To the Editor:
As a parent of an accomplished Boy Scout, I was disappointed to read the statement by Calvary Baptist Church of Winston-Salem that they would no longer participate in the Boy Scout program. In recent days, Scholtes hymn “They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love” has repeatedly rolled through my mind.
My life partner, Timothy Young and I are the adoptive parents of four wonderful, but not perfect children that came into our lives from North Carolina’s foster care system. Our 18-year-old son found his second family in a local scouting troop at the age of 12. He experienced severe neglect in his early years and faced many emotional challenges, but his scouting troop offered him kindred spirits and exposed him to opportunities that many children will never experience. They loved him and supported him even in moments when his behaviors were disruptive to the troop. They knew he had two dads from the outset, but they also knew we had the expectation that all of our children and our family would be treated with respect, and that is what we received. My son through the years has experienced his ups and downs with regard to respecting his scouting oath, but he believed the words that were taught to him by men in another church just a few miles away from Calvary.
As a parent and former scout, it is hard for me to reconcile that an organization charged with saving lives and souls would turn its back on boys who are most often in need of love, protection, guidance and affirmation. The Scout oath states, Boy Scouts should be “mentally awake and morally straight.” How can we as a society reconcile that those who are charged with teaching the oath and empowering our young men would rationalize a decision that clearly reflects their lack of clarity? Churches that make the decision to stop their scouting program are asleep at the wheel. They are shucking their obligation to future generations raised in our community. Churches that make the decision to end scouting programs should remember Scholtes words: They will know we are Christians by our love.