The Scout Oath Binds Me to Oppose Transgenderism in Boy Scouts

When I became an Eagle Scout, I made a pledge of loyalty to the organization, and I never expected that pledge to haunt me quite like it does today.

On Monday, the Boy Scouts of America announced its decision to allow transgender “boys” to join the organization. Liberals cheered, conservatives booed, and few noticed that the organization was being sued by a transgender “boy” who was kicked out of his Cub Scout pack.

I spent years in Cub Scouts and in Boy Scouts, eventually rising to the rank of Eagle Scout. My brother followed behind me. So I understand the pain of being excluded from this organization, but what I cannot accept is that it is better for parents to raise a young child to identify with a gender opposite his or her biological sex.

The Scout Law states, “A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” I cannot speak for all, but to my mind transgender ideology betrays at least two of those core virtues.

“A scout is trustworthy” means more than just telling the truth. It means living with integrity, not presenting a false sense of yourself to others. There is a fundamental falseness in presenting yourself as a boy when you are in fact biologically a girl. But I think there is a worse loss of integrity among those who encourage biological girls to identify as boys.

“A scout is reverent” means honoring God, or at least a principle greater than yourself. Christians — and most Jews and Muslims, to my knowledge — believe that God created humans male and female, and that their sexuality is a good gift from God. Rejecting that gift — or encouraging others to reject it — is arguably irreverent.

This does not mean a scout should ever be less than friendly, helpful, courteous, kind, and cheerful when dealing with transgender people and their parents. But I must also be brave in speaking out against what I think of as a dangerous ideology.

Biology does not lie. There are those born who are neither clearly male nor clearly female, and my heart breaks for them. But the vast majority of humans are born with two “x” chromosomes or one “x” chromosome and one “y” chromosome. The former are called “females” and the latter “males.”

While gender is different from sex, there is a danger in encouraging biological males or females to identify with the opposite sex — and an even greater danger in encouraging them to get “surgery” to make such transgender identity permanent.

In recent months, two women who were formerly transgender “men” have spoken out about their deep regrets of pursuing a false lifestyle. The most intimate parts of their bodies are scarred and their natural sexuality has been damaged by this ideology. Research from Johns Hopkins University has found no evidence that people are born gay or transgender, and the American College of Pediatricians has warned against raising children as transgender, calling it a form of “child abuse.”

I cannot condemn little girls who have been taught that they are boys. Even if the decision to raise such girls as transgender is based on more than a mere preference for trucks over dolls, these children are victims. They are far below the age of maturity (legally 18 years), and cannot fully understand the complex issues of sex, gender, and the confusing life after puberty. Nevertheless, they are being conditioned to embrace a gender opposite their biological sex.

Is it wise for the Boy Scouts of America to be complicit in this conditioning? My reading of the Scout Law binds me to say that I cannot be complicit in it. Being trustworthy and reverent, I cannot support transgenderism.

But being loyal, I cringe at the idea of abandoning the Boy Scouts of America. While conservatives like Fox News’s Todd Starnes suggested parents join Trail Life USA, an explicitly Christian organization, or perhaps another alternative like the Christian Service Brigade, as an Eagle Scout I struggle with the idea of abandoning this storied organization, which has shaped boys into men for over 100 years.

I also made an oath to support the Boy Scouts when I became an Eagle Scout. While I have paid back the debt somewhat, working one summer at a scout camp in Wyoming is hardly enough to pay back everything the Boy Scouts of America invested in me.

As an Eagle Scout, I pledged on my honor to “do my best to do my duty to God and my country, and to obey the Scout Law. To help other people at all times, and to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.” This oath compels me to speak out against transgenderism, even if the organization which taught it to me refuses to do so.

Thankfully, I do not have to decide today. My wife and I may never have sons, after all. But as an Eagle Scout, I cannot remain silent after this decision. I hope and pray that the organization will turn around — but if it does not, I may have to break the family tradition.