Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Boy Scouts to Reconsider Ban on Gays Tomorrow



Last year, the Boy Scouts of America released a statement which essentially said that they had reviewed their “membership policy” and decided to keep it the way it was, despite what some people at the BSA itself actually thought. Since then, the BSA has experienced a large drop in membership as many parents are pulling their children out of the scouts while others just aren’t joining.

The “membership policy” that I’m talking about is one very discriminatory rule that the BSA has, which excludes certain people from joining their organization. It is a rule which bans homosexuals from joining the scouts, and after their decision last year many people have urged them to reconsider this move, which they will be doing tomorrow.

The Boy Scouts have a pretty bad track record with discriminating against homosexuals, and atheists. But this is all relatively new, though. The Boy Scouts weren’t always this way, it’s just that they have been hijacked by the religious right as of relatively recently. Many churches have Boy Scout troops of their own and have a high stake in them, but no one has a higher stake in the BSA then the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. That’s right, the Mormons control a pretty large number of Boy Scout troops across America, more than any other religious organization in the country.

And of course, as usual, it’s become somewhat of a political topic as of late. President Obama as asked the BSA to repeal their anti-gay stance, and there is a whole movement out there to oppose them as well. One petition, which was delivered to the Boy Scouts of America headquarters in Irving Texas, had an astonishing1.4 million signatures, asking the BSA to end their ban of homosexual members.  

But the opposition to this ban on the ban is also out there, albeit their rhetoric on this one is illogical and completely incoherent (As usual…?). Especially statements made by Rick Santorum recently, where he is urging the Boy Scouts of America to keep their policy and continue to discriminate against homosexuals saying, “[W]hen I saw that the Boy Scouts of America executive board is convening on Wednesday to discuss abandoning the organization’s founding moral principles that nurture boys into men, I was saddened, but not surprised.”

Santorum went on to say that the Scouts are only doing this because they are caving into pressures from “intolerant liberal mind(ed)” people. But how is not allowing discrimination intolerance? Does he not see that the comment he made is absolutely asinine? Does this man even know what the meaning of the word intolerant is? 

He also went on to say that the Boy Scouts should stick to their moral roots on this one and not be forced to change to suit the popular culture. But the thing is that the Boy Scouts were never always like this. Their ‘founding moral principals’ are much different than what Santorum, or any other Republican would like to say they are. Once again, a case of politicians interpreting things in their own way to make a point.

FROM THE SCOUT MASTERS HANDBOOK 1972:

Rule number 1: You do not undertake to instruct Scouts, in any formalized manner, the subject of sex and family life. The reasons are that it is not construed to be Scoutings proper area, and that you are probably not well qualified to do this.

Yet now sex and family life are being used in the rules to exclude certain people that they don’t want to give equal rights to. And it’s not the BSA’s original policy to do this; it’s the right-winged religious folks who hijacked the BSA some years back and are now guiding its policies.

The BSA says that it has the right to be exclusive and not allow homosexuals the right to join because they are a private organization that can do what it wants. And this would be true, if the circumstances were slightly different. You see, in 1910 the Boy Scouts were recognized by the government as an American patriotic group, and because of that the BSA gets all kinds of great perks.

For one, the Scouts get public funding from the United States government. That’s public funding; the money that we pay into taxes goes to support the BSA and their bigotry. For two, the BSA can use public land for little to nothing. Most public buildings will allow Scouting troops to assemble for just one dollar a year or nothing at all. Fort A.P. Hill, where the Scouts hold their National Jamboree is rented for just one dollar. On top of that, active military personal are used to help set up the event, which costs the government around 5 million dollars every four years.

But let’s put all of that aside for a moment. I think the major hypocrisy of the BSA lies in their own law, a law that promotes trustworthiness, friendship, and kindness. It forces young people who are homosexuals to keep quiet about it and act like someone else, lying about who they are, thus breaking one of the Boy Scout laws? Do you think it is very kind or friendly to try to teach children hate and intolerance of this caliber?

Another great hypocrisy is that the BSA allows illegal immigrants to join their ranks, yet not homosexuals who are legally in this country. This is weird when you think about it. Why would the religious right be so strict on immigration, then turn around and say that you don’t have to be a citizen of America to join the Boy Scouts of AMERICA.

FROM THE BSA FAQ:

Citizenship is not required of youth or adult members.

Granted the FAQ goes on to say that if you are not a citizen of the United States they urge you to join a scouting organization in your own country. However, they will not turn you away from the group simply because you are not a US citizen. That translates as “Illegal immigrants? Yeah, their OK, but watch out for those subversive fucking faggots! They ruin everything!”  

I was in the Boy Scouts when I was younger. It was a very cool experience for the time that I was there. I learned how to start a fire and cook during a snow storm, learned how to use a compass to find my way back home, self reliance, and most of all self confidence.

Although that self confidence began to fade once I got older and began to realize who I was. Once I found out about the Scouts policy on homosexual members I thought that maybe I was a bad Scout. So I quit.

My boyfriend on the other hand nearly became an Eagle Scout, but for all intents and purposes he is an Eagle Scout. He finished out the entire program, even completed his Eagle Project. But before accepting the rank of Eagle he backed out, saying that he wanted nothing to do with a group that discriminates against gay people.

I’ve done a lot of Boy Scout bashing here, so I have to throw it out there and let it be known that I don’t hate the Scouts. I think they are a great organization that promotes great values and teaches young men a set of skills that will stay with them for the rest of their life. This is why I don’t understand why they won’t extend their hand and offer these skills, which every young man should know, to a certain person simply because they were born gay. As someone who cares about the community don’t you people think that all young men, regardless of who they are, should have these set of skills? Would it not make the world a better place?

Is it wrong to teach somebody how to tie a knot, or build a fire, or hike, or use a compass when they are born a certain way? Is this exclusive knowledge that only certain young people are allowed to know? I mean, should I be shunned for teaching a homosexual how to find his way home using a compass?

I would urge the Boy Scouts to highly reconsider this membership policy, and put an end to discrimination within their organization so that every young man, regardless of who they are, can join this great organization and learn all that the Boy Scouts has to offer. I have already sent them my feed back; I hope you will do the same.

Let’s hope that tomorrow they make the right decision and end this policy of discrimination, so that all young men will be treated equally and given the same chance to have an awesome experience like everyone else.


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