My Letter to the Boy Scouts


The Boy Scouts of America are soliciting public opinion on their policy of discriminating against gay people. Ideally they shouldn’t have to do this — they should just be able to figure out that this is wrong — but the reality is that we do often calibrate our moral compasses, at least partly, based on what other people think. (Which isn’t an entirely bad thing: I’ve certainly had friends talk me down from moral ledges before.)

As it happen, the Boy Scouts discriminate against atheists as well as gay people. They’re not soliciting moral feedback on that topic… but I think it’s a good idea to give it to them anyway. If we start putting it on their radar now, maybe in a couple of decades they’ll get the clue, the way they’re just now beginning to maybe catch up with the rest of the world on gay rights.

You can chime in by emailing nationalsupportcenter@scouting.org, or by calling 972-580-2330. I just sent them this email, and thought some of you might like to see it.

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I understand that the Boy Scouts are taking a poll to find out public opinion on the Boy Scouts current policy of discriminating against gay people. I am writing to express my fervent opposition to this policy — as well as to the Boy Scouts policy of discriminating against atheists. Discrimination does not make people trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, or brave. It is not a value the Boy Scouts should be teaching. Thank you.

-Greta Christina

Comments

  1. brianwestley says

    I’ve read on the scouter.com forum that the BSA is no longer using the phone number for opinions.

  2. slc1 says

    I have a flash for the muck da mucks that run the Boy Scouts. As we sit here today, there are gay boys, gay scout leaders and atheists in both categories. They’re just in the closet.

  3. Kristen White says

    Thanks for the information! Here’s mine—

    Greetings,

    I’m sure you’re being flooded with opinions, but I hope you will take a moment to read mine.

    I am in favor of opening full BSA participation to gay boys and scout leaders. I say that not as a scout, but as a mother of a young son. He is three, and there are many positive things he could gain from being a scout: resourcefulness, generosity, patriotism, positive role models, and valuable skills.

    However, that will never happen as long as gay members are banned. My husband and I will not put our son in an environment of discrimination. We are teaching him to respect and honor people based on their actions, not their sexual orientations.

    Many people make the argument that there is a safety issue involved. Abuse and molestation occur everywhere, but how many child molesters, including scoutmasters and priests, have claimed to be straight? I would not hesitate to entrust my son’s care to a scoutmaster with strong moral character who was straightforward about his homosexuality.

    BSA leadership, you are on the wrong side of history. In twenty years, discrimination based on sexuality will be as widely reviled as racial discrimination is today. You can dig in your heels, but it is equality, not bigotry, that will win the day in our great country.

    Kristen White

  4. cara says

    Do the Boy Scouts have a policy on trans boys being scouts or trans adults leading troops? I’m just assuming that they’re banned, too, but I’ve never actually heard it discussed.

    Anyway, this is the most pathetic, minimalistic step they could have taken towards being a better organization, and they aren’t even talking about lifting the ban on atheists. I think it’s a cynical maneuver to staunch the bleeding, keep more companies and other organizations from refusing to support them because of their bigotry, and to deprive defectors of the numbers to form rival scouting groups for boys. Personally, I’d rather see the Boy Scouts replaced rather than dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, because even if the latter happens, I still won’t trust them.

  5. says

    Only the American Boy Scout Association does that.

    I took the oath without a reference to “God” as I was not Christian. In fact the original oath is ironically Church of England and was written by Baden Powell who wrote “God and King” (yeah so it’s been altered once already!)

    The current oaths as written by Powell include a humanist exclusion of god. Many EU countries (I know for a fact that France and the Czech scouts have humanist oaths) don’t and the main scouts association actually regularly have harrumphs at the adoption of such humanist oaths but the humanist respond with “Service to aid your fellow man is the loftiest goal of all and is at the core of scouting. The scouts teach practical skills rather than theological and thus humanism is entirely within their appreciation of service to a higher cause.”

    I actually found out that nearly 70% of troops are sponsored by the Southern Baptists. And their actual reason was as a conversion tactic… I feel that the BSA needs to be excluded from the International Scouting Association.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/amilliongods/2013/01/31/be-prepared/

  6. stonyground says

    A while ago we had a local scout troop raising funds by bag-packing at the supermarket. At the time I was aware of some of their discriminatory policies so I packed my own bags and declined to give them a donation. Only a short time later, a story broke about an atheist kid being refused entry to the scouts. Had I known about that story at the time I would have confronted the adult scouts that were present with the reason that my atheist cash was staying in my atheist pocket. It should be noted that, due to the internet, I am aware that the scouts discriminate against people like me.

    As an old English person I tend to think of something entirely different whenever someone mentions BSA. In the 1950s and 1960s, BSA was to motorcycle manufacturing what Honda was in the 1970s.

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