Boy Scouts of America: Change your policies or face dwindling support

Joshua Caldwell  Journall Staff

I was an active member in the Scouting Community for almost fifteen years. I am an Eagle Scout, yet this proclamation no longer fills me with the pride as it used to. Truth be told, it leaves a very different taste in my mouth.

As I am sure some of you may be aware, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is reconsidering their policy of banning homosexuals. Well, let me just say this: it’s about damn time.

This redaction of their ban is being proposed during their biannual meeting in February. The general idea is that the BSA will no longer ban homosexual membership nationally, but leave it up to local troops and their governing entities (similar to their initial allowance of African-Americans based on local laws, allowing the establishment of segregated troops.) Although I applaud their step in the right direction, nothing has been passed and even if this does, it could very well be a meaningless gesture, being that many governing entities are tied to religious institutes.

Let me first dispel the argument of free enterprise, and the fact that the BSA is a private organization which some propose gives them the right to keep whatever values they hold relevant – in this case, discrimination. This argument at its core is in fact a fallacy, for any organization should operate for the good of the public and the good of its members: this ban is a direct hindrance to that.

To be fair, let us take a look at some other “private” clubs that fall into the same realm here: KKK, Neo-Nazis, etc. If this is the type of company the BSA wants to keep, then all the power to them. Now, I will concede that this may be an extreme comparison and I know what you are saying: those groups have killed and done monstrous things, how can you compare? As far as I am concerned, discrimination shouldn’t be practiced nor acceptable in any degree. All humans should be equal and when the BSA bans an entire sect of humans, they ostracize them in the public eye.

This is not a new issue for BSA, as over the last couple of years: kids have been refused the rank of Eagle Scout after coming out, lifelong members and leaders have been expelled, and kids have been denied admission into this program that is supposed to help them. This, among other events, has prompted hundreds of Eagles to send back their awards and ranks: I among them.

Outside of the moral implications of doing the right thing, as a club to survive, equality is a necessary step. The BSA is a wonderful organization at its roots and it teaches many respectable qualities to our youths. Consequently, all of that is undone by fostering this attitude of hate and discrimination. Any good public relations person will tell you two things: don’t lie to the public and if the public disagrees with your policies, then it’s time to change them. This last election truly shows where much of the public opinion is shifting; for the first time in history same-sex marriage was legalized by a popular vote.

So I leave you with this final thought: “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.” (The Scout Oath.) I think it’s time for the Boy Scouts of America to start practicing those last two; it is time to wake up, because the morally straight path is equality.

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