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I thought I would take the opportunity to lay out a few of my beliefs… - Speak Friend and Enter
Grammar and Lord of the Rings
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I thought I would take the opportunity to lay out a few of my beliefs on issues that are of some continued debate these days...not to inspire any kind of argument, or really even intelligent discussion - unless a really good point is raised - but rather to let you, the reader, know where I'm coming from on other things.

Yesterday I was in the car with my best friend. We were both scouts in a troop back in Elk Grove, and his dad was our Scoutmaster. Me and Eddie both made Eagle Scout. So this issue is of some particular importance to me. It involves that troop, I don't know where it was based, that would not allow a gay Scoutmaster to continue participating. He sued, and it eventually went before the Supreme Court last year I think The high court decided that the BSA (Boy Scouts of America) could exclude whomever they wished based on the fact that they were a private organization that did not receive government funding.

Now, my thoughts. I completely agree with the Court's decision. I believe it was the right thing to do - to me it is no different than trying to get your 5 year old into some little club the other 5 year olds have started. There should never be a law requiring a group like that to accept anyone. Yes, we may not like discrimination, and in some cases outlawing it is a good idea, but sometimes we just have to put up with it.

With that in mind, I also firmly believe that the BSA National Council, based in Texas, should have reconsidered its own policies on the subject, and updated them to reflect today's society. I simply see no reason for them to continue excluding gay boys from Scouts based solely on their chosen sexual orientation. The only thing it does is deprive them of a really good youth experience; all it does for the other Scouts is teach them to exclude those different from them if they want to based on something unimportant. Yes, unimportant. It does not make a damn bit of difference in Scouting. The right wing would have you believe that it would lead to sexual encounters on campouts, and advances towards Scouts by leaders....but that is so an extreme that it's barely worth mentioning. Anyone who actually has particpated in a Scout troop knows what its about.

The reason I went with this one first is because it's me and Eddie started talking about last night. He told me that the current council in our old troop was planning to write a letter to the Council that could have gotten our troop disbanded. His mom intervened. Apparently it was spearheaded by a woman whose son had already gotten his Eagle. This annoyed me - that's great that you don't agree with the Scouts as a group, but depriving the rest of the boys of the experience doesn't make you a good person. Protest all you want, but don't do something stupid that affects a lot of other people. Anyway, Eddie basically takes the other side on this one. The best rationale he could give me was "This is the way it's always been" - a "tradition" type of argument (sound familiar CA voters? Prop 22?). I believe it is worth noting that Eddie is a devout Xtian.

I have heard of other Eagle Scouts returning their badges after the BSA made this decision on their policies. I contemplated doing the same, because sometimes I don't want to be associated with an openly homophobic organization. This isn't even the first time I have wondered if I should hold onto my rank. Once I made the decision that I don't believe in a God, I wondered whether I should turn in my badge. The reason being is that the 12th Scout Law is "Reverent" and part of the deal of being an Eagle Scout is that you continue to live by the Scout Law in your daily life. That will never be able to happen for me. But at the same time, I think it would be unfair to return something that I spent years working for because I have grown to disagree with one of the founding beliefs of Scouts. It's a moral dilemma.

Other issues to come.
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Comments
kujkaroth From: kujkaroth Date: July 24th, 2001 05:49 am (UTC) (Link)

geez...

I can kinda see where your friend is coming from. I'm a scout myself (as well as bisexual and an atheist), and while my ideals are dissimilar to those of the Scouts, I still manage to enjoy myself in it despite my beliefs and orientation. And you're quite right. I wouldn't dream of hitting on anyone at a scout meeting, and none of the leaders would either. Homosexuality and pedophilia are two different things.
1 pity screw or Do me