Stan Crader

Author & Lecturer on Writing About Rural America

Boy Scouts – Compromise – Incrementalism


“That’s just the way I am.” How many times have you heard that expression used to explain a behavior, condition, or opinion?

Here are a few statements that might precede “That’s just the way I am.” These are a blend of characteristics, opinions, and conditions.

I’m afraid of snakes. I’m cold natured. I’m warm natured. I don’t like the smell of fried broccoli. I love the smell of baked bread. I like sweet tea. I like classical music. I don’t like rap. I don’t think rap is music. I like the Cardinals. I like the Cubs. I like the Rangers. I like the Astros. Fall is my favorite time of year. I like snow. I hate cold weather. I like the beach. I like the mountains. I don’t like big cities. I love to visit New York. I gossip too much. I’m gay. – “That’s just the way I am.”

Most Americans say, “I believe in God.” Of those who profess a belief in God, most say, “I’m Christian.”

America was founded by men who professed a faith in God and most professed to be Christian. While writing the constitution, each day would begin with prayer. The founding father’s opinions and their informed influence were based on a lifetime of having been conditioned by learning Biblical principles. Their moral compass was based a set of laws that have been handed down for thousands of years, The Bible.

There are those who deny that America was founded on Biblical principles, but the monuments in DC are replete with scriptural references.

The Scout oath – “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country, to obey the Scout law, to help other people at all times, and to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”

For one to do their duty to God, they must know God’s will.

When someone is outside of God’s will, is their behavior excused by claiming, “That’s just the way I am?”

The decision by the Boy Scouts to allow openly gay members is being heralded as a compromise. Compromise can be defined as both sides meeting in the middle. By definition, neither side gets their way. Another definition of compromise is when something has been weakened, or ‘compromised.’

Change generally occurs in increments. A Cub Scout becomes a Boy Scout and after an arduous journey of earning and learning, achieves Eagle Scout. Sometimes the increments are so subtle we don’t notice until the total transformation is complete, such as from Cub to Eagle.

Is the Boy Scouts’ recent compromise the first in an incremental strategy to change the basic tenants of Scouting?

Can a Boy Scout swear the oath while professing to be homosexual?

How long will it be before the Scouts will compromise by taking ‘God,’ and ‘morally straight,’ out of their oath?

What is the next increment?


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