Most area churches have been relatively cautious in reacting to the recent vote by the Irving-based Boy Scouts of America to lift its century-old ban on gay scouts. First Baptist's Robert Jeffress rather predictably suggested that the move contradicts a scout's promise to be "morally straight," but the outcry here has been muted. Even local Southern Baptist leaders, unlike the national delegates who recently met in Houston for the denomination's annual meeting, declined to take a stand when contacted by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
A notable exception is Monsignor James Hart, the priest in charge of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Keller. The Star-Telegram reported yesterday that he's decided to cut the church's longstanding sponsorship of Pack 32.
"[S]ame-sex orientation is not normal, it is not neutral, it is not good, and it is not the same as a boy's normal sexual orientation," Hart wrote in two-page letter to parishoners posted to the church's website. "Consequently, I, as the Pastor, cannot treat the recent decision of the Boy Scouts of America and its potential impact upon the souls and lives of boys and the faithful, generally, as though it is a neutral matter or in compliance with the Church's teaching."
But adherence to Catholic doctrine and concern for children's eternal souls is only part of Hart's objective. He's also concerned for young boys' bodies.
[D]o you honestly expect me to believe that when the time comes in the life of the Boy Scouts of America that there are 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 year old boys put together in overnight situations, some of whom with a self-professed same-sex orientation and attraction, that nothing undesirable is going to happen? Would you have me run the risk, and use the souls of the boys involved, some of them likely your sons and grandsons, as part of the experiment? I cannot. I will not!
As proof that this will happen, Hart makes reference to the sexual abuse allegations and lawsuits that have rocked the Fort Worth Diocese in recent years.
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Hart describes these cases as "violations against the moral law."
"These grave sins destroyed lives and caused many to lose their Faith," he writes. "In almost every instance, these sins against purity were perpetrated by young men who had a same-sex orientation. Also remember that all of these were men who had taken an oath of celibacy in the service of a higher good."
The fact that sexual abuse of a child is also a violation against criminal law, or that being gay and being a child molester aren't the same thing, apparently don't bear a mention.
And so, come January 1, 2014, Pack 32 will have to find a new home.