Childrearing

Nevermind! The Boy Scouts Can’t Even Take The Smallest Step To Curbing Their Bigotry

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boy scoutsRemember just last week when we thought that maybe, just maybe, the Boy Scouts of America were going to take a small step in the 21st century (and the world of human decency) and allow individual troops to decide if they would welcome gay members or pack leaders? Yea, nevermind on that slight feeling of optimism you had for the increasingly irrelevant children’s group. The Boy Scouts have decided to “postpone” their vote on this matter for months, mostly in response to the conservative outrage over their marginally less bigoted guideline change.

According to the statement from organization:

“After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the Scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy.”

I have a feeling that the dialogue from “outside the organization” is from none other than noted commentators like the Family Research Council. One of their reps, Peter Sprigg, argued on CNN that Scout parents should have the right to “protect” their kids from “potential risk” of sexual abuse.

By the way, even if you look past how glaringly prejudice, false, and insulting that statement is, (if one could do that), the argument doesn’t make sense. The new guideline would still allow individual parents to have a say in whether or not gay members and pack leaders would be allowed. It would be up to the troops themselves to decide. So an ignorant, bigoted parent would still be able to express that belief and ask that their troop not welcome gay kids or leaders.

Another opponent of the Boy Scouts’ idea to be possibly more inclusive in some areas, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, argues, ““This verges on being beyond the realm of the rational, and it’s going to lead to human tragedy.” Because obviously, telling young boys that they can be accepted and valued no matter who they find attractive is completely irrational and potentially dangerous. Insert frustrated teeth-grating and disbelief here.

The most ridiculous thing about this entire debate is that the Boy Scouts weren’t even taking some huge, progressive step. They weren’t announcing, “Part of our mission is to teach young boys respect and integrity, and with that in mind, we want to welcome to every child who believes in these concepts and wants to be a part of our organization.” They weren’t standing up for equality.

They were shifting the focus of the discussion and attempting to weasel away from criticism. They weren’t taking a stand. They were hiding by turning acceptance into a “local issue.” And now, even that is too much for the organization.

Whatever the group decides months from now when they get back around to debating their outmoded views, it doesn’t really matter. They’ve proven that the leadership and morality they once claimed to stand for are no longer ideas that they care about or value.

(Photo: Matt Ragen/Shutterstock)

11 Comments

  1. CrazyFor Kate

    February 6, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Well, it’s their funeral. Get with the 21st Century, guys! Because fewer and fewer parents are going to want their sons associated with bigots.

  2. Paul White

    February 6, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Damnit BSA 🙁 At this rate my son won’t be part of a once-great organization.

  3. catt

    February 6, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    I took my son out of scouts a few years ago. wasn’t for this reason but I think this just absolutely stinks. assuming that allowing gay people would be inviting sexual abuse is ridiculous.there are

  4. LEB

    February 6, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    My husband and I are having a boy, and while we generally hope to encourage him in whatever he wants to do, one of the few activities we’ll ban is joining Boy Scouts. Well, not like they’d let him join anyway since his father and I are both atheists, and they’re equally as intolerant of non-Christian members as they are over matters of sexual orientation.

    But my main reason for commenting is to say to those of you who have daughters — Girl Scouts and GSUSA is NOTHING like Boy Scouts of America when it comes to accepting girls of other races, religions, creeds, and yes, even sexual orientation. I was a Girl Scout until I graduated high school, I’d love to be a Girl Scout troop leader if we ever have a daughter, and it’s an organization I support to this day because of it’s positive messages of tolerance, education, and self-empowerment. Boy Scouts has made itself an “exclusive” organization, but Girl Scouts have always been inclusive and continues in that mission to reach out to all girls. Maybe someday the Boy Scouts will wake up and remember that their mission is to celebrate boyhood and encourage boys to grow into worthwhile, civically responsible young men, and have some fun doing it. It wouldn’t hurt them to take a page or two out of the Girl Scout Handbook, that’s for sure.

    • Jal

      February 6, 2013 at 10:49 pm

      Many BS groups are departing from the standard on their own. In our town it’s not a Christian group at all unless you are through a church. It can’t be since in our neighborhood alone there are at least 6 different religions, not including any atheists. We ourselves are not Christian. And while girls can’t be Boy Scouts, my daughter is welcome to join in on any BS event along with my son (even though she’s a GS). Probably the only reason we don’t have a gay person is one hasn’t tried LOL I’m sure our troop isn’t going to go scream it to the world and undergo the crap, but please know that some of the individual troops have already made the decision on their own.

  5. Cee

    February 6, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    Eh, I’m a jaded lesbian. I knew this would happen. I have seriously no excitement over any attempt to have rights anymore. I live in a state where I thought we’d get our right to marry years ago(California), let’s see what the Supreme Court does and what these people do in the future. I’ll believe it when I see it though..

  6. K.

    February 7, 2013 at 3:28 am

    Ah, BSA…You are starting to realize that all those conservative dollars come with strings. One of them is that the 60-70% of us younger generation parents aren’t into your right-wing anti-LGBT stance, some of us have potentially dues-paying young boys, and we vote on the people in Congress who have a hand in directing–or not directing–federal funds to you. And considering that we are a younger generation and the wave of the future and pretty diverse, while your LDS and ALCU et al. backers are aging, demographically homogenous, and representative of a narrow minded view that is (happily) becoming less and less popular, those conservative dollars are starting to look sort of expensive in what they end up costing you.

    When you realize that you’re being bought out by a niche market, maybe you’ll do the right thing. Or maybe you’ll continue to shoot yourself in the foot until no one cares about Scouting. It’ll be a sad end to a once-magnificent organization, but if that’s the pussy-foot way you want to go out, then I guess that’s how it’s gonna be.

  7. Scoop007

    February 7, 2013 at 5:52 am

    I understand the frustration but who gives a shit? They’re a privately funded, privately run organization that can include or excluded whoever they choose. If I had a son I wouldn’t want him to join a club that refused to allow all boys to join but I also wouldn’t want him to join a club that had to be held at gunpoint & forced to allow all boys to join. They might change the rules but that surely doesn’t mean they’ve changed their minds. There are other much more inclusive, open minded boys groups available so I say stop giving BSA publicity and let them fade away into obscurity.

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