A reader writes:
As a father of two Eagle Scouts, with a third son on his way, and as the token liberal in my Scout troop, I would like to temper the enthusiasm of the recent announcements by the BSA. The key is not to forget who the “local sponsoring organizations” are. The largest sponsor is the Mormon church, but if taken collectively, Catholic parishes are almost as large. All I can think is that this will generate noise but not much progress at ground level. However, while I am happy for the scouting professional who wrote in and others like him who can proudly continue their service, free of shame, I plan on continuing having to explain (to otherwise fairly bright people) the difference between homosexuals and pedophiles.
Thank you for staying on this story. It means a lot in our house. Dad was an Eagle Scout, and I as a Girl Scout have my Leadership Award. I couldn’t wait to get my son into Scouts to continue the family tradition, and so that he could learn lots of great skills and gain confidence. (He says just wearing the uniform makes him stand up straighter. He’s 8.) But I’m bisexual, and I’m raising my son with tolerance.
We’re lucky, our Cub Scout pack is very open. We not only accept everyone as-is, we leave religion at home too (we talk about the importance of faith, but leave your choice for how you follow that up to each Scout and their families). I love our pack and all the people in it. It breaks my heart that the Boy Scouts are linked to such intolerance – how do I square that with everything else I’m teaching my boy?
So I called the BSA phone line you posted and voiced my opinion. I should add that a live person answered, and asked me very quickly, “Are you for or against the motion?” without saying what the question was. I was a bit taken aback, which way was the right answer? So I said, “I would like you to lift the ban,” and she worked it out. Just a tip for those who call, wouldn’t want one of those Prop 8 situations where “for” is really “against” or something.
Another shifts focus:
There remains the ban on atheists in the Boy Scouts. While being gay is difficult, it is becoming more acceptable. Atheists/Doubters/Skeptics? Still in the closet for most of America.
(Photo: A Boy Scout Color Guard stands at attention during a rally for Senator Scott Brown, R-Mass., in Cumnock Hall at the University of Massachusetts Lowell campus in Lowell, Mass. By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)