Rob Schwarzwalder, the Director of the Center for Christian Thought & Action at Regent University examined the Boy Scouts' moral decline with Tony Perkins on Washington Watch.
Schwarzwalder said on Tuesday that the number of Boy Scouts members has decreased dramatically during the past six years. He added that it hit its peak in the United States 50 years ago, when it had more than 7 million active members.
As an explanation for the significant drop, he said that families have decided that they are no longer willing to accept or support an organization that basically states that they are not going to develop or promote their values. Furthermore, when members have disassociated themselves from the Boy Scouts, they have turned to other groups such as Trail Life.
On sexual abuse claims and the organization's future
Schwarzwalder claims that the Boy Scouts are suffering the consequences of decades of "sweeping sexual abuse under the rug" by refusing to address it publicly or, at the very least, expel offenders from the organization. Their predatory actions were even tolerated when they were permitted to relocate to another state and join once again.
Concerning the Boy Scouts' future, Schwarzwalder said that, aside from bankruptcy, the organization has lost its integrity as a result of their compromises.
"What is the future of the Boy Scouts? I think you've just defined it, Tony. They have abandoned their core mission of training young men to be leaders of high moral character. They no longer are even able to define what they mean by things like honor and morality," he said.
Beginnings and progressions
During the late 1890s Boer War in South Africa, the city of Mafikeng was under siege. Robert Baden-Powell was particularly impressed by a group of young men in that city known as the mafia king scouts, a group of young people who ran errands, supplied food for the soldiers, served as officers, and so on.
Powell returned to Britain convinced that there was a real lack of education for young men in high-stress situations, whether in the military or in the workplace. He was very concerned about the fact that Britain had a rising number of young men capable of meeting the leadership challenge, so he founded the Boy Scouts.
Interestingly, Schwarzwalder claimed that within 15 years of its foundation, the scouting movement had grown. There were approximately half a million boy scouts in the United States alone. President Theodore Roosevelt was then the scout's main supporter in an honorary role as the Chief Scout Master. Since then, every U.S. president has been the de facto Boy Scout leader.
The "red flag file," which included the names of sexual offenders, was made public by Roosevelt's son in the 1930s, and the story reached the front page of the New York Times.
Fast forward to 2014, the organization modified its membership standards to make it such that sexual orientation was no longer a barrier to membership. By July 2015, the Boy Scouts of America had declared that they will be removing their prohibition on homosexual adults serving as scout leaders.
In 2017, the Boy Scouts of America declared that transgender youth who identify as males would be permitted to participate in boys-only activities.
Today, the Boy Scouts are now in bankruptcy, and they are required to pay 850 million dollars in order to attempt to recompense the victims of abuse.
"The very thing that made scouting unique, its sense of honor, and conviction, and principle was thrown aside for the sake of appeasing cultural winds and appeasing an antagonistic culture," said Schwarzwalder.