The Boy Scouts and Conservative Values

According to the New York Times, Governor Rick Perry has decided to get involved in the controversy over allowing gay members into the Boy Scouts:

Mr. Perry, the country’s longest-serving governor, is an Eagle Scout, and in 2008 he wrote the book “On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For.” It detailed his deep love for the organization and explained why it should continue to embrace traditional conservative values — including excluding openly gay members and leaders.

Conservative values?

Remember how I mentioned that the Boy Scouts had been forced to release documents showing that they covered up cases of sexual abuse within their ranks? Well, a judge in Minnesota has just forced them to release even more documents, which seems to indicate that the abuse and the coverup was ongoing until very recently:

A Minnesota judge on Tuesday ordered the handover of confidential national Boy Scout records on sexual abuse from 1999 to 2008 in a move attorneys said could add to the body of evidence showing that the organization failed to take adequate steps to protect young people from molesters in its ranks. [...]

That victim’s attorney, Jeff Anderson, said these files are from internal Boy Scouts of America records on adult volunteers suspected of molestation that are widely known as the “perversion files,” but they cover a later period than records made public last October by court order in Oregon, which covered from 1965 to 1985. He called the order a triumph over institutional secrecy.

Perry needs to look long and hard at what organizations he wants to trumpet as the examples of conservative values.

  • vasaroti

    I know a few sane people who live in TX for economic reasons, and I’m sad that they have to cringe every time this bozo opens his mouth.

    It might prove interesting if a poll were taken in other countries, asking people to state what they believed “American values” were. Are there shorter ways to say “speaking from proud ignorance” or ” purposely ignoring facts?”

    • JK

      One of the “American values” is freedom. Freedom to live ones life as one pleases. As long as one is not gay and a Christian at least.
      Certain conservatives seem to be some kind of “little taliban” in my opinion.

  • http://themikewrites.blogspot.com JohnMWhite

    Santurom’s right, he just doesn’t quite know it. He forgets that the rest of us have memories and access to information, so we know that conservative values really do mean unquestioning obedience which fetishises authority and power to the extent that those in charge must be protected at all costs and those who are lesser, particularly children, deserve no protection whatsoever. The core conservative value is the preservation and adoration of the hierarchy: might makes right. It’s why they invoke the Abrahamic god at every turn – he’s their hero.

    • kessy_athena

      I think that all of us value both the individual and the group, but there’s a broad spectrum in the relative priorities we place on them. Interestingly, there doesn’t seem to be a clear correlation between how we prioritize them and partisan alignment. For example, people who almost entirely prioritize the individual over the group include both far left anarchists and far right libertarians. In any case, I find it unsurprising that people who rise to positions of authority and power in group hierarchies tend to prioritize the group far more then the individual. I think that in situations like covering up sexual abuse, people are trying to protect the group, the organization, not the individual who committed the abuse, because to them it’s the group that’s important, not the individuals, either perpetrators or victims.

      • http://themikewrites.blogspot.com JohnMWhite

        I can see the logic in that. I would argue that often, though, those trying to protect the group or institution are doing so for the sake of maintaining their own power or piety, but I guess such a motivation can only be inferred, not easily shown.

        • vasaroti

          Oh, but it has been easily shown in many cases. Newt Gingrich would exhibit A.

  • Len Koz

    The BSA is a fine example of a conservative institution. Just like the Catholic Church. They both are against homosexuals, unless they are homosexual pedophiles.

  • http://adultonsetatheist.blogspot.com/ Adult Onset Atheist

    The perversion files are not the only somewhat recent “revelation” to define the conservative values of the Boy Scouts. In 2010 MI5 released files detailing the boy scouts founder Baden Powell’s overt fondness for the Hitler youth. http://adultonsetatheist.blogspot.com/2013/02/bs-of-america.html

  • Bart Mitchell

    Are there any other UF regulars that went through scouting? I earned my Eagle with palms, 26 merit badges and Vigil Order Of The Arrow.

    I have a funny story to tell. If your’e not familiar with scouting, the average Eagle scout has spent more hours than most masters students. Even after you earn every badge, rank and honor, you still don’t qualify for your Eagle until you are passed before a review board. They have the vote to award or deny you based on this interview. Just prior to mine, my best friend (who had already earned his) pulled me aside. Both of us were atheists. He told me the board would ask about my religion. He told me to talk about spirituality, the god of Spinoza, anything but don’t mention atheism and shy away from agnostic. Talk about the god of the universe just don’t admit that you have no faith.

    I lied. I spoke of the ‘creator’. I earned my Eagle. The irony has never left me, that an organization known for turning out some of the most clean cut and honest people turned me into a liar.

    • Custador

      I was a scout.

    • UrsaMinor

      I realized fairly early on that I wasn’t going to fit in (try being gay and atheist and see how comfortable you feel in the Boy Scouts), and I dropped out in my early teens. I could never have earned my Eagle because of who I am.

      I have very mixed feelings about the organization. Many of the values they espouse are laudable ones, but there’s so much religious/cultural indoctrination thrown in. In the 1960s, we were being trained from Day 1 in the Cub Scouts to conform to our future roles as Ideal American Males. Straight, Christian, head of household. White if possible, but those unfortunates who weren’t could at least emulate True Americans™, even if they could never become one. It didn’t surprise me that the non-white kids stayed away in droves.

      • Bart Mitchell

        I was incredibly lucky with my troop. First off, it’s Oregon, so much more liberal than the average US state. Second, we had a very secular group. A few of us called ourselves atheists or agnostics, and those who were believers were very liberal and accepted evolution, cosmology, etc. We had lively debates about god, homosexuality, public service, the nature of government, etc, and no one went home butt hurt. As I grew up, and realized how scouting was around the nation, I was really shocked.

  • https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/abolish-clauses-constitutions-seven-states-which-prohibit-atheists-holding-public-office/my6MFQb0 Drew

    The boy scouts is a private organization and if it wants to discriminate, then it shouldn’t be given any federal or state dollars.
    Also, this doesn’t have any hope of reaching 100,000 signatures, but I’m sharing it anyways, otherwise I’m not doing my part to promote fairness where there is none.
    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/abolish-clauses-constitutions-seven-states-which-prohibit-atheists-holding-public-office/my6MFQb0

    • http://adultonsetatheist.blogspot.com/ Adult Onset Atheist

      The BSA is not a private organization. It has a federal charter established by congress, and codified in the official United States Code (36 USC 309). If the BSA wishes to become a truly private organization they should petition congress to revoke their charter and strike 36 USC 309.

      http://adultonsetatheist.blogspot.com/2013/02/dub-step-forward.html

  • smrnda

    Preying on the vulnerable and exempting authority figures from accountability (so long as they are are authorities over private rather than government structures) seems to be the epitome of conservative virtue these days…

  • Hitchslapper

    Way back in 1955, when I was 11, I became a Boy Scout, in Brooklyn. Our troop was about learning how to be self-sufficient, Camping, and serviving in all conditions. We went on over-night hiking trips every month of the year, in the summer and the winter….. in the heat and in the snow. Our troop focused very little on the ghod aspect of life. In 1957 I went to the Boy Scout Jamboree in Valley Forge Pennsylvania, and Boy Scout camp for several summers…… Then I grew up, got some edumacation, and became an Atheist, before the age of 30. Realizing that there is no ghod has not relieved me of any of the beneficial effects all of my Boy Scout Merit Badges gave me. Yet Today, at 68, I have a friend who is a Scout Master, who has asked me to rejoin the scouts to help him out with young boy scouts of today……. until I mentioned to him that I was an Atheist. Sadly, That put an end to the conversation.


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