America announced that they were officially dropping their blanket opposition to LGBT adults serving as scout leaders. BSA National President Robert Gates (the former Defense Secretary) explained that "due to the social, political and legal changes taking place in our country and in our movement, I did not believe the adult leadership policy could be sustained."

LGBT activists were disappointed that  the new policy will not apply to troops sponsored by religious organizations for whom antigay discrimination is a precious tenet of faith. Given that 70% of Boy Scout troops are chartered by faith-based organizations, the new policy could be of little help to gay scouts nearing adulthood in troops sponsored by evangelical, Mormon, or Catholic congregations.

Some evangelical, Mormon and Catholic sponsors, however, are upset by the new policy as well.
Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✒Aug 6, 2015

Officials of the Mormon church were apparently on vacation when the policy change was made, and saw that as a problem in an of itself. The church issued a statement complaining, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is deeply troubled by today’s vote by the Boy Scouts of America National Executive Board. In spite of a request to delay the vote, it was scheduled at a time in July when members of the Church’s governing councils are out of their offices and do not meet. When the leadership of the Church resumes its regular schedule of meetings in August, the century-long association with Scouting will need to be examined."

The Vatican hasn't issued any statement on the matter, and the National Catholic Committee on Scouting has been guarded in its reaction. Some local officials, on the other hand, aren't waiting for Holy Writ. Catholic Bishop David Kagan of Western North Dakota announced that, "Effective immediately, the Catholic Church of the Diocese of Bismarck and each and every one of its parishes, schools and other institutions is formally disaffiliated with and from the Boy Scouts of America."

A number of evangelical leaders reacted negatively, including Dallas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress, who told the Associated Press, "Look, my advice to parents who are asking me about this is if you are concerned about the safety of your boys, you should run, not walk, away from the Boy Scouts as quickly as possible." Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd agreed, telling the Baptist Press, "Sadly and regrettably, I believe churches who stand on the biblical ethic of sexuality will have to cease their sponsorship and involvement in the Boy Scouts of America."
In this week's cartoon, I tried to come up with a name for the fictitious congregation whose council of elders is planning their next move. There are a lot of Catholic churches with "Our Lady" in the name, and "Latter Day" is exclusive to Mormons, but finding a word evoking evangelicals was a little more challenging. "Evangelism" is a core value of all Christian denominations (hence the "E" in the officially LGBT-friendly ELCA), so that word wouldn't work.

I settled on "Fellowship," which appears in the name of many a Baptist, non-denominational, and other fundamentalist church. Of course, other Christian denominations believe in fellowship, too; although, where I come from, the word is intimately associated with coffee and kringle.

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