You asked me if I’d like to buy some popcorn “to support scouting,” and I found myself at a loss for words (a rare occurrence). I looked at your hopeful little face, and your mom’s, and then mumbled, “Oh… No. No thank you.” You were both very gracious about being turned down.
I wish I could have explained to you why I didn’t want to buy any. It wasn’t about you. And it wasn’t about the popcorn.
You probably don’t know this, little boy, but the money you raise by selling that popcorn doesn’t just pay for summer camp and archery lessons. It also supports an agenda that I absolutely cannot get behind, not even when they put a face as cute as yours on it.
I’m sure you’re a great kid. I bet that you’re loving and accepting, and would never exclude anyone based on something they couldn’t control. Maybe your mom is, too. And maybe even your troop leader. But did you know that the organization you’re representing won’t let four percent of adults lead you? Not even if they’re one of your friends’ mommies or daddies. Not even if they’re a former Eagle Scout. These people didn’t do anything wrong; they just don’t fit in line with your organizations “values.”
Have you seen my little boy around the neighborhood? He’s a couple of years younger than you. I could see you two being friends. Riding bikes together, skipping stones in the lake, pretending to be super heroes. I bet you’d get along great. But he’ll never be in your troop. He’s not allowed to join, because he doesn’t believe in God.
I want you to have a fun childhood, little boy. I want you to form strong friendships. I want you to learn to appreciate nature, and to serve your community. I’d gladly give you a few bucks towards a tent or a fishing rod. But I can’t buy your popcorn. Because while I support you, I do not support scouting.