Yesterday I had the pleasure of defending the Boy Scouts of America, well it was not to hard to do as the BSA’s program pretty much speaks for itself, but none the less I found myself standing in the check out line of a local store on my way to Round table. I was proudly wearing my uniform patiently waiting as the clerk once again called for a price check.
A lady behind me commented on the new uniform and how it was not a “Flashy” as the red tabbed and numbered shirt. She asked if it was a down play to not look as “Scouty” (what ever that means).
I explained that I really was not part of the decision making process, but I thought the intent was to be more “Outdoorsy” To blend in, not in a camouflage way, but more subdued, like the camping gear we use (See Leave no trace).
She said that her was a Cub Scout, but they had to remove him from the program because of the issues that the BSA would not flex on.
Fully knowing were this was going, and not trying to get into it, I smiled and nodded and said that was too bad.
She poked again asking why the BSA was so inflexible, forcing young boys to believe in God. I replied that the BSA does not force anyone to do anything. The BSA just believes that for a young man to make ethical decisions throughout his lifetime that there should be a foundation of faith, any faith. It is not restricted to God, it could be Alla or Buddha, or a Tree. But an understanding that a Higher power has gifted us these great things on Earth so that we can be good stewards of it, that we live by the Golden rule, that we should be Reverent is an important part of a Scouts foundation.
As I could see that it was not sinking in, I again turned and waited as another price check was called for.
She then poked and asked… well what about Gays? I asked her, what about them? The BSA does not want Gay’s in the program she said. I tried to explain to her that the Boy Scouts of America believes that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the obligations in the Scout Oath and Law to be morally straight and clean in thought, word, and deed. Scouting’s position with respect to homosexual conduct accords with the moral positions of many millions of Americans and with religious denominations to which a majority of Americans belong. Because of these views, the Boy Scouts of America believes that a known homosexual is not an appropriate role model of the Scout Oath and Law for boys.
She asked if I thought that was discrimination, and I answered, it sure is, and I think it is an appropriate way to discriminate as I want my own Sons to have role models that are consistent with our faith base and family values.
Then she said…yeah well.. I did not want my kid around guns. They are harmful and the Boy Scouts should not be gloryfing guns and killing.
I asked were she thought the BSA did that? There is not Hunting Merit badge, we only shoot at targets (Paper targets), and safety is paramount on the BSA’s ranges. I told her that in all my time, I have never had to pry on to a range, but have had to kick them off so others can get a shot.
The BSA teaches respect and safety of firearms. That it is ok to participate in Shooting sports, and that by teaching and encouraging proper fire arm safety, we actually reduce the risk of those guns turning into something harmful.
She said, well I just don’t like guns…why can’t the Boy Scouts just be flexible?
At that point I had finally reached the checkout and was feeling pretty good about the way the BSA looked. A few other ears were now in the conversation and so I parted ways saying, the Boy Scouts of America is a private organization that welcomes everyone that wants to participate in ITS program, the program that encourages values and character. A program that wants its Scouts to be safe and provided with positive role models. An organization that wants a young man to grow up with an understanding of servant leadership and that he can see that model of servant leadership in our God.
The BSA is flexible… it’s may not be your cup of tea if you can’t live the values set out in the program. There are other opportunities for your son, the YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, Police Activities Leagues etc. Maybe the Boy Scouts just was not for you.
She stood and stared for a moment, and simply said, I guess not.
I told her to have a Great evening and we parted ways. My oldest son, who was with me, asked what her problem was? I told him that she just did not get it. He smiled and we left.
Scouting is for everyone. Everyone that believes in the Oath and Law and that the world would be better if there were more Scouts.
Have a Great Scouting Day!