Posted on: February 29th, 2008 Boy Scouts, not the Church, needed to Fight Cultural Nihilism?

In recommending Texas Governor Rick Perry’s new book in defense of the Boy Scouts, Newt Gingrich writes that Perry “makes the case for why Scouting is more important than ever in combating the nihilistic forces of our culture and shaping young lives into service-oriented leaders.”

Scouting as the response to nihilism, however, is not compelling. Scouting has no body politic, it has no economic discipline of sharing, and most importantly it has no narrative of death (and resurrection).

One reason I love Radical Orthodoxy is that it is willing to meet nihilism on its own turf. It admits that, apart from Christianity’s original ontology of harmonious peace (rooted in the community of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), there is no way to keep people from imposing a violent hegemony over others in our pluralistic culture.

Does Boy Scouts presuppose and affirm this understanding of creation, of the true nature of God’s world? I don’t think so.

When it comes to countering our culture’s forces of nihilism, Boy Scouts is scotch tape at best, and nostalgic, ghetto-izing power politics at worst.

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