Few voluntary associations in American history have had as deep and wide an influence as the Boy Scouts of America. The training ground of soldiers and senators, pastors and presidents, the organization effectively instilled values like trustworthiness, loyalty, courteousness, thrift, bravery, and reverence in many of the over 100 million young men who joined in its over 100-year history. In fact, for much of the 20th century at least, “Scout’s honor” was among the highest assurances one could give of their honesty and integrity.
However, if the only evidence considered was the Boy Scouts of 2023, it would be hard to imagine that this long and storied history ever took place and that the organization ever helped boys mature into virtuous manhood. Ten years ago, the Boy Scouts of America allowed openly gay members for the first time. Soon thereafter, an avalanche of sexual abuse allegations, many of them decades old, forced the Scouts into bankruptcy and a 2.5-billion-dollar settlement. Since then, the organization has been in membership free fall.