Shame on the Boy Scouts of America.

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.

Really? REALLY?

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.

Future leaders of what? Hate? Discrimination?

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.


9 thoughts on “Shame on the Boy Scouts of America.

  1. Thanks! It’s amazing to me that on this issue, groups like the BSA have not changed at all. It is, as you say, truly appalling. And, just sad. My son has always enjoyed being a scout. But I think, in the long run, he’s better off without them.

  2. As you say, they are a private organization and can decide who to let in and who to keep out of their organization. However, their right does not make them a “bad” organization, just like most religions and those who belong to them aren’t “bad” because they disagree with homosexuality. Boy Scouts help others even if they’re gay, there is no asterisk there. It’s not a culture of hate. Adult leaders don’t sit there telling the boys that homosexuals or bad — they don’t even set out to tell them that they’re not allowed into the organization.
    As a citizen, you have every right to decide to remove your son from an organization with which you disagree on a fundamental point of your beliefs. You also have the right to teach your child why you disagree with the BSA. Hugh has been a Scout for7 years now and he knows my stance — I believe that homosexuals are just as wonderful as the next person, that they have a right to marry and have kids (they’re all about LOVE, marriage & kids, and God IS love), that it’s none of anyone else’s business what happens behind closed doors between two consenting adults.
    It’s not all about what someone else teaches your kid. It’s all about what you teach your kid and how you teach it. If Cooper’s just as happy without Scouts, more power to him. Fortunately, as Americans, we get to choose.
    Love you & your posts!!!

  3. Thank you Barbro. I agree with you 100%. Jen you are 100% right to disagree with this out of day and prejuudice policy. Start a petition to end this ploicy. However, the boy scouts teach a lot of good stuff. Team work, friendship, work ethic, morals, and they produce leaders.

    Don’t denie Cooper the opportunity that the boy scouts offer.

  4. I just came across your blog reading articles about BSA (I’m in Taiwan right now, but from Canada), and I am so happy to find such amazing parents who are voicing concerns over the discriminatory policies against the queer community. This is especially amazing coming from people everywhere.. there are less than 10% of us in the world so we need the help of everyone, regardless of race, gender or sexuality in order to shift cultural norms. I hope one day the kids of our kids will look back and say “I can’t believe they actually banned gay people from BSA!” just like how we now can’t believe women couldn’t vote only a few decades ago.

  5. Jenna, there are countless other Christians like me who are saying Bravo! to the Boy Scouts for upholding their values. They are Christian values. We do not despise homosexual people (I am friends with several) but we do not accept their lifestyle, in the same way that we do not accept two unmarried people living together or two married people engaging in adultery. These are not good role models for the boys. We want to teach them how to be men who can stand up for the Truth.
    I hope you will reconsider your position based upon Scripture — Genesis and Romans, Corinthians, Timothy — and not from what the culture says is nice.
    God bless.

    • Hi Vijaya! Thanks for stopping by! I understand and respect your opinion, and I know it comes from your heart-felt faith. I appreciate your perspective and that you took the time to reply! I also agree that BSA has the right to their particular set of values (even though it’s kind of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach that to me seems contradictory — or even duplicitous). I just am not sure I want my son to think that a leader is one who feels that what *others* believe is wrong, that *his* belief is the only right way. I think that there is a lot in those sacred books that we can all agree are not words to live by — practices and instructions that seem barbaric to us today, or even rather optional (should we really stone people to death? What about eating pork? What about multiple wives?). It’s not my intention to get into a religious debate — just that I personally don’t want my son to believe that a leader means forcing people to conform to *his* personal belief system, and punish them if they do not. I’d like my son to grow up to believe that all people are children of God — even the ones who are not “Christian,” in whatever particular definition of Christian (out of the many) is before him at the time. I think that Jesus, ever the champion of the down-trodden, despised, outcast, and vilified, would agree. But, again, it’s up to the BSA to set their value system. I just am choosing not to support it.

      One of the things I really appreciate about you, Vijaya, is your absolutely kind and gentle and firm approach to expressing your beliefs. I truly admire your faith, and, again, appreciate you taking the time to comment here. Cheers — and, peace.

  6. Well, as a very traditional Roman Catholic (convert) I do take the NT to heart. Every. Single. Word. And try very hard to live by it. I also fail every single day. I respect your decision to not support the BSA … I do understand. It’s hard to believe that something that was written so long ago is relevant, given that the social mores have changed rapidly in the last 50 years. But when in doubt, I stick to the teachings of the Church Fathers. By the way, it was really on ideological grounds that we decided not to support the Girl Scouts, even though our local troop is wonderful. We do *home-scouting* and I think it will work very well for your family as well.
    Pax Christi.

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