I have a long history with Scouting. I stopped being a leader when I became a single parent, it was just too hard to manage two children, baby sitters and the dedication to the various meetings that demanded my time.
I think Scouting has some grand ideals. The Aims and Principals are pretty much the same as in my day. Here’s the current version:
The Aim of Scouting is to encourage the physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual development of young people so that they take a constructive place in society as a member of their local, national and international community.
I think that’s very noble. (Clearly I have an issue about the spiritual development nowadays) In this day and age the movement has added a bunch of values. Let me pick a few out for you.
- The importance of individuals developing a sense of personal identity and self-worth which leads to responsibility for oneself and one’s actions as a citizen.
- The importance of not exposing young people to harm or exploitation.
- The importance of respect for and equity in dealings with all people, irrespective of culture, gender, religion or impairment.
- The importance of mutual support and help between members of a community to maximise the quality of life for all.
- The importance of the development of understanding between individuals as a contribution to peace between nations.
Again, all very noble. I’m delighted to see such a solid set of values. Be sure to check out the whole Mission, Aims and Principals on their website.
Tonight I was doing the social media thing, checking Facebook, when I saw a friend comment on this Facebook post from Scouts Australia NSW.
The Salvos I have a real issue with.
Read their Position Statement on Human Sexuality. Here’s a few of the key sentences.
- It is The Salvation Army’s belief that, whilst recognising the possibility of such orientation, (the origins of which are uncertain), the Bible expressly opposes homosexual practice, seeing such activity as rebellion against God’s plan for the created order.
- The Bible teaches that God’s intention for humankind is that society should be ordered on the basis of lifelong, legally sanctioned heterosexual unions.
- We firmly believe that obedience to God together with the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, make it possible for all to live a lifestyle pleasing to Him. This may include celibacy or self restraint for those who will not or cannot marry.
- Homosexual practice however, is, in the light of Scripture, clearly unacceptable. Such activity is chosen behaviour and is thus a matter of the will.
This is on their Australian website. This is the position of the Salvation Army in Australia.
Scouts Australia have offered their support to the Salvation Army, an organisation that is clearly at odds with the values of the Scouts. How can Scouts Australia reconcile their value of respect for all, when the Salvos have a clear negative policy on homosexuality. The Salvos actually say that being gay is a choice.
The Scouts help young people in all sorts of ways, their open acceptance of everyone (apart from atheist perhaps) is a credit to a great volunteer movement. How sad it is that they have sided with another organisation that continues to maintain the sexuality is a choice and that if you are gay you must remain celibate.
This is the wrong message for Scouts Australia to be connected to.