Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Boy Scouts File Bankruptcy To "Be Prepared"

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Early yesterday morning Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy.

In keeping with their motto "Be Prepared," they told the press they are preparing for lawsuits that may exceed $1 billion.

Legal experts are saying the filing was not because BSA doesn't have enough's for a different reason.

Be informed.

Sexual abuse cases number more than 12,000.

USA Today is reporting, "After months of speculation and mounting civil litigation, the Chapter 11 filing by the scouting organization's national body was unprecedented in both scope and complexity."

BSA told the press that they filed for bankruptcy protection in order to "ensure equitable compensation for thousands of sexual abuse victims who were harmed while participating in their programs, and to ensure they can continue to carry out their mission for years to come."

Most of the newly surfacing cases date to the 1960s, '70s, and '80s. BSA says they only had 5 known cases in 2018.

The number of cases on record is staggering. More than 12,000 Boy Scout members have been victims of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of 7,819 allegedly sexually abusive troop leaders and volunteers.

This, according to the long-held records in the organization known as "perversion files." The files have been kept private at BSA headquarters.

No one knows how many more victims will step forward and join the lawsuits.

The formal filing listed liabilities of up to $1 billion, with assets of as much as $10 billion.

The filing revealed the matters to be addressed in the bankruptcy are the fate of the Boy Scouts' assets; the extent to which the organization's insurance will help cover compensation; and whether assets of the Scouts' 261 local councils will be added to the fund.

Clearly, they are trying to limit their losses.

But legal experts say there is more to it than money.

Tim Kosnoff, who has tried thousands of child abuse cases, told USA Today,
"They're going into bankruptcy not because they don't have the money. They're going into bankruptcy to hide...a Mount Everest in dirty secrets."

Many are comparing this to the issues with the Catholic Church, but unlike the Catholic bankruptcy cases in which more than 20 individual dioceses have filed for protection, the Boy Scouts case will play out on a national level.

BSA has made a series of bad decisions.

The BSA leaders have apologized publicly saying they "care deeply" about the victims while assuring the public that their programs will continue during these bankruptcy proceedings.

In a statement they say,
"BSA cannot undo what happened to you, but we are committed to supporting you and to doing everything in our power to prevent it from happening to others. It is a social and moral responsibility that [we] take very seriously."

And they are vowing that BSA will continue "to carry out our mission for years to come."

However, a series of bad decisions may come to bear on that promise.

Founded in 1910, the BSA is composed of a little less than 2 million youth members between the ages of 5 and 21. This is down from a high of about 5 to 6 million some years ago.

The Christian Post says,
"In recent years, however, the BSA has courted controversy, lawsuits and loss of membership for admitting openly gay scouts in 2013, then openly gay leaders in 2015, and then including the participation of girls in 2017."

On January 1, this year, the Mormon (LDS) Church---which had been very active in the Bot Scouts for 100 years--followed through on its plan to pull hundreds of thousands of Mormon youth out of Scouts in favor of their own youth program. That withdrawal caused an 18% drop in membership overnight.

A new day in scouting.

As a result of these decisions, many evangelical churches and families decided to go in a new direction.

"Trail Life USA" is a boy's mentoring and discipleship movement, dedicated to reinforcing its commitment to providing a safe experience for boys, from K through 12. They say,
"Our philosophy is derived from the Bible and set in the context of outdoor adventure. Boys are challenged to grow in character, understand their purpose, serve their community, and develop life-long leadership skills."

Trail Life USA, from the beginning, has taken comprehensive steps to ensure the boys' safety. They note,
"All our adult leaders undergo regular background checks, complete youth protection training, and adhere to strict guidelines to reduce the potential for abuse."

Trail Life has seen exponential growth over the past several years.

I have no direct connection to the organization, but what I have heard and seen of the program, I would strongly recommend every parent and grandparent check it out.


All of us have made mistakes in our lives---bad decisions, bad choices, etc

Galatians 6: 7-9 comes to mind:

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

I'm not suggesting the Boy Scouts was doing God's work, per se, but for nearly a century they stayed true to their conservative founding principles---then in an effort to better relate, be inclusive, tolerant and equitable, they knowingly or unknowingly began to embrace policies that essentially mock God--and "sow to the flesh." Reaping, or harvest always comes in its season.

In the metaphor of "scouting," there's a life lesson:

For each of us. And for the Church.

Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful.