Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Gay Scouts of America?

I don't think so.

Despite the uproar from the usual suspects over the decision to allow gay Scouts but not gay Scout leaders, the Boy Scouts will survive. In fact, the story has already faded from view.

In the end, though, the BSA may not be as large of an organization.

That's to be be expected. Participation in the Boy Scouts has been declining for years when a ban on gays was the law of the Scout land. The numbers for the BSA are down 20 percent since 1999.

That decline is a result of a number of things, but homosexuality isn't one of them.

American society is changing. We're in the midst of our third jobless recovery in 20 years.

The income of Americans is declining. Whatever expendable income we have left now is spent on cable TV, the internet and smartphones.

Plus, the Baby Boom echo has grown too old for Scouting.

Large urban areas are more diverse and those communities do not have a history with Scouting.

There is soccer, lacrosse, swimming and other activities, not to mention playing video games all night long.

Ultimately, there is less money to spend on things like Scouting.

Mormons now comprise a good chunk of Boy Scouts.

Interestingly, Mormons, unlike the Assemblies of God, aren't irate over the new rule allowing gay Scouts.

From the CNN website: "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ... said it will continue to work with the BSA. 'Sexual orientation has not previously been -- and is not now -- a disqualifying factor for boys who want to join Latter-day Saint Scout troops,' it said in a statement."

Some people decry the move towards tolerance in the Boy Scouts, with some threatening to form a new organization. Hate appears to be a greater unifying force than love in this country.

But, after all the sound and fury, life for the Boy Scouts will go on. They'll keep themselves "physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight."

That last phrase was conceived about 100 years ago before there were notions of "gay" or "straight."

As a former Scout, I thought morally "straight" meant not cheating, lying or stealing or tolerating those who do.

Most Scouts are of an age when sexuality is not fully formed beyond juvenile pranks.

More effeminate types in Boy Scouts usually are picked on, ignored or defended. Just like in the rest of society. It all depends on the group and the leadership.

Perhaps, the Boy Scouts could learn something from the Girl Scouts, as noted in this Time magazine story:

"In their statement of purpose called 'What we stand for,' the Girl Scouts explicitly reject discrimination of any kind and consider sexual orientation, 'a private matter for girls and their families to address.' Noting their affirmation of freedom of religion, a founding principle of American life, the Girl Scouts 'do not attempt to dictate the form or style of a member’s worship' and urge 'flexibility' in reciting the Girl Scout Promise. (They are encouraged to substitute the word 'God' for something that’s more in line with their own spiritual practice.) It’s an arresting contrast to the Boy Scouts of America, who in addition to excluding gays also refuse to hire non-believers. While the BSA employment application states unequivocally that atheists, agnostics and 'known or avowed homosexuals' are in all cases barred from becoming Scout leaders, convicted criminals can rest easy that their record 'is not an automatic bar to employment.'"

Yes, boys could learn something from girls, but they wouldn't want to admit it.

No comments:

Post a Comment