April 21, 2013

Boy Scouts: Going from wrong to still just as wrong

Me when I used
to wear the uniform
of a Scout leader.
On Friday an email from Diversity, Inc hit my inbox with an exciting subject line. Because of my display settings, the ending was cut off, so I saw this:

BREAKING NEWS: Boy Scouts to End Gay Ban for...

Even though I was already a couple minutes late to a lunch meeting, in excitement I opened the email, only to find the rest of the sentence:

... Members, Not Leaders

Essentially, gay boys can participate in Boy Scouts, but gay and lesbian adults cannot. (The Board of BSA still needs to vote on this new change.) This makes no sense. None whatsoever. Go ahead, I dare you to try to make a rational argument that convinces me this makes sense from any perspective. Any perspective at all.

"A step in the right direction?" I guess. But this paragraph in the above linked article gives me pause:
In making its announcement, Boy Scouts spokesperson Deron Smith said the decision would be that “no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference.” The choice of language alone indicates the cultural disconnect of the Boy Scouts: The term “preference” is anathema to the LGBT community, since it indicates that being LGBT is a choice, which it is not. Even mainstream media organizations like the Associated Press and the New York Times no longer use the term “preference” in relation to orientation.
I wonder how "equal" a gay boy's membership will be in many troops. Also, it's unclear whether individual troops will have the ability to keep a boy out, simply shunting him over to a different troop.

But yes, a step in the right direction. At least BSA is no longer saying that being gay is inherently morally wrong.

Oh, wait, yes, they are.

Still hiking, camping,
and all that as a dad but
not as an ASM.
By keeping gay and lesbian adults from participating as scout leaders, BSA is perpetuating their paranoid bigotry. The message is that a gay adult is somehow a danger to the boys in the troop. How could a gay father or a lesbian mother be a danger to boys in the troop? Being gay does not make someone a pedophile. Gay people don't try to recruit children into being gay. Being gay does not mean you have a harder time with camping, tying knots, building fires, or any other activity I've been trained to do as an Assistant Scoutmaster.

This compromise makes no logical sense. I don't see how the religious conservatives will be okay with it. And I don't see how anti-discrimination groups will be okay with it. I certainly am not.

From a funding standpoint, BSA must have cleared this with the Mormon and Catholic churches. They can't afford to lose that revenue without gaining corporate donations, and I can't imagine any corporation that currently does not give to Boy Scouts changing their policy based on this.

BSA is still discriminating. They're still wrong.

And I'm still not wearing the uniform.

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