Those of you who know me know that I’m involved in Boy Scouts of America. There have been several stories in the last year and few of them have been to the organization’s credit. This is the latest.
I’m aware of these stories. The Cub Scout Dad in Texas who was a Popcorn Kernel (WORST JOB EVER IN Boy Scouting) and was kicked out of his position because he was gay. The prospective Eagle Scout in Southern California who was denied his eagle due to his “lack of reverence” relating to his homosexuality. And finally, the Pack leader quoted in the video above who was ousted because she’s a lesbian.
I have an opinion.
Boy Scouts of America was NOT founded on discrimination or exclusion. It was founded to help boys who were lost, fatherless, who had been traumatized by World War I. Yes, Boy Scouts was about values. But NOT “religious” values. They encourage participation in church, in a connection to God, but there’s nothing in the original Boy Scout ideals that mandate either specific religious beliefs OR sexuality.
It is religious groups that are bringing this issue to the forefront. I had a discussion with a retired Scout Leader who, despite our differing opinions, I respect tremendously. He has years of experience in Boy Scouting. He is dead set against allowing homosexual adults to participate in leadership. His explanation, when I asked him, was that he “didn’t want to have to explain to a young boy why two men were kissing.”
Let’s talk about this for a moment. We, as Scout Leaders, are not supposed to educate these boys in sexuality (or religion or politics). We are supposed to instill BOY SCOUT values. We are supposed to teach them to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.
Besides, what’s that conversation going to look like?
Kid: Scoutmaster, why was Jimmy’s Dad kissing that man.
Scoutmaster: That’s Jimmy’s parents. They love each other.
Kid: Oh. Can I have another marshmallow?
That’s exactly what that conversation will look like.
Unless the kid is over 10 years old and, guess what? By that time, they already know WAY more about it than you do.
So, there’s the argument that homosexuality is not “morally straight” (Part of the Scout Oath)
Well, neither is divorce. Neither is extra marital affairs. And for some religions, neither is masturbation. I challenge any group to find volunteers that can claim to be “morally straight”.
The definition of Moral is “of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical:”
Of course, “right” and “wrong” have different connotations for each individual. And that’s where my opinion comes in.
There are several churches (not just the Mormans) who are against inclusion of gay adult leaders. They are entitled to their opinion too. Regardless of whether I agree with them, they believe it’s “immoral” to have a homosexual relationship.
I’ve questioned my own beliefs about this. For myself, I don’t believe in discrimination. I want it stopped. In all walks of life. Yet, I strongly believe that Christians are entitled to their beliefs too. So what’s the answer? The BSA has proposed letting each troop/pack decide their own policy. This allows churches who believe homosexuality is a sin can keep their packs and troops the way they want them.
Yet, even as I write this, I wonder if that’s acceptable.
If this discussion was about African Americans-if the BSA was going to allow each troop and pack to decide whether they wanted to reject black Americans from participating, I would be pissed and demand ALL troops and packs accept African Americans. Perhaps because this is a sexuality issue it looks more like a choice.
Homosexuality is not a choice. Like color, a person is born with it, deals with it and accepts it…or not. In a world that condemns kids that are “different” already, shouldn’t Boy Scouts be in the front line of standing AGAINST bullying and intimidation based on “You’re different! You don’t think/believe/look like me.”
So, I though I think the idea of letting each pack and troop choose their own path, their own policy, I think it’s only a step in the right direction. A Scout’s sexuality or his parent’s sexuality should never be an issue.
My answer to the BSA is this: For myself, I choose to accept rather than reject people. I choose to be friendly and kind. I choose to take care of the log in my own eye rather than pointing out the splinter in someone else’s.
I choose to let God sort out everything else.