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Boy Scout Ban on Gays Is A Mistake

Today I looked on Facebook and saw that the mother of one of my son's friends had posted that the Boy Scout's re-affirmation of their ban on gay people had re-affirmed her decision not to let her boys join Scouts. This was followed by many posts and likes from other mothers of my son's friends who feel the same way. There was quite an outpouring of animosity.

Boy Scouts used to be right up there with America, apple pie, and baseball. Norman Rockwell even featured the Scouts in numerous paintings. How could Boy Scouts go from near-universal love and respect to an organization that gets shouted at by parents for recruiting at schools?

The Scout Law says that:

"A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent."

Every Scout and adult leader swears to follow the Scout Law. How is banning gay people consistent with the Scout Law? Is that kind or friendly or helpful or loyal? No. Some people claim that it is for the Scout's protection. Those people think that gay = pedophile.  There is a term for people that believe that way: bigot.

The national office in Texas claims that most of the membership of Boy Scouts agrees with them. They reached this conclusion after conducting a survey, supposedly. I never took part in this survey and I am very interested to understand their survey sample and methodology, but in the meantime let's just take a moment and try to imagine ourselves in Texas conducting a survey on school segregation in 1960, or on slavery in 1860. What do you suppose the results of those surveys would have been? I don't know about you, but I don't think that surveying bigots to ask them if they are OK with continuing to be bigots makes much sense.  Eisenhower felt the same way, too, when he ordered the National Guard to escort those 9 kids to school in Little Rock and end segregation there. Sometimes we have to stand up and do the right thing. If I were to ever witness some boys bullying another boy, I would not conduct a survey of the bullies to ask them if they were happy with continuing to be bullies. I would put a stop to it.

To achieve Eagle Scout - the highest rank in Scouting - a scout must earn the Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, and Citizenship in the World merit badges. If you have a look at the books and requirements for those merit badges you might notice something interesting. They do not say that all people are created equal - except gay people. The Boy Scouts of America teaches Scouts about actual citizenship, the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights ... all of it. The whole freedom toolkit. Perhaps the Scouts should return the favor and teach these lessons back to the leadership in Texas.

I thought about quitting my position as Assistant Scoutmaster in my son's troop, but what would that accomplish? For all of the stupidity of that ruling, some kids really need Scouting and I can't turn my back on them. Also, this situation needs fixed, and if I quit, and if people like me quit, then we will leave Scouting in the hands of some people who are not doing it any favors. They may throw me out, but I intend to ignore the ruling from those 11 people in Texas and go on teaching citizenship, responsibility, leadership, and outdoor skills. I am proud to help in Scouting however I can, and I am not going to let hate or ignorance interfere with that.


raeraecarina said…
BRAVO. Shared on Facebook!

-Cub Scout Leader, Tucson, AZ
raeraecarina said…
BRAVO. As a cub scout leader, I agree wholeheartedly. Reposting on facebook.

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