Not impressed with the Boy Scouts of America.

It’s been rolling around the internet that the Boy Scouts of America are ending their ban on homosexuals participating in the scouts.  While that’s true, I’m not that impressed.

Boy Scouts of America is considering ending a longstanding national ban on gay youth and adult members and leaving policies on sexual orientation to its local organizations, a spokesman said on Monday.

Lifting the ban would mark a dramatic reversal for the 103-year-old organization, which only last summer reaffirmed its policy amid heavy criticism from gay rights groups and some parents of scouts.

The organization’s national executive board is expected to discuss lifting the ban on gay members at its regularly scheduled board meeting next week in Texas.

Ok, that’s a step.  In terms of equality, you’re edging closer to the 21st century (which, itself, is starting to pick up steam even further into progressive land).  But remember, you should be trying to play catch up, not just trying to keep pace.

Here’s what bugs me.

“The policy change under discussion would allow the religious, civic or educational organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting to determine how to address this issue,” spokesman Deron Smith said in an email to Reuters.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church have the largest youth membership in the Boy Scouts among faith-based organizations.

The organization, which had more than 2.6 million youth members and more than 1 million adult members at the end of 2012, “would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members, or parents,” Smith said.

Look, you clearly have no problem with dictating a position.  That’s exactly what you’ve been doing the last 103 years by saying no gays would be allowed.  This means that if local chapters of scouts choose to discriminate, you’re ok with it.  And, since the scouts are contaminate with Christianity, you can bet that the love of Jesus will manifest itself in exactly the type of discrimination that the scouts have supported this entire time.

It’s time to dictate a position, and that position needs to be that gays are welcome, and that there is no reason to keep them out, not “we support the local chapters if they choose to discriminate.”  Just as you dictated a position to parents that if their kid was gay, they’d have to stay at home to learn the value of equality, you need to make another decree to parents: that if they want their child to learn that normal Americans are second class citizens because of who they love, they’ll need to learn those values at home.  As it stands, the national office of the scouts is saying it’s ok if discrimination happens at the local level, but now they can wash their hands of it because it’s not them dictating it.  Presumably, they can then also wash their hands of all the criticism they’ve been receiving for it for the last few years.

Well, you can’t wash your hands of it.  Turning your head to injustice isn’t good enough.  If you’re allowing discrimination to happen with your consent, you’re not looking out for LGBT kids, you’re looking out for your image – and doing a crappy job of it at that.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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