So You Want to Lambast the Boy Scouts?

So you’re upset that the Boy Scouts of America are being bigots and are still banning gay members?  I guess I’m going to be the only one to say this?

What did you expect?  Seriously, everyone is getting so upset over this, sending back medals, demanding something be done.  But why?  Why now?  They’ve had this same position for years.  I wonder about the sense of people sometimes; everyone who is getting upset over this needs to step back a second.  We’re talking about a religious organization.  Their top sponsors are some of the largest Christian denominations in the country and most of those organizations are not at all tolerant of homosexuality.  So why is everyone so surprised?  Suddenly you think that because you’ve grown more tolerant as a person that your church has as well?

That is the thing about religious organizations.  The church is not concerned with making you or anyone else more comfortable, happy, or appeased.  They don’t care if their intolerance bothers you.  They aren’t made to dance to your drum, you are supposed to dance to theirs.  And that is just the way it is.  That might trouble you–it certainly troubles me.  That is why I don’t belong to the Boy Scouts, I don’t belong to a church.  Because frankly I am not a bigot and I don’t accept that brand of morality.   But it isn’t your place or my place to tell someone else how to live their lives.

There is a odor of hypocrisy about it all when we demand that religious people keep their hands off our secular laws, our secular education–we do not have the right then to demand they adhere to our moral viewpoints in their own institutions.  They don’t have to send their kids to public school, we don’t have to send ours to the Boy Scouts.

This is what is called ‘living in a free society’–we have to tolerate other viewpoints which directly conflict with ours sometimes, we have to put up with bigots, and they have to put up with us.  We want to legalize gay marriage in this country–I’m for that, and my main argument is ‘if you don’t approve of gay marriage, your church does not have to offer services to gays and lesbians.’  And they don’t have to do that (unless they are taking money from the government–and in that case, that is why we have lawyers).  So the same can be said about the Boy Scouts.

You can point out the irony that, even with gays banned and with all of those heterosexual Christian men, thousands of sex abuse cases have been reported.  You can intimate that bigotry in youth will breed bigotry in adulthood.  But you can’t do anything about this.

As a private organization they have a right to be whatever they want to be.  Clearly they are not hurting for funding, they get most of their youth members from religious communities, so they’re not going to suddenly abandon their sponsor’s religious convictions at the risk of losing their money.  If you don’t like it, tough.  There are much better secular organizations you can send your children to that do not discriminate.  So stop whining about whether or not the Boy Scouts are fitting into your mold of decency.  They don’t have to be decent.  So just don’t associate with them if that bothers you.


6 Responses

  1. Reblogged this on Zwinglius Redivivus and commented:
    Nicely said.

  2. I wish I hadn’t seen this article. I thought the boy scouts became extinct years ago. That they’re still not is a dreadful disappointment.

  3. When my son was in Cub Scouts, we got space in the local public school to hold our meetings. I agree that religious organizations have the right to exclude anyone whose cooties they wish to avoid, but my impression is that the Boy Scouts want to have it both ways, i.e., they want the public access and acceptance of a secular civic organization and they want to discriminate like a religious organization when it suits their purposes. I say “Man up and pick whichever f**king side you are want to be on.”

  4. I would add that nothing was ever said about sexual preference when my son was in Boy Scouts in the late 1980s and early 1990s, nor was anything given to me or said to me that explicitly or implicitly state that boys who were gay were not allowed, and for a couple of years I was an assistant scout master. That doesn’t mean the policy didn’t exist then, but it was never communicated to the local level.

    Had I known that this was their policy at the time, I would not have participated as an assistant scout leader, and neither I or my wife would have allowed our son to become a boy scout.

    I am aware of several local troops in our area that use space in the local schools to meet, and I’ve seen plenty of troops sponsored by non-religious organizations.

    Finally, while I agree that what religious organizations do in their own institutions should not be subject to secular laws as long as a) those institutions are providing religious, as opposed to secular, services, and b) are not endangering minors or persons outside their faith, the Boy Scouts are NOT a religious organization, but secular organization.

  5. The scouts are not a secular organization. Religion is a large part of every main aspect of the Scouts. That is why they do not permit atheists or agnostics.

  6. Large parts of the scouts *are* a secular organisation. I was a cub for years, and I can count the times religion was mentioned on the fingers of one foot. So I think there’s a certain element of culture shock here, where people are horrified to realise what they’ve been tacitly supporting all these years.

    Of course, none of this is really anyone else’s business… except, as Vinny points out, they trade in on that apparent secularity to get access to government resources that wouldn’t be available to e.g. a church. My scout hut was on public land for example. (Although I’m in the UK so the church-state divide is a bit weaker.)

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