The Failing Integrity of Marriage Comes Home

boyscout_logoDespite our vigilance, the dissolution of the marriage ethic and the chaos that it creates have arrived on our doorstep. We live in an America that has become unmoored from nature and reality, where justice and mercy have been rejected and self-serving pleasure reigns.

Living in a state where the spurious “marriage” of homosexuals remains illegal, my family has been fairly insulated from this most flagrant expression of cultural disintegration until recently. Its avenue of philosophical invasion into our family life came indirectly through our Boy Scout troop.

Last January, Boy Scouts of America changed its membership standard to allow boys who self-identify as “gay” to be members of the organization. Homosexual adults are still denied membership. While this change is troubling, it does not conflict with Catholic teaching so we decided to stay in the organization with our sons. Catholic teaching remains clear, but the change in Boy Scouts has created ambiguities that translate into organizational weakness. The weakness was powerfully demonstrated following a Presbyterian Church (USA) decision last June to allow “gay marriage” in its churches.

Our scout troop, which has supported us through war-time deployments and family tragedy, is chartered by a PC (USA) congregation. We have been part of the troop for several years and have good friends there. Nevertheless, with the Boy Scouts membership change and now the PC (USA) break from Christian teaching on the meaning and purpose of marriage, the troop no longer has an intelligible boundary on sexual ethics. Even though homosexual “marriage” is presently not a legal possibility where we live, being associated with a church that claims that sodomy is morally and socially equal to the coition of a husband and wife is intolerable and morally perilous. Mindful of past problems with adult leaders’ cohabitating, we knew that in a troop charted at a Catholic church we would at least have the immovable bedrock of Catholic moral teaching as a foundation. We began making plans to find a different troop chartered at a Catholic church. It was painful to realize that we had no alternative.

At that point, the danger of moral lawlessness and the injury it could cause our family was still potential and hypothetical. We were leaving the troop on amicable terms, based on philosophical differences, not as a defensive response. Things changed, however, just a few days after we had privately decided to leave. One of the assistant scout masters became openly engaged in an adulterous affair with another scout parent in the troop, directly compromising two scouts and creating scandal for all the rest. I was livid when I discovered what was happening by seeing them together at a troop event. When I presented the situation to the Presbyterian congregation’s representative and our committee chairperson asking for the assistant scout master’s dismissal, their response was demonstrative of the moral and logical disorder that follows a detachment from natural law. It expressed an ethos which not only denies the sin of adultery; it also fails to recognize the vulnerability of the youths involved. Most alarming, though likely unintentional, it was language directly from the playbook for rationalizing homosexual “marriage:”

“What leaders do on their on their own time is not up to us to regulate or monitor. The public display of affection was not ‘over the top’ and therefore not inappropriate. We understand that he is not meeting portions of the Scout Law, but all of us fall short of being 100% perfect.”

In such disputes it is the chartering organization’s representative, in this case the representative of the PC (USA) congregation, who makes the final decision. While I was offered the option of holding a committee hearing on dismissing the assistant scout master, my husband and I were already convinced of the futility of trying to demonstrate the depravity of the situation. Through a lengthy email exchange it had become clear that the sanctity of marriage is not important or worth defending, the whims of adults matter more than the welfare of children, and standards of morality are relative and open to interpretation. Our intention of changing troops in anticipation of coming moral melee was pre-empted by the need to get out quickly before our children were affected.

I share this story in hopes that it will move faithful Christians to vigilance and action. This is how marriage revisionism on the national level ultimately manifests itself in our private lives. It is insidiously infiltrating every aspect of American culture, even those institutions originally established to promote traditional values, like the Boy Scouts. Those most egregiously disenfranchised by marriage revision and the resulting ethical anarchy are the children. Faithful Catholics in particular must stay engaged and to be standards for truth. America needs us.

 “The world in which we live is the battleground of the Church. I believe that we are now living at the end of Christendom. It is the end of Christendom, but not of Christianity. What is Christendom? Christendom is the political, economic, moral, social, legal life of a nation as inspired by the gospel ethic. That is finished.” –Ven. Fulton Sheen, 1974

Terri Kimmel loves open source learning online, walks two miles every day rain or shine, and is a hobby poet and fiction writer. She is a cradle Catholic who considers herself undergoing a continual conversion. She’s a sinner. She and her husband are discerning a lay vocation with the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT).