Dear BSA: Fix this. NOW.

Dear BSA: Fix this. NOW. May 22, 2018

The Daily Mail reports:  “Condoms must now be made available to ‘all participants’ at the Boy Scouts global gathering as girls are permitted to join the organization

The Boy Scouts will ensure that condoms will be made ‘readily and easily accessible’ at its global gathering this summer, it has been revealed.

Rules now require that the host organization of the World Scout Jamboree provide condoms at a ‘number of locations’ for staff and participants during the event.

Leaders of the participating organizations must also communicate the policy to their ‘participants, unit leaders, and contingent staff’, the mandate requires.

The 24th World Scout Jamboree will be held in the mountains of West Virginia from July 21 to August 1, 2019.

Now, this is only coincidentally a result of the fact that girls will be able to become Scouts in the BSA scouting organization starting next spring; this has more to do with the fact that Scouting, globally, is generally a co-ed activity, and these requirements come from the World Organization of the Scout Movement, as reported by  The WOSM may indeed by a wholly secular organization, and its leadership may have as its belief that sex among teens is a perfectly ordinary part of life to be accommodated for as a routine part of organizing such an event, and they may believe as one of its principles that Scouting has nothing to do with any particular sort of morals but is merely about the outdoors and leadership skills.

But the BSA promises its families something different.  The BSA promises its families strict attention to Youth Protection, with requirements for the separation of the sexes when activities (such as Venturing) are co-ed.  The BSA promised its families, with the elimination of anti-homosexuality membership requirements, that to be “morally straight” meant that there would be no sexual activity of any kind on outings, so that parents had nothing to fear.

Now, it may be that the BSA leadership will say, “it can’t be helped; we have to follow WOSM rules” but this is a cowardly excuse, which fundamentally demonstrates that the leadership doesn’t really care about families’ concerns, and perceives of them simply as obstacles that get in the way of becoming a “normal” secular organization.  If the BSA were serious, they’d push back, and require participating organizations that wish to provide condoms to their youth, to do so separately, without the involvement of the BSA as a host.

Snopes reports that this policy is not new, and quotes a statement from a prior jamboree encouraging “safe sex.”  Hence, they say, any articles on the topic are nothing but clickbait.  But this is the first time since 1967 that a World Jamboree has been hosted by the BSA which, again, is an organization which unlike its counterparts in other countries, promises its families that they can trust it to preserve moral values.

The bottom line is that if the BSA doesn’t want to send even more families running for the exits, they need to respond to this NOW.  They need to ensure that, if some other Scouting organizations wish to distribute condoms to their youth, the BSA is wholly removed from this activity, and that it will ensure that its Youth Protection policies are followed just as carefully as ever, and they need to communicate this to all parents as soon as possible.

Mike Surbaugh, are you listening?


Image:  By David Fine (This image is from the FEMA Photo Library.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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