Does it matter that he’s lived a lie for at least the last five years? Another Eagle Scout has had his name stricken from the ranks for violating Boy Scout standards. And in the process he has become the latest hero of the cultural Left. Nothing seems to pave a quicker path to fame than embarrassing the Boy Scouts.
Nineteen-year old Darrell Lambert has been shown his walking papers by the Chief Seattle Council for proclaiming his atheism. During his term as a Scout, Lambert managed to earn dozens of merit badges, which should secure him a high standing, if earning patches were all that scouting was about. But, scouting is not just about earning merit badges, knowing how to distinguish a square knot from a thief’s know, or reading a topographical map. The Boy Scouts are primarily about building character.
Open the Boy Scout Handbook to page 9 and you will find the code by which all scouts are expected to live. At the top of that page is The Scout Oath or Promise. It reads: “On my honor, I will 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; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.” If everyone were to live by that standard, the world would be a much better place than it is now. But, please note that, before anything else, a scout is expected to profess his faith in and obedience to God.
Combined with the Scout Law and the Scout motto, the oath forms a set of guidelines for living a praiseworthy life. As the great naturalist, Edward O. Wilson challenged: “Let’s see you do better in fifty-four words or less.”
Every Boy Scout recites this oath at least once each week at his scout meeting. If Darrell Lambert mouthed those words without intending to uphold them, then he also violated the Scout Law, which begins with the words: “A scout is trustworthy.” Further, the Scout Law requires scouts to be, “loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.” What fault is to be found in that?
Without a sincere commitment to these principles, merit badges are nothing more than sew-on ornamentation. Mr. Lambert, by choosing to focus upon earning merit badges rather than upholding his oath, cynically treated scouting as nothing more than a resume enhancement. One can learn to cook in the woods and pitch a tent without joining scouts. The promise of Scouting is that all these activities are woven into a system of instruction that yields young men of higher character. Each of the elements of the code form the foundation upon which that character is built.
And so, it is helpful to view the code by which Boy Scouts live, not as a mechanism for exclusion for those who don’t measure up, but as set of goals for boys to strive for. Lambert complains that not all the rules of the scouts are equally applied. For example, he points out that fat kids are not kicked out for failing to keep themselves “physically fit.” But in truth, the rigors of scouting are self-enforcing. Boys either get themselves into shape or they drop out themselves.
The fact is that most of the very same people who now make heroes of atheists and homosexuals, who are excluded from the Boy Scouts, would demand the expulsion of scouts who violated another code that appears on page 9.
These days, Boy Scouts are also required to adhere to the “Outdoor Code.” The Outdoor Code reads: “As an American, I will do my best to: Be clean in my outdoor manners, be careful with fire, be considerate in the outdoors and, be conservation-minded.”
Could anyone doubt that an Eagle Scout who was careless with a campfire, that ultimately burned down a forest, or who failed to conform to the Sierra Club’s conservation standards, would have the Left calling for his head? But, in that case, it would be because he had violated their code and not the one to which he regularly swore an oath.
So, it’s not that the Left doesn’t believe in rules, it’s just that they desire to be the sole author of the rules.