Just about a week ago, Boy Scouts suffered a tremendous loss, four Scout leaders died in a tragic accident while on Jamboree in Virginia. Three boys from my son’s troop (Troop 19) were down at Jambo, and I don’t know where they were when this tragedy occurred, nor how it affected them. I supposed that we’ll discuss this as a Troop when they get back, and we resume our meetings in September.
That, however isn’t what I wanted to talk about hare (especially as I already mentioned it here). What I wanted to say here is that I am a Boy Scout. Yeah, I know that kicking the Boy Scouts has become something of a national sport lately, especially as we have come under fire as we — as an organization — not only require our boys to swear an oath to God (and, before you get yer knickers in a twist, we flat-out don’t care which of the nine billion names of the Deity to which you ally yourself), but we also refuse to allow girls in (girls can become members of our older, Explorer units), and we have a policy of not allowing either openly gay Scout leaders or youths to become a part of our organization.
How very un-PC you might say, and perhaps it is, only — and I say this three times — I don’t really care, and I’ll be happy to tell you why.
But first, I want you to go here and read this article about what happened in Canada when the Boy Scouts of that country allowed gays, atheists, bisexuals, and others who don’t subscribe to our code of ethics into Scouting. The article was written by a conservative columnist and Eagle Scout, named Hans Zeiger. In his article he writes the following…
Thinking they could become more inclusive, the Boy Scouts of Canada Board of Governors decided in November 1998 to admit females, atheists, agnostics, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transsexuals into troops. Despite that established troops were not even allowed to remain all-male groups, Scouts Canada approved the establishment of the world’s first all-homosexual troop in 1999…And so, in its attempt to include everybody and everything, Scouts Canada is effectively dead. (emphasis, mine)
Not to put too fine a point on this occurrence, he continues by stating…
Open to all, there is a certain liability that accompanies the mixture of sexes and sexual preferences at Scout Camp. It is no coincidence that Scouts Canada’s costs for liability insurance against sexual molestation claims increased dramatically by 2002 when, lacking adequate finances, Scouts Canada canceled its sex abuse insurance, and with it many “high risk” activities. Without the insurance, a single pedophile could potentially annihilate Scouts Canada forever.
Mores the pity, especially when, as, Zeiger points out:
Scouting teaches self-government. Without self-government, there is no constitutional government. Our constitution rests on the character of the people, not the other way around. What Scouting does for America is so important that to lose it would jeopardize our liberty.
One of the stated goals of Scouting is to build moral fiber, something that is hard to do if you have no moral code to which you are required to subscribe. As Scouts, we stand up in front of each other, raise our right hands to God, and clearly state:
“On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country, and to obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”
So, yea, it’s hard to uphold a cohesive moral value code unless the guy standing next to you is willing to stand up and subscribe to the same moral value code to which you subscribe.
Look, I’m as open-minded as the next guy, but Scouting is essentially a franchise operation, we meet in (both public and private) schools, youth centers, and religious houses of worship. You tell me which of those organizations is going hire an openly gay teacher, gym teacher, or youth director who — as part of their job description — is allowed to go into the locker/shower area, or on overnight trips with the students (and yea, while there are male gym coaches of female sports I’m willing to bet all the money in my pocket against all the money in your pocket that he’s flat-out not allowed to enter their locker room). I as the male parent of a Girl Scout am (along with all other male parents) expressly forbidden to go on Girl Scout overnights. I understand the reasons, and while I don’t like it, I accept it as immutable law.
Yet, in both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts we not only allow female leaders, but allow them to attend overnighters, yet we are called non-inclusive. (Needless to say, adults are not only forbidden to share a tent with any scout who isn’t their child, but are not allowed to be the only adult in the company of the children — my son’s Scoutmaster will tutor the boys in merit badges at his house, but there have to be at least two boys in each session otherwise he won’t hold the class).
I’m all for tolerance and I understand that just because someone is gay doesn’t mean that they are a pedophile. (Hey, not every hetero adult male wants to bang 12-year-old girls, so why do we automatically assume that every gay guy wants to get it on with 12-year-old boys?) As Zeiger points out his article, all it is going to take is a single, million dollar law suit from some parent who learns that his boy is gay and determines that “Well, he wasn’t gay until he went camping with that gay scoutmaster” and then that’s the ball game, folks, thanks for coming to Shea Stadium.
I’m a Boy Scout, and I want to protect the Scouts from falling apart at the center. So, yeah, I’m willing to support a ruling to which I don’t necessarily subscribe, but am willing to adhere to for the greater good of the organization. If that bothers you, well, it bothers me too, but these are the principals to which I, as a member of the organization, am willing to support.