"On my honor; I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight."
-- The Boy Scout Oath
So, the BSA is deciding whether or not to allow local chapters to create their own non-discrimination policies. I say they're deciding because they've made no real announcement; just a smartly leaked item that sort of went viral. The BSA is also asking for your opinion by allowing comments on their Facebook page and taking calls at a specially set-up phone number (972-580-2330, if you are so inclined), so you can let them know how you feel about it.
But this is a complete sham. All it does is let the BSA look as though they're doing the right thing, while full-well knowing that chapters which function in Catholic, Mormon and Southern Baptist churches will do the dirty work for them. So what does this mean for LGBT scouts and scout leaders? Well, a few troops in major cities will certainly adopt non-discrimination policies, if (and that's a very big if) the BSA itself decides to allow them to do so. The rest us them are SOL, as they say.
Considering all the bad press the BSA has had over the last year regrading this issue, you'd think they might want to try doing something genuinely palliative, rather than a bogus and transparent attempt to make themselves look good without actually making any real changes.
Having been in Scouts as a kid, I found the outdoor skills I learned with them very useful when I became an avid camper in college (no, real camping in the woods with a tent and a sleeping bag you smart-asses!), but I remember after moving from Cub Scout to Webelo and Boy Scout a shift in the way the other members treated me. As I grew older and it became apparent that I was 'different,' it also became harder and harder to put up with the constant taunting and name calling. I quit when the Leader (I don't even remember his name) joined in.
Membership in the BSA has seen a steady decline in recent years, thanks in part to parents who don't want their sons taking part in a group that still thinks it is okay to marginalize and deny admission to an entire community based on sexual orientation. Until the BSA says: "We will unequivocally stop discriminating against LGBT people," I wouldn't allow my dog to join.
And just in case you don't know what it's like to go camping, here's John Pinette telling about the one time he went. Needless to say, I have a different opinion about it all: