Official LDS Church spokesman Michael Purdy issued two communiqués concerning the BSA decision yesterday. Calling it an “Important Moral Issue” the Church officially declared that: “it has not commented on it”. I guess that is one way to keep the responsibility for maintaining the illusion of objective morality from backfiring.
In order to fill the spiritual leadership gaps the Church leadership creates the organization relies on well organized apologist groups like FAIR (The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research), the Deseret News, the editorial staff of the Salt Lake Tribune, and when all that fails simple personal testimony. Even Mitt Romney has attempted to provide guidance on this issue where his Church has failed.
“I feel that all people should be able to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation.” -- Mitt Romney 1994
However, in a shocking move, the LDS Church has distanced itself from its normal sources of non-obfuscated spiritual guidance.
“We caution others not to speculate about our position or to assume that individual Latter-day Saints inside or outside the Scouting movement speak for the church.” – Official LDS church communication 6 February 2013 (church spokesman Michael Purdy)
To make matters more confusing the LDS church has been promoting the idea of “chaste” gays. The name implies one thing, but widely published examples of it describe something else. One “chaste” gay, named Weed, has been a marquee speaker at gay-Mormon and apologist events. He describes himself as having a “healthy” monogamous heterosexual sexlife, and a considerable level of physical attraction to his female wife; he says that he has never romantically touched a man in any way, and thinks it would be wrong (un-chased) under any circumstances to do so. In other words the term “chaste gay” means neither.
Given this level of message confusion BSA spokesman Deron Smith officially clarified the central governing body of the BSA’s stance on “chaste gays” in scouting by stating: "You raise a hypothetical question which we can't answer without the benefit of knowing the specific details.".
In other words: “If no-one knows you are gay or if they did would not really believe you anyway it may be OK to be in the BSA.”
This appearance over substance approach has allowed many atheist boys and parents to participate in the BSA. The participants must simply lie in order to conform to the BSA code of honor. It may even be easier for an atheist scout to get away with lying as the scouts do not demand constant faith, and even the idea of “Proof of Faith” is an oxymoron. The atheist can feign a temporary “conversion moment” when asked the probing questions about spirituality and faith which demand appropriate answers for a scout to advance to some levels of scouting.
So the atheist scout can participate as long as they are a “Faith identifying Atheist”. This is analogous to the closeted gay or the even more convoluted “Chaste Gay”.
The entire “gays in the BSA” question is rooted in conflicting interpretations of core scouting principles. The “atheists in the BSA” question is clearly and categorically stated in the core documents of the BSA, and is itself a core principal.
"The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God.” – BSA Article 3
The bigotry towards atheists is central to the BSA core values. There is no room to maneuver on the atheist issue without the BSA re-witting its central policy documentation. Nobody can just receive enlightenment, and interpret the written guidelines differently because there it is, clearly stated for everyone to see.
Though I support in principal the idea that gays should be allowed into the BSA it is clear that any individual gay parent or scout (and others of any orientation) who join scouts is bolstering the idea that it is OK to discriminate against their faithless neighbors.