There was a schedule, a ritual to my growing up. It was known and not to be broken. Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evenings were spent at church. Sunday School, Worship, Youth Choir, Worship; RA’s, supper, Youth group. That was how things were. The teachings came from the pulpit, from the teachers and were as sacred and as inerrant as those words which Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai.
Monday nights were almost as sacred. On Monday nights, every Monday night at 7:00, we would gather at the Boy Scout Hut. We would gather in the yard and play football, baseball, some male-bashing game until Howell Stroup called us in. The meeting would begin and we would work on merit badges, camping skills, knot tying—whatever was on the schedule. We would begin to look forward to the monthly camping trip and hike—Mt. Mitchell, Kings Mountain, Crowder’s Mountain, Grandfather Mountain. (When do we get to climb Brown Mountain and see “The Lights???)
But at every meeting, at every meeting we would recite those words, that while they weren’t in the Bible were just as sacred.
“A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient cheerful thrifty brave clean and reverent.”
They are words that helped form who I am to this very day. They are the law by which I still try to live, just as much as Micah 6:8.
That is why I was so disturbed by the campaign address President Trump delivered to the Boy Scout Jamboree in Glen Jean, WV last night. (You can read the transcript here) Going to a Jamboree for most scouts is a once in a lifetime experience. To gather with fellow scouts from around the country, is something you never forget. The chance to hear from the President of the United States is the same. How many times have you ever heard the president speak live? I can only imagine the excitement, the thrill.
So that is why his address hurt me so! It was not a speech to Boy Scouts, but rather a campaign speech in which he lambasted his predecessor and former opponent. He went on and on about how much HE has accomplished. The truth is we have come to expect that.
But he went over the line when he dared blaspheme those sacred words. “As the Scout law says, a scout is trustworthy, loyal — we could use some more loyalty I will tell that you that.”
I wish our president would read the entirety of the Scout Law. Even more I wish that he would live it. The values listed there would serve him well.
It sounds like the antithesis of how this president has lived his life!
When the young men return home from the jamboree I hope what they will remember is not the speech that the president gave, but rather the variety of scouts in the audience—from all across America. I hope they will remember the values lived out by their leaders who give time every week to help them tie knots, work on merit badges, work their way towards becoming an Eagle. I hope they will remember the Scout Oath—On my honor, I will do my best. To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight. I hope they will remember, but even more live live out the Scout Law.
Those values will continue to make America great. Just as they always have!