Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Boys Scouts are a PRIVATE organization, led by dicks.

Let us talk about the Boy Scouts of America. They wave around the American flag. They have a America in their full name. They often operate out of schools.

But, they are a private organization. A Title 36 corporation, like the American Legion and Girl Scouts of the USA, they partnered with a number of organization, including the Mormon Church, Catholic Church, and United Methodist Church. They take donations, dues, and sponsorship to fund their nonprofit operations.

As a private organization they are able to operate outside of the expectations placed on public organization. So while they offer the idea of teaching responsibility  honor, and self-reliance, they also present a strong pro-religion (Christian) and clearly anti gay worldview to kids. And that is their right.

And I don't want to tar all Boy Scouts, Scout Masters, and BSA authorities as embracing these negative aspects. They don't universally. Many scouts don't agree. Many scout masters do not go after atheist and gay kids in their troops. And some BSA board members want to change things. But they are all part of an organization that is openly and unapologetically hostile to atheists and gays. Hard to get passed that.

But some kids see value in this group. See that it looks good on transcripts. See that it can help them in their lives. See that it is a way to connect with others in their community. And, I can respect those needs.

Still, your dedication is irrelevant to the BSA. See Ryan Andresen. He is a scout going back to when he was 6 years old. And he has been dedicated to the scouts for years. And this lead to the recent success he had rising to the highest levels of being a Boy Scout. He is on the cusp of earning the Eagle Award, which is apparently the final awarded rank for a scout. It is a great honor, immensely hard to achieve. But he worked all these years to get here, and he made it.

But there is something wrong at the Jamboree. Ryan is gay (I have also heard he may be an atheist, or nonbeliever.). And, as I noted above, the BSA is not friendly or tolerant of gays. They are in particular not too friendly when they rise through their ranks and achieve the highest accolades they can offer. But, the scouts demand honor and truthfulness of scouts. So, he admitted to being gay. So he was honest. And for that he has been spurned by and organization he has loyally followed and supported for more than a decade. That is how far out the BSA will go for its scouts. It is the final lesson the BSA has to share with its boys and the communities they inhabit.

Maybe if Ryan had lied it would have made the BSA feel better, and made it easier to just let it slide. But Ryan was a kid who had faced YEARS of bullying and abuse at school and when he was with his fellow scouts. So, as a project to complete his Eagle Award, he created a tolerance wall, to discuss the bullying he and other kids face. He faced years of abuse, stayed with the scouts as they looked the other way, and tried to make something from it to help other kids. And everyone in the scouts seems to have turned on him. I don't know, so many dubious lessons that the BSA has to share with us.

This is what the BSA does, this is what it promotes. Intolerance. It can wrap it in a kerchief, put a uniform on it, and have it salute, but it is still an antiquated bigoted philosophy hiding amongst traditions. They have a right to be and exist, but the BSA deserves no respect because of what they chose to continue to be. I see little difference between them and a whites only country club.

Here is a piece ABC News ran on Ryan Andresen:


No comments: