The Boy Scouts of America; what a mess. After decades of being virulently anti-gay, they tease us with the idea that they might … they’re thinking about … they maybe will … one day … someday … think that gay Scouts are okay, but they don’t wanna make that decision just yet because, well, it’s a decision about treating all people with respect and it deserves months and months of thought, and speculation and panels and discussion.
But then, as of last week, the Boy Scouts of America [BSA] has proposed lifting their ban on gay scouts although they would like to maintain their ban on gay scout leaders. See, you can be young and gay and be a scout, but you can’t be a gay adult and be a scout leader.
That’s gotta be welcome news to any gay scout who has worked his way up from joining the BSA to becoming an Eagle Scout to maybe leading other scouts and then, oh, um, yeah, no, you can’t do that, you can’t be a leader, because you’re gay.
The biggest organization in scouts, the anti-gay, Prop H8 funding Mormon Church, says they would like to “study” the proposal, while A.J. Smith, president of the Association of Baptists for Scouting—a double whammy of anti-gay if you will, Baptists and Scouts—said, "The general feeling is that this is a bad move. This is about a concerted effort to bring down a cultural icon. We must brace ourselves for the long haul on this one."
How about looking at it like this: there have been gay scouts, and gay scout leaders, since the BSA began in 1910, but the idea of letting gay scouts and scout leaders simply be open about their sexual orientation is just plain wrong? How? How?
I wonder how the Baptists would feel if the hate was on the other foot? If some gay group decided to disallow any members who were Baptists because of the ‘effort to bring down the cultural icon” that is the Baptists Church?
And then, as if to annoy me further, I heard that some gay rights groups have said that, while the ban on gay adults is unacceptable, they like the change for the gay youth. How is that acceptable? To say, we welcome a young gay man into the scouts, but once he becomes a gay male adult suddenly it’s wrong and he has to leave?
The fact is that more and more people, and more and more members f the BSA, want to end the discrimination; they want the Boy Scouts to be current, to be open and accepting and tolerant. The world has changed, the world is changing, the Boy Scouts of America needs to follow suit, or be left behind.