Last year everyone was feeling all jolly and, dare I say it, gay because the Boy Scouts of America [BSA] deigned to allow gay Scouts remain in the program while saying that gay Scout leaders would not be acceptable and would be removed from Scouting.
Well, last month the BSA notified Chief Seattle Council Troop 98 Scoutmaster Geoffrey McGrath [above left] that his registration would be revoked because he is an openly gay man; McGrath vowed to fight this ridiculousness and found support in the Rainier Beach United Methodist Church, which charters Troop 98. Church leaders said they stood behind McGrath and would allow him to continue his duties as Scoutmaster.
And the BSA can’t have that, you know, gay men around children because fill in the blank.
And so, as a result of its continued support for McGrath, last week the Boy Scouts of America stripped the church of its charter via letter from Steven McGown, the BSA General Council:
"As you are aware, the policy of the Boy Scouts of America does not allow open or avowed homosexuals to serve as adult volunteer leaders
Nevertheless, Rainier Beach United Methodist Church has stated that it will not remove [McGrath] as a leader and will continue to allow him to serve as an adult leader in violation of the charter agreement and the policies of the Boy Scouts of America.
As a result of this refusal to comply with the policies, guidelines, rules, and regulations of the Boy Scouts of America, Rainer Beach United Methodist Church is hereby advised that it is no longer an authorized chartered organization and may no longer use the Scouting program or any of its registered marks or brands.”
That’s the Boy Scouts; punishing a church, not to mention all the scouts in that particular troop, because they seek fairness and equality.
To its credit, the Rainier Beach United Methodist Church and its pastor, Reverend Monica Corsaro say the church is weighing legal options as a result of the BSA's decision:
"As a Reconciling Congregation, it's important to us that we are open to all people. It's a part of our values that the spirit of inclusion is also reflected in the Boy Scout Troop we charter.
The congregation stands with Geoff, because his work with this Troop reflects the spirit and the values of Rainier Beach United Methodist Church.
In light of the BSA's decision to infringe on our religious liberties, sending us such troubling communication on Good Friday, we have acquired legal council to assess our options."
And now, in addition to the church and his troop, thirty-nine Washington state legislators have signed a letter in support of Rainier Beach United Methodist Church, saying they are "deeply troubled" as "discrimination against gay people is unacceptable."
In this day and age, still the discrimination goes on, and yet what I find especially odd is that you can be a young gay boy and join the Scouts, and you can rise through the ranks as a young gay man, all the way to Eagle Scout, but if you wish to, as a grown gay man, continue to work with the Scouts to instill the values they taught you into the next generation, the Boy Scouts deem you unworthy.
I think it’s well past time to deem the BSA unworthy.