Where does raising a white flag in the battle over your core values lead? Ask the Boy Scouts of America. After throwing up their hands on 103 years of conviction, the group may finally be learning that standing on principle isn't easy -- but it's a whole lot better than the alternative.
The fight to live out your beliefs can be an exhausting one. Until 2000, the Scouts had spent years in court just for the freedom to stick to its moral code. They won, but -- to the organization's dismay -- the battle didn't end. Waves of LGBT activists kept coming, and the pressure built until 2013, when BSA leaders gave into the lie that compromise would be their salvation. Five years later, we all can see: there's almost nothing left to save.
A half-decade into its LGBT experiment, the Boy Scouts are a step away from bankruptcy. Turns out, their defining moment may also be a fatal one. As the Wall Street Journal reports, the group has been bleeding members since it broke camp and allowed in kids and leaders who openly identify as gay and transgender. Not long after that, one of its biggest backers, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced the withdrawal of tens of thousands of young LDS from the program. Then, the paper points out, there was the fallout from recruiting girls, which not only angered its base -- but pitted the organization in a legal war with Girl Scouts USA. Now, a program that used to be one of America's finest is considering Chapter 11.
Friends, if you're wondering where the road of compromise leads, this is it. This is the future of anyone in the Christian community who exchanges the truth for cowardly conformism. The Boy Scouts dropped their moral mandate to accommodate what they don't believe. In the current climate, that's called "inclusion." But if the Scouts were being more inclusive, why didn't their numbers grow? Because, when you try to appeal to a conflicting moral viewpoint you only end up attracting the conflict!
Right now, too many churches, Christian colleges, and leaders are dangerously close to making the same mistake. They're so desperate or fearful -- or both --- that they're willing to water down who they are to protect the small space they're standing on. There's just one problem: the gospel's truth isn't up for negotiation. And in their rush to soften the blow of its confrontation, some believers are losing their identity.
Christians in Paul's time were no different. Like humans throughout history, they craved acceptance. "I am astonished," Paul wrote to the Galatians, "that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel -- which is really no gospel at all. Evidently, some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ... Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings or of God? ...If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ."
The Boy Scouts wandered so far away from their identity that by the end of 2016, they even dropped their most defining characteristic: boys. In the end, it ruined them. That's the destiny of any Christian who takes the naïve view that world can be placated. It can't. True love, I Corinthians 13:6 tells us, is truth. It's being salt and light in a draining, unforgiving culture. "Come out from them and be separate," Paul said, because he understands that in the end, it's not our sameness with the world that transforms people. It's our distinction. And one of the greatest is standing for truth -- even when we're standing alone.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.