Young author defends Boy Scouts, urges Christians to take stand
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Hans Zeiger decided long ago that being a Boy Scout was about more than just camping, "uncool brown uniforms" and learning to tie square knots.
Zeiger, a 20-year-old sophomore in college, reflects fondly on his years in the Boy Scouts of America. For this Eagle Scout, the organization has always been about honor, integrity and standing up for Christian values.
But the past few years haven't been kind to the Scouts. They've been hammered with scandalous headlines and criticism for refusing to allow homosexuals, atheists and women into their organization. Most recently, the Scouts made headlines when four scout leaders were killed in a freak power line accident at this summer's national Boy Scout Jamboree.
After various celebrities, columnists and groups like the ACLU showed no signs of slowing their attack on the Scouts, Zeiger decided at the age of 16 that he needed to begin his own counterattack by writing his side of the story.
In the book “Get Off My Honor: The Assault on the Boy Scouts of America,” Zeiger defends the organization against years of criticism, while throwing in a lot of its history. Broadman & Holman recently released the book.
"I wanted to speak up for the Boy Scouts because the organization has done so much in my life," Zeiger said in an interview. "The future of this country is at stake upon our capacity to preserve self-government and honor.... I see that ultimately, in our world of sin, honor can only come from God."
Zeiger comes from a family of Scouts and is president and founder of the Scout Honor Coalition. He wrote how the organization has always stood for moral values and faith in God. He contended the recent attacks are not only an attack on the Boy Scouts but Christianity as well.
"There is a culture war raging across America, and the Boy Scouts are at the forefront of the battle lines," he writes in the book. "Whether the larger religious community will have the guts to rise up and defend Scouting will be a strong indicator not only of Scouting's future but of the future of churches in America."
Since it first began in 1910, the Scouts not only have received support from past presidents -- going back to Theodore Roosevelt -- but from various Christian organizations and church leaders as well.
"The Scouts have been fairly consistent in their views on life and their associations with religious groups," Zeiger writes. "The Scouts haven't moved to the right, but the middle has moved to the left."
Zeiger hopes the book will stir more support from the Christian community. "It is time for churches to rally behind the Boy Scouts," he writes.
"But churches must go further than merely sponsoring troops and providing a place to meet. They must actively go to bat for the Scouts in this most intense of culture wars -- indeed, in what is more accurately a spiritual war."
Retired Lt. Col. Oliver North, who wrote the forward to the book, explained how Americans not only are at war with terrorists but also against those in this country who challenge the nation’s core values.
"[Zeiger] not only exposes the agenda of the radical left but offers prescriptions as well," North wrote. "This is a valuable work for every parent and community in a nation that should be concerned about the kind of young men we will have in the future."
After years of losing funding and support from organizations like the United Way, Zeiger says the Scouts need public support and encouragement more than ever. The book includes a list of how people can lend a hand.
"[The public needs] to volunteer with their local Boy Scout troop," Zeiger said. "Speak up at school board and city council meetings, contribute money to conservative legal groups that are fighting the ACLU, withhold money from local United Way chapters that discriminate against the Scouts. And pray."
Zeiger writes that he hopes he never has to write a sequel titled, “The Death of the Boy Scouts of America.”
"As long as there are real Boy Scouts, there will be real Americans," he writes.
“Get Off My Honor: The Assault on the Boy Scouts of America” by Hans Zeiger is available at LifeWay Christian Stores or www.lifewaystores.com. Broadman & Holman is the trade books division of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.