Nothing like a little controversy to get me writing again…
As I have discussed occasionally in this blog, I have been involved as a dedicated Cub/Boy Scout leader for about six years. My son and I started at the earliest levels of Cub Scouts and have progressed through the program, joining the Boy Scout Troop this past November. I chose to continue on as a leader as I believe in the program and the benefits, the personal development, and the leadership skills it provides to young men as well as the volunteer adult leadership. Plus, it’s just plain FUN! It has been an amazing experience that has had a profound and lasting effect on both of us.
Today I read a disquieting article about a female Cub Scout Leader in Ohio, who was recently removed from her position for being Lesbian. This woman did nothing other than volunteer as a Den Leader for a Cub Scout Pack that her son wanted to be involved in. She did nothing other than choose to sacrifice her own personal time, something the majority of parents would have been too lazy or disinterested to commit to. Of course, as most people are probably aware, the B.S.A. has held a longstanding policy excluding gays from participating in their program. This storyline has been replayed over and over again through the years as this topic continues to resurface and plague an otherwise wonderful and valuable program.
I won’t rehash all the details, you can read it here.
Although I disagree with this stance, I won’t give up on the Boy Scout program. I believe the benefits it provides far outweighs the downsides of this one ignorant policy. I believe myself and my fellow leaders have, and will continue to, provide a positive and influential program for the youth in our local Pack and Troop. Perhaps naively, I believe that in many cases this policy would not be… and is not… supported on a local level, it is only forced down from the National organization. But I did feel the need to speak up, if only in the limited capacity that I am able to through this blog and through social media. I believe this is a policy that should be reevaluated and ultimately changed, especially during a period in the B.S.A.’s proud history when membership is declining and gaining financial support for the programs is challenging.
In 2000, the Supreme Court upheld the B.S.A.’s right to exclude gays from their ranks, as it is a private organization and has the right to establish its own rules. I’m not denying the B.S.A. the right to carry on a ridiculous, archaic policy like this, but I am questioning the judgment of an organization that declares to teach young men to be Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent.
Perhaps they need to add Discriminatory to that list.