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Joseph Knippenberg describes very well the likely scenario by which the Boy Scouts will move from a surrender on homosexuality to a surrender on atheism. This is just how institutions are conquered by their implacable foes; it always begins with a decision to be “accommodating” that really represents a failure of courage.

Right on cue, the New York Times takes the editorial line today that the Scouts’ proposed new policy, of leaving questions of open homosexuality to the local level of the organization, will not be enough. This would only move from mandating “antigay bigotry” to tolerating it, which is hardly sufficient, if the whole point, as the Times ’ editors believe, is to stamp out such “bigotry.” And, as I wrote yesterday , the pressure will not stop until the Scouts agree to teach the new gospel of gay rights at all levels of the organization.

The members of the BSA’s national executive board may think that the way forward is to find some via media , but in truth it does not exist. On one side are donors who threaten to withhold funds unless the organization caves on homosexuality. On the other are millions of parents, and thousands of churches and other Scout troop sponsors who will abandon Scouting if it does cave. There is no easy way ahead. The choice is between continuing to be beleaguered, or self-destruction. The Scouts will never not be beleaguered, as long as they remain true to themselves. But they will only bring about the death of the Boy Scouts if they prove false to their principles.

Posed in this way, the choice is easy. It is only life that is hard.

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