DISCLAIMER: THIS IS MY OPINION AND NOT THE OPINION OF THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA, TROOP 664, OR THE FINE LEADERS THAT I CALL MY FRIENDS.
Having said all of that I am going to briefly revisit this whole “Gay Scout” issue.
This last week it was announced that the BSA will be putting the issue on the table for a vote. You can read all about it elsewhere, I am not going to go into the details here.
The bottom line is that the vote will come down to this; The BSA will change it’s membership policy to include “openly gay” Scouts but it would continue to restrict the membership of “openly gay” adult leaders.
OK…. here is my opinion on the matter, and in light of recent announcements from a few of the Churches that seem to be at the fore front of the issue, I should say that my opinion has not changed.
First, I really don’t think that the issue will make a difference. I do not care personally what a person does sexually. Now many will argue that this is a sexual issue, I tend to disagree. How many “openly gay” Scouts do you know? I have a feeling on some Scouts and in most if not all cases when it comes to our teen-aged boys… they don’t really care either. I guess the better question is how many gay boys are beating down the doors to get in to the Boy Scouts of America? I have yet to meet one. Most if not all gay boys will not be looking for the activity that the Scouts offer. This is not a predatory issue. They, gays, are not looking at the BSA as an opportunity to meet and date. I mean.. that’s so ridiculous.
Anyway… Morality is the next issue. So I suppose we need to address what that means. Now, I know that I will piss some folks off with this, but I think it needs to be said. Church does not make you moral. I know openly gay members of the Catholic Church, the Baptist Church, and the LDS Church. They may not make it to public, but you don’t have to be a sociologist to know that they are gay and they tend not to hide it among friends. They hide it because they are made to feel like lepers in their respective communities that preach love, peace, and compassion.
If we look at moral thinking then where does love enter the conversation?
When we look into the definition of morality it leaves the reader wondering where does morality come from? Defined morality looks like this:
1. a : a moral discourse, statement, or lesson. b : a literary or other imaginative work teaching a moral lesson.
2. a : a doctrine or system of moral conduct. b. plural : particular moral principles or rules of conduct
3. conformity to ideals of right human conduct
4. moral conduct : virtue
So we over time have decided what the social norms are and how we practice moral thinking and teaching. The first documented use of the term “Morality” was not till the 14th century. What ever did we do before then?
Since morality is decided by man’s ideals and virtues, some say they received from God, again, in the Scouting context, which God is that? It is common that all virtue and religious teaching universally comes down to “Do unto others…”
So why then do we treat people like outcasts, deviants, and unworthy of membership in our club?
There are those that think homosexuality is deviant behavior.. and it may be.. who am I to judge? It’s not my cup of tea, but then again, I don’t like rap music either and certainly not the life style it promotes. Not a big fan of smoking or excessive drinking either. Not a fan of those that abuse their kids or beat their wives… yet that deviant behavior seems to be just fine.
I work with openly gay folks. They are good people. I have had discussions with them about Scouting and they all think it is a great organization… BUT…
Yeah, they always have the “but” comment. They to do not understand that a group that claims to live by a certain code and a set of values would exclude people based on their sexual orientation. Further, they consider the argument not one of sexual acts but of who they love. And that gets me wondering where the morality comes in and who decides it.
A Scout is starts the Scout law.. it is followed by the set of values that we live by. Which one of the 12 points would not allow a gay boy in? Right away people go to “Clean” and “Reverent”. Defined (again) the Scout law suggests that a Scout is Clean in thought, word, and deed. But I still can’t find where sexual orientation would be an issue, especially when it comes to a boy. Straight boys don’t even have sex when they are 13 for the most part… right?
Reverent? The Boy Scouts of America does not define who God is nor does the organization suggest how a Scout must worship. The Boy Scout handbook says “A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.” The BSA does not extend its moral teaching beyond that of the Scout Oath and Law and refers the Scout to his faith group and family for furthering religious teaching and moral thinking.
So that is where it comes from and that is where it should stay. Once we put our uniforms on and raise the Scout sign we should be inclusive and respectful. We should be friendly and helpful. We should be courteous and kind. We should be loyal and cheerful.
All of this is found in Scouting and why not let openly gay Scouts in?
Now the LDS church has come out for this, the Catholic Church is sitting on the fence and other faith groups are afraid to take a stand that allows for love and friendship to trump bed room activity. Even though we are talking about young men here and not pedophiles or social deviants.
So happens after the vote. Gay boys will either be allowed in or not. If they are in… who leaves? If they are out.. who drops support?
It seems to me that what ever happens the Scouts will loose. So are we willing to deal with the results and how? My guess is that at the unit level nothing is going to change. If the new policy is that gay Scouts will be allowed, I wonder how many families leave my troop? I don’t care about funding or policy… but what about those folks that are unwilling to change? I figure that if the families that are currently in my troop are happy now.. why would that change? But I know it will and so I need to be willing to deal with it.
Will this be the end of Scouting as we know it? I hope not. Are there still Scouters out there that will be willing to stay the course, even though the course will have changed?
I don’t know the answers.. I am curious to see how this all plays out.
Let me know what you think. Leave a comment.
Have a Great Scouting Day!