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Today is a very big day for the Boy Scouts of America. Its national leadership is going to decide whether to allow gay participation in the organization. I say, it’s about time.
Honestly, I can’t believe that we are still talking about this in 2013.
The issue I and my husband have (and he grew up in scouting) is that the things they espouse, their core beliefs, seem in contrast to keeping in place, a ban like this one.
The Scouting Oath states:
“On my honor I will do my best To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”
I suspect it’s the “morally straight” part of that oath that people get hung up on. A number of troops around the country do get some funding and support from religious organizations, many of which are decidedly against homosexuality; women like Angela Russell (quoted below in this piece) say she and her boys will high tail it out of the scouts if they decide to go against their own code of being “morally straight.”
I’m not sure if she (and others) are reading that verbatim, which is what’s making them apoplectic about gays in the scouts.
Then there’s the Scouting Law, which states that members be:
Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, Reverent.
Kind. Courteous. Friendly. Those are the ones that stick out to me and they stand in stark contrast to what many see scout leadership of today to be; instead they view it to be intolerant and out of touch. Perhaps that’s why scouting numbers are on the decline.
The icky, sticky truth is the Boy Scouts have been trying to straddle the cultural divide for years on which both sides are deeply entrenched; they can’t do that anymore.
I would argue that this is an issue where the scouts have a real opportunity to show their mettle. This country needs strong leaders. We need organizations that raise people of character, who are courteous, kind, loyal and loving.
This is your time, Boy Scouts of America. Show us how to make good leaders by being good ones.
What do you think? Should the Boy Scouts allow gays in their organization? Why or why not?
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