And on the heals of this great debate, and to be honest… like a reader suggested… I’m ready to stop talking about this and get back to backpacking and other more meaningful subjects…
But on the heals of the debate, yesterday Jason Collins, a professional basketball player in the NBA “Came out” in an interview with Sports Illustrated. This morning on ESPN that is the head line news and Jason is being hailed as a hero. Now, I am not going to rehash my position on homosexuals.. well maybe I should just clarify my belief.
First. People are people and deserve respect no matter who they sleep with. Second. I am not homophobic and believe in live and let live… In short.. I don’t care. Third. I am not gay, it is not my thing, but the “Gay agenda” has little or no impact on me and my life, so… live and let live. And finally, I think when it comes to religion and religious institutions, they should practice what they preach. If it is a sin.. hate the sin.. not the sinner.
Ok.. having said all of that for the last time… I am going to move on. The BSA is going to make a change in the policy. I think they are to far into this to turn back and I think in light of Jason Collins interview, the public will not allow any other decision other than to change the policy to include openly gay Scouts.
So what do we do now? Well, let me tell you what this Scoutmaster is going to do. NOTHING. I will comply with the policy and treat every Scout just like I treat them today. I will keep teaching and coaching. I will train leaders and I will go camping each month with them. Nothing will change in Troop 664. Now, some families may leave due to the fundamental idea that the organization has let them down and changed a policy that they feel contradicts their values. I hear that, but at the end of the day… it is the collective values and training at the unit level that matter. The Oath and Law stand firm. I believe in the Oath and Law and know that they assist in making good citizens and men of character. Gay, Straight, or whatever would be in between.
How I deal with the conversations that happen with those families that will certainly be unhappy with the BSA’s decision is going to be critical in maintaining a positive Scouting experience.
I had a talk the other day with a parent. They shared with me that they did not want to see the policy change. I shared with her that really nothing will change locally and asked if she and her family had up to this point a positive Scouting experience. The answer was yes. so I had to ask if she thought any of that experience would change. She said not locally, but she was disappointed in how the Boy Scouts could let down the majority of its members. I agreed. Like it or not, the BSA is a pretty conservative organization that has took pride in staying the course.
Again, I don’t have a problem with opening up the doors, but that is where the change stops. When a boy joins our Troop we ask him to promise to live the Scout Oath and Law. We expect that they live a certain way in which the values found in the Oath and Law dictate their daily walk. We don’t allow abuse, hazing, or disrespect. And so when a gay boy comes in, he will be expected to do the same. I will not make concessions in the Law and Oath.
I really hope that no one leaves Scouting because of this. But I know it’s going to happen. For that I am sad. I am not leaving. At the core Scouting will still be the best program for our youth and the program will still be selling point that keeps Scouts looking for adventure and developing into great men.
This is the last word on this subject for me.
Now, I need to weigh some gear and get packed for Wood Badge.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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