Relations Reporting on marriage, family, and sexuality

Boy Scouts’ big move

Family | Several groups say letting girls join is a terrible idea
by Kiley Crossland
Posted 10/13/17, 03:03 pm

The Boy Scouts of America on Wednesday announced it would allow girls into some of its programs starting in 2018.

The move wasn’t a surprise: In August, the president of the Girl Scouts of the USA released a letter accusing the Boy Scouts of plotting to steal girl members. The Boy Scouts admitted they were considering programs for girls but said no decision had been made.

On Wednesday, the Boy Scouts board of directors voted unanimously to include girls.

Supporters of the move say Scouting should be a coed endeavor, open to any child who is interested. Some parents like the fact that the Boy Scouts conveniently will offer programs for all their children.

But others—the Girl Scouts for one—argue that ignoring innate differences between boys and girls and not providing places for gender-specific activity does both sexes a disservice.

“The single-gender environment we offer at Girl Scouts creates an inclusive, safe space where girls are free to explore their potential and take the lead without the distractions or pressures that can be found in a coed environment,” said Becky Burton, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Texas-Oklahoma Plains Council.

The Girl Scouts say they are sticking to their guns. “We’re the best leadership organization in the world for girls, and no one can do what we do,” read a Thursday tweet from the Girl Scouts.

Despite the fact that Cub Scout “dens” will remain either all-boys or all-girls, the program will be the same for both.

That’s a mistake, according to Mark Hancock, CEO of Trail Life USA, a Christian alternative to the Boy Scouts formed in 2014.

“As gender blurring only increases, it is more important than ever that someone provide a safe environment where boys can be boys, and where their natural talents and tendencies can be affirmed, encouraged and developed by men who can offer a positive role model,” he said, adding that Trail Life has no intention of following in the footsteps of the Boy Scouts.

The shift follows numerous changes to membership requirements in Scouting in recent years. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts now allow openly homosexual scouts and leaders. In 2015, the Girl Scouts opened their ranks to transgender children who identify as girls on a case-by-case basis. The Boy Scouts followed suit this past January, deciding to accept all self-identifying male applicants regardless of the gender on a child’s birth certificate.

Dad’s magic

Babies don’t just need mom, according to new research about the role of dads in the lives of infants. A U.K. study found that when fathers actively engaged babies as young as 3 months old, the children showed cognitive gains later. The study found the gains were across social classes and were not changed by a father’s education or mental health.

The study also found a caring mother could not compensate for what only a father could provide.

“Something special was associated uniquely with positive father-care for young babies across a wide variety of circumstances,” according to a report by the study’s author, Vaheshta Sethna. “Even good mothering, for all its many benefits, wasn’t a substitute for dad’s added bit of magic.” —K.C.

The power of language

The Associated Press (AP) recently updated its stylebook entry on gender and sex. U.S. news companies reference The AP Stylebook as an authority on English usage and style. (WORLD News Group uses the stylebook for spelling, punctuation, and grammar guidelines, but with exceptions, including this one.)

The AP now encourages writers to avoid phrases like “both genders” or “opposite sexes” to include people who say they are neither male nor female. The updated stylebook also recommends describing surgeries that are part of a transgender person’s transition as “gender confirmation” surgeries instead of the previously used “gender reassignment” surgeries. AP also tells writers to avoid any reference to a transgender person being born a boy or girl. For example, “Jack, who identifies as a boy, but was born as a girl,” is considered incorrect. —K.C.

Religious protections

LGBT advocates are pushing back against a new Mississippi law that gives religious liberty protections to people who believe marriage is between one man and one woman, that sexual intercourse should take place only in marriage, and that gender is determined at birth and cannot be changed. The law—dubbed the Religious Liberty Accommodations Act—took effect Tuesday after a year of hold-ups in the courts. Within hours, opponents filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the law’s constitutionality. —K.C.

Kiley Crossland

Kiley is a WORLD Digital assistant editor and reports on marriage, family, and sexuality.

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  • Koni in WA
    Posted: Tue, 10/17/2017 08:02 pm

    I don't know that there is anyone who cares what the scouts do anymore.  Our family used to be a scouting family, my son was a Scout. We admired everything the Boy Scouts stood for, until they stood for nothing. They have for many years had a co-ed program at the high school level, I believe they are called Adventure Scouts.  I personally belived, as did others, that this was the beginning of the end for Boy Scouting. Scouting has always been to teach boys how to become men, but at the last campout I went on where there were Adventure Scout girls present, the males were just acting like hormone-sick boys.  Next came openly advocating for homosexual scouts. I don't believe that you could or should legislate at this point,  it's a bit like don't ask - don't tell;  as long as it doesn't become an issue don't make it one. But the biggest problem came with the acceptance of gay leadership.  That should not have been allowed. At this point many of us felt that "Scouting" as it was designed was dead. In an effort to prop up flagging numbers they tried to reach out and scrape in anyone who had the money for dues - instead of viewing it as a chance to groom the few who were destined to be the next generation of strong male leaders.  This is what happens when an organization becomes so top heavy with many layers of leadership that all want to be paid - they no longer follow their ethics, they follow the dollar.  And as for the Girls Scouts - they deserve what they get. Their national leadership has been riddled with outspoken lesbians and lesbian advocates.  They have been plying their own brand of social engineering even longer than the Boy Scouts. At least this is the way it was when our daughter wanted to join about 8 years ago. I hear there are Christian alternative Scouting programs, I personally would look into one of those and let the Girl and Boy Scouting organiztions die a slow death or (more likely) take each other out.

  • Hans's picture
    Posted: Wed, 10/18/2017 04:26 am

    Can you believe it?! The BSA's competitors don't agree with their recent move designed to recruit more members!