Apartheid in the Boy Scouts Movement is not the way to evolve
By Cathy Kristofferson, April 21, 2013
I keep seeing articles and posts about how great it is that the Boy Scouts are now, once again, considering allowing gay scouts (an idea that was proposed and went down in flames not that long ago) so I have to respond. Even well known publications, I’m looking at you Guardian, are failing to mention that the Boy Scouts are NOT considering lifting the ban on gay leaders as part of their proposed changes.
Surely The Boy Scouts should not be commended for their half-baked attempt at change, and what can be clearly seen as a mere caving in to bad publicity and the loss of funding from major corporations is not worthy of congratulations.
Last count this was the list of major corporate donors who have withdrawn their funding: Intel, Emerson, Verizon, 3M, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Pfizer, Valero, UPS, U.S. Bank, Eli Lilly and Co., GE, Monsanto, Medtronic, PNC, Nationwide, Abbott, General Mills, Alcoa, Caterpillar, Illinois Tool Works, Allstate and Dow Chemical. (And how strange to be posting something positive about Monsanto!)
By not allowing gay leaders they are in fact creating an internal apartheid, and continuing their bigotry. They are perpetuating the lie and stereotype that all gay men are pedophiles. If that were not the case then why continue the ban on leaders? Effectively nothing has changed and the milieu of discrimination continues.
As it is now proposed all leaders such as lesbian leader, Jennifer Tyrrell, continue to be excluded.
And what of the messages they are sending the youth, both gay and straight, who are involved? That gays cannot be trusted around youth, that gays are not equally qualified to be leaders, that gay scouts can never go on to be scout leaders themselves? Sounds like an endorsement to bully!
However there is some good news in all of this – even this restrictive approach of ‘letting in some of the gays, albeit for limited purposes’ does seem to be instilling some fear in the fervently anti-gay community.
Über gay hater Scott Lively last night re-posted his “How to Save the Boy Scouts: The First Amendment Supremacy Clause” article in response to the news reports. The premise of that clause, of course, is that religious bigotry trumps all and thus the Boy Scouts can be saved from the dirge of homosexuality, by excluding their corporate donors, and hence not having to live up to their so-called Sexual Orientation Regulations, or what we like to call their anti-discrimination policies.
The Boy Scouts have done nothing yet worthy of a new merit badge. So don’t allow them ‘to pull the wool over your eyes.’ Do not bother with back slaps or congratulations. The Boy Scouts are pandering and they have yet to evolve, all the while endorsing bigotry. Instead I suggest you ramp up the calls and encouragement for change. Call them out on their hypocrisy, continued bigotry and discrimination, because until all gay youth and adults who wish to participate with the Boy Scouts of America are allowed to openly and honestly be who they are, the injustice prevails.