Boy, Scouts have created a mess they can't turn back from
The Boy Scouts of America’s recent decision to allow “openly” gay Scouts into the program is a perfect example of trying to appease everyone and solving nothing.
Those of the more “politically correct” persuasion hail it as a victory of progressive thinking, yet don’t think the policy change went far enough. Those of the more “conservative” agenda see it as a disaster, and many plan to leave the more than 100-year-old organization.
“Fine,” say the “enlightened.”
“What about the whole ‘duty to God’ principle,” ask the “conservative” side.
What have we solved? Nothing. What have we created? A mess.
Recently, the BSA voted to allow openly gay Scouts into the program. They kept the ban, however, on openly gay adult leaders. And the ban, or at least denial, of those who don’t believe in some form of “higher being” still exists as well.
Let’s see how this plays out in reality. A gay Scout can complete all the requirements, model himself on the Scout Oath and Scout Law and obtain the rank of Eagle Scout. Such an achievement is rare - only about 5 percent reach that level.
Now once that gay Scout turns 18, he is out forever. He may not be an adult leader. Those who favor the recent BSA policy change say this ban also should be overturned. It makes no sense that a gay boy can go camp in the woods with other boys but is forbidden once he reaches a certain age. Those who opposed the ban in the first place are adamant their boy will never go backpacking with a gay adult.
What we are all waiting for is the first “episode,” which will be covered by the national media ad nauseam. Namely, when the first gay Scout makes a move on another Scout during some outing. And to be fair, or when the first gay Scout gets beaten up for being gay. It will happen. It will be unfortunate. And each side will pull the old “I told you so.”
The BSA is a private organization and it has the right to make its own rules for membership. And that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2000 decision in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, which ruled exactly that.
Private organizations have the right to determine what their organization represents and what are the requirements for joining. Changing those rules in an effort to be all inclusive is impossible. No organization on the planet can be the be all and end all for everyone.
For example, the BSA requires the belief in a Supreme Being, which obviously varies. The organization admits Protestants, Muslims, Hindus, Catholics, Mormons and a host of other religious faiths. Yet atheists can be, and have been, banned.
So now you can be in scouting and be gay, but only until you are 18, when you can’t. And you have to believe in some higher being - whatever that is - or you’re out. And we haven’t even addressed the whole issue when the first transgender person tries to get in. As we said, it’s just a bigger mess than ever.
There is no national mandate that all boys must join the Boy Scouts. If you want to join, there are certain rules. If you don’t like them, don’t join. In an effort to appease all, the BSA has alienated more and opened itself up to even more watering down of its standards in the future.