Normally I write technical stuff on this blog, but I feel a need to talk about this publicly.
As you may be aware, the Boy Scouts have long had a policy disallowing openly gay den leaders or youth. One high profile case of a mother being removed from boy scout leadership is discussed here on a petition for her reinstatement. The scouts have been reviewing this policy and today reaffirmed their existing policy.
I was a cub scout when I was a kid but more importantly to me I have been a cub scout den leader and have one (soon two) boys involved in scouting. I believe that Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts are phenomenal programs. I have been extremely impressed with the range of activities, the outdoor learning, character education, our area’s facilities and programs, etc.
However, I believe the policy excluding gay or lesbian participants is wrong. We have chosen to participate in scouting regardless of this position because we feel the value has been high and we believe our voice will be stronger for change inside scouts than outside scouts.
The BSA slogan is “Prepared. For Life.” I do not think that excluding people based on sexual orientation helps anyone be prepared for anything other than exclusion or intolerance. I expect my children to live a life that involves cooperating with people of many religions, races, sexual orientations, etc. I want to teach them to interact in ways to elicit the best from each other, not in ways that segment and diminish.
Unfortunately based on the latest policy reaffirmation, I must reconsider my family’s involvement in scouting. I will discuss it with my boys and see what they think about it. The recent policy reaffirmation says “[parents] value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family.” It’s a shame that the reason I am addressing it is not in the interest of scouting values like compassion, cooperation, or respect, but rather because of the *intolerance* displayed by the BSA.