Doing the wrong thing

Carl Jung coined the phrase synchronicity to explain the odd coincidences that feel like answered prayers, messages from God, or prophesies.  I had such an experience today.  Chuck Colson invited me to a “Doing the Right Thing” showing at the Christian Fellowship Church of Ashburn.

Here’s the invite, front

and back

Thirty minutes after reading the invitation, I received a note from my friend Stephen Johnson alerting me to Laura Peters’ article in the Loudoun Times Mirror; Potomac Falls woman removed from son’s Boy Scout troop.

Coincidentally, Christian Fellowship was responsible for the removal of dedicated Boy Scout troop leader Denise Steele because her life partner is female.  Here’s the response from the church:

Phil Holliday, the executive pastor at Christian Fellowship Church and Esther Schaeffer, the charter organization representative, say they are simply following the rules.
When a chartered partner agrees to sponsor a scouting unit, an annual charter agreement is signed, they explained.

The controversy started when assistant scout master Skip Inabinett decided to “help” Steele by trying to break up her family.

In an email that Inabinett sent to a close personal friend of Steele’s and whose son was also in the troop, he stated, “If what you said about Denise Steele being an active sexual is true, do you feel comfortable talking with her about stepping down/resigning as an ASM … as her friend, this may be an opportunity for you to share with her about Christ’s love and the need to believe that as sinners we cannot get to heaven on our own and that we need a savior.”

Apparently, “God’s” work doesn’t involve rules of protocol or common courtesy.

To bring up an issue, there are certain steps of going about it starting with the scout master, then up to the committee and committee chair then to the charter organization. But, according to Steele and Funk, Inabinett went straight to the Boy Scouts of America with his complaint to get her removed as an assistant scout master – and it worked.
“He didn’t go through those steps. He skipped over the scout master, he skipped over the committee, he skipped over the district. He went straight to the highest level because that’s where he would get his answer. He went to the highest point to get me removed,” Steele said.

So this is the legalistic bullying behavior Chuck Colson teaches as “Doing the Right Thing“.  Good to know.  When do we pull his tax exemption?  He doesn’t need our tax dollars to pay for this behavior.

Update 20110831:

There has been some question as to who is responsible for the decision to remove Denise Steele. At 7:31PM on Aug 31, 2011, Denise posted a comment on the Loudoun Times Mirror article where she confirmed that Phil Holliday coached Skip Inabinett and served as his proxy.

Skip has not said one word because he believes in what he did (no one can change that and I know he will not apologize). He has been “coached” and supported by the Executive Pastor, who also believes Skip has done nothing wrong…to the point Phil spoke on Skip’s behalf about Skip’s “intentions” when he met with us.

5 thoughts on “Doing the wrong thing

  1. Eric the 1/2 troll

    So it is not clear to me the role the church had in kicking out ms. Steele. Did they actually require it or did it come from BSA on high? I can not fault the church if they did not actually do the deed.

  2. Pariahdog


    Please see the LTM article. The BSA national office said:

    “But according to Deron Smith, the director of public relations for the Boy Scouts of America, Steele wasn’t removed from the national council and it may have been a troop decision. Units determine their own membership, Smith said.”

    And the Christian Fellowship charter representative said:

    “We are simply doing what we agreed to do in our charter,” Schaeffer said.”

    The article makes it pretty clear that the charter organization made the decision.

  3. Elder Berry

    Hypocrites. Miserable slimy hypocrites. It’s not as if it’s easy to find someone who is willing to volunteer the time and effort to work with our kids. Having hypocrites drive someone like Ms. Steele out, that’s just disgusting and a terrible loss for the kids. I’ve never like Mr. Colson, I think he’s a hypocritical opportunist, and it sounds like his followers are just as bad.

  4. Anon

    For those of you who go on to the original Loudoun Times article, you should be aware of problems throughout the piece. The “reporter” Laura Peters did absolutely no research in her mad dash to present Steele’s plight, and in the process made grievous errors which make the article laughable. I outlined the errors in an email to Peters and excerpt them below:

    “First of all, your ignorance of BSA programs is advertised in almost every sentence. A few examples: Cub Scouts are organized into “packs,” not “troops.” Scoutmaster is one word, not two. The training to become an Assistant Scoutmaster takes less than a week, not a year. Now let’s get more specific:
    1. You paint Mrs. Steele as a selfless volunteer who sinlehandedly saved a Cub Scout “troop”: “Steele started out in Boy Scouts as a den leader for her son, Jackson, 12, for his school, Horizon Elementary. No other parent would step up to the plate to take on the responsibility of leading a Cub Scout troop.[sic]” Den Leaders do not lead a Cub Scout pack. Packs are broken into dens, each den would be at least 2 boys and ideally no more than 8. The pack is run by a Cubmaster, not a Den Leader. Den Leaders are only responsible for leading activities during den meetings, and if a pack were to be unable to accomodate Steele’s son and his classmates, there are–like Boy Scout troops–many packs that they could have joined instead; for example, there are 5 Cub Scout packs within 10 minutes of my home in the suburbs of Richmond.

    2. You report that Steele’s “troop [sic] excelled at everything, including accomplishing badges and winning the Blue and Gold Award all five years, one of the highest awards for Boy Scouts.” Again, your ignorane of Scouting shines. You are reporting on the period before Steele or her son were involved in Boy Scouting–they were Cub Scouts–yet you call them Boy Scouts. Worse than that, there is no such thing as a Blue and Gold Award in American Cub Scouting. Even if there were such an award, it would not be among the highest awards available to Boy Scouts, Cub Scout awards cannot be worn on the Boy Scout uniform (except for the Arrow of Light). The Blue and Gold Banquet is an awards dinner held by Cub Scout packs to recap their year and recognize advancement for the scouts; everyone in the pack is invited, it isn’t elite.

    3. Your statement that “After graduating from Cub Scouts, the next step is to find the right Boy Scout troop. All boys are able to select which troop best fits them instead of being automatically placed based on the schools they attend.” implies that Cub Scouts are automatically placed in a pack based on school or street address. They are not. Like Boy Scout troops, Cub Scout packs are open enrollment. Again: Google is your friend.

    4. Lest I spit it out, I had to postpone a sip of coffee when I read “The training process to become a scout leader usually takes about a year. Steele completed it in three weeks. ” This is utterly false. There are 4 training components to become an Assistant Scoutmaster and wear he “Trained” patch: Youth Protection Training, This is Scouting, Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills, and Leader Specific Training. Youth Protection training takes 30 mintes to an hour, max; it is an onlinevideo and quiz series, which you can view here: This is Scouting is a basic introduction to the Boy Scout program, it is also online and takes less than an hour to complete. Intro to Outdoor Leader Skills teaches basic scouting skills to adult leaders (so they’re competent when teaching the boys) and takes one weekend campout. Leader Specific training is an indoor session that takes one Saturday afternoon to complete. If Mrs. Steele is the person that told you it takes a year to complete the training to become an Assistant Scoutmaster (as she aspired to be), then she lied to you. While you were eager to create an aura of “uber leader” around Steele by tauting her 3 week “accomplishment” all you really did was demonstrate that she took more time to complete the training than is necessary. Anyone can complete the training in 2 weeks.
    On top of that, the only one of these 4 training components that is required to register as an Asst SM is Youth Protection; the others are optional. A National policy change will require the other 3 next year, but the fact of the matter is that currently Steele could be an Asst Scoutmaster in a matter of minutes.”

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