Yesterday I opined that the Boy Scouts of America should allow gays into the organization. I suggested that the organization was being cowardly by leaving it up to individual chapters to do the right thing, but a friend disagreed.
Wrote my friend:
At a local level, the scouts are heavily supported by churches and religious groups. An all-out and immediate change would result in a mass exodus of sponsoring organizations, which would lead many troops packs to shut down. By taking this approach, the scouts are looking at evolution vs. revolution, which is probably the best we can expect from a 100-year old organization and which would allow new sponsoring groups to step up and take the places of any group that does not want to continue its association with the Scouts. While not a perfect solution, I think it’s actually the most workable in the short term.
Shortly after he sent that message, the Boy Scouts of America’s executive board voted to put off its decision, sending out this curious statement:
After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the Scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy. To that end, the executive board directed its committees to further engage representatives of Scouting’s membership and listen to their perspectives and concerns. This will assist the officers’ work on a resolution on membership standards. The approximately 1,400 voting members of the national council will take action on the resolution at the national meeting in May 2013.
It’s curious because Boy Scouts has already spent years kicking this issue around. My friend responded to the announcement with this follow-up email to me: “Now I agree with your cowardly comment.”
This isn’t rocket science. It’s about recognizing that people come in all stripes, and that we all deserve the opportunity to make a positive difference. The Scouts is a fabulous resource for helping people reach their full potential so they can contribute something positive to society. Keeping certain people out because they’re gay, something that’s more a matter of mental and physical development than personal choice, is wrong.
The Boy Scouts are assuming, just as the military did, that a person’s sexual orientation will prevent them from focusing on their duties. That’s horse shit.
The national organization had a golden opportunity to set an important example and allow in people who could really contribute to society with Scout training. It hasn’t wasted the opportunity yet, but yesterday’s delay was embarrassing and shameful.