A Boy Scout came to our door recently peddling popcorn. My husband, who answered the door, has fond memories of scouting and is always eager to support whatever fund raising efforts the local kids are cooking up. But before he made his purchase, he asked my permission in our secret married people language: “Hon, do you have any cash?” He knows I am strongly against the Boy Scouts of America.
I've known for a long time about their anti-gay policy. It’s been a source of contention between us, as we have a son who could conceivably want to join when he’s older. I was almost relieved when I learned that the BSA’s discrimination also extends to atheists, so my son wouldn't be allowed to join, anyway.
My husband’s views on the BSA are in step with much of America. He disagrees with their exclusionary policies, but thinks that on the whole, they’re a good organization that can enrich a boy’s life. Since the BSA’s reaffirmation of their anti-gay stance back in July, many troops have announcedthat they do not intend to follow the policy, and that seems to be good enough for many parents. Not for me. You’re either with them, or against them. Would you let your son join if the national policy excluded a particular race, but your local chapter assured you they wouldn't follow it?
Last week, the BSA finally admitted that it has been keeping files on known and suspected pedophiles within its organization for over 100 years, often without reporting them to authorities. What is it going to take for people to finally say they've had enough?
It’s unfortunate that my son won’t be able to join his friends on camping trips and… whatever else the Boy Scouts do. But the BSA made that decision, not me. As for the rest of you, if your son is straight and God-fearing, and therefore eligible to join, I urge you to think long and hard about it first. If everyone keeps turning a blind eye to the BSA’s bigotry, they’re not going to change. Keep your son out of Boy Scouts, and tell him why. Tell your friends why. Until every boy is accepted.