There are few things in life that render me speechless. But I’m pretty much without words after hearing of the decision of the Boy Scouts of America to continue with its policy of denying membership to gay boys, and forbidding gay and lesbian parents to volunteer within the organization.
I acknowledge that BSA is a private organization and, as such, they have the right to decide who’s allowed in. What bothers me is that the BSA is supposed to be all about raising future leaders.
In its mission, the BSA claims to believe that “helping youth is a key to building a more conscientious, responsible, and productive society.”
How, exactly, does setting an example of bigotry create a responsible society?
Cooper’s been a Cub Scout for a couple of years now, as are many of his friends. They seem to have fun and it always struck me as a good program — skill-building, having fun, learning how to be confident and how to do good things for others and the community as a whole. But I must have missed the asterisk after that last part — helping others, unless those other people happen to be the gays. Then, not so much.
I don’t know if any of Cooper’s peers are gay; I don’t know if any of their parents are. I don’t really care. But it’s outrageous to me to imagine a scenario when, a few years down the road, as one of these dedicated Scouts working toward his Eagle status comes out, and is summarily thrown from the program he’s been committed to for his whole young life. Or that a kid’s parent might be denied an opportunity to lead and teach, just because of who she loves.
Ray and I had been wondering lately if Cooper was going to do scouting next year — last year, there were so many conflicts with his other activities, he hardly got to participate. Did it make sense to sign him up again?
I found my answer. I don’t want my son to learn lessons of bigotry. I don’t want him to learn a culture of hate. I refuse to let him belong to a group that discriminates.
I know that our local pack has nothing but the best intentions and goals, with dedicated volunteers, and an awesome group of parents and young people involved in the program. This is not about those people. They are good people and they are kind and teach my son fine lessons of volunteerism and character; they are not the problem.
But by keeping my son in scouts is hypocritical. Would I allow him to play on a baseball team that only let white kids join? Or attend a school that said “no Asians”?
I won’t do it.
Shame on you, Boy Scouts of America. And, you just lost one incredible kid.