I want to thank the people who helped me write this with grammar edits, suggestions on where to flesh this out, etc.
This is the post I have been actively trying not to write for a long time. I don’t want to be the spokesperson for this side of the issue, but nobody else has spoken up that I can find.
I am keeping my son in Cub/Boy Scouts despite the organization’s policy regarding homosexual troop and den leaders.
Scouting offers my son a lot of opportunities that he wouldn’t otherwise get. I am lousy with tools, not “outdoorsy” and I can’t tie knots effectively. This program gives him so many lessons that I wouldn’t be able to give him. The benefits of the scouting program are many. To deny him this because I don’t agree with this policy would be selling him short as well as future kids. By participating we can help affect change for future generations, to make it an even more positive place, to help it reach its full potential.
The Boy Scouts Of America is a great organization. It does a lot of good. This one policy of not allowing homosexual troop and den leaders is horribly misguided, but one policy shouldn’t be the lone factor in deciding to no participate. If it is, you are just as misguided.
You may think just because I’m Catholic that I agree with the policy. I don’t. I very much disagree with it. Actually, I have pushed back against the Roman Catholic Church’s efforts to prevent gay marriage from being legal. I have used my position within The Church to actually be a voice for equality, standing up against bigotry and homophobia.
There are things The Church has done I find deplorable. There are policies I am staunchly against. It does not stop me from being Catholic. It took me years, decades really, to come to terms with this. I fell away from The Church for a very long time because of these past events and current policies. I was focusing on the negative and not the positive aspects of the faith.
So much good has also come out of The Church. In Washington state, the biggest source of public aid next to the government is the Roman Catholic Church, which includes Catholic Community Services, St. Vincent DePaul, a whole host of homeless shelters and so much more. So much of the good the Catholic Church does barely gets a mention if recognized at all, overshadowed by its stance on gay marriage (and a few other topics which I don’t want to go into here). You never hear people talking about the good The Church does.
I choose to focus on the positive aspects of being Catholic, because if I focused on the negative, if I allowed that to dictate what I participated in, I would have a hard time living with myself. There are policies in America and Washington state I disagree with, but that doesn’t stop me from being a resident here.
Let me ask you, if you are so offended about homosexual equality, what state do you live in? Is gay marriage legal? If so, when did that occur? Did you move out when that didn’t pass the first time? Why not?
By staying in, by voting, by participating in the process − that is how the law is changed, one state at a time. Eventually, it will be a nationally recognized right, protected the same way interracial marriage was. in 1967 several states still had laws under the guise of religious freedom of expression and beliefs preventing mixed race unions carried over from the days of slavery. It wasn’t until the Supreme Court made a ruling further clarifying the first article of the 14th Amendment these rights became enforceable and this form of discrimination outlawed.
I find it hypocritical to denounce Boy Scouts of America and to not participate based solely on this issue. As an individual you aren’t affecting the Boy Scouts by not participating.
Recently, the Boy Scouts eased their policy nationwide with regards to gay participants but kept the policy against homosexual leaders. Do you know what factored into this decision? Feedback from the various adult leaders and participants. There was a survey sent out to leaders with regards to this issue. While this did not go all the way with regards to fairness it was a step in the right direction. And it happened by participation.
I understand the reasoning of the boycott, the idea behind it: “I don’t want to support an organization that doesn’t support equal rights.” Unfortunately, that isn’t going to change anything as you aren’t a “valid” voice since you’re not part in scouting. Boy Scouts doesn’t even notice you. It is the people within the organization, those being vocal from within that are being recognized. The only external forces that have any effect are large corporate ones. Disney’s recent move to denounce the Boy Scouts’ anti-gay policy by withdrawing support is an example. Even those don’t have as big of an impact as you might imagine.
Want to change perceptions about being a gay parent? Enroll your kid in scouting. While gay men are not allowed to be leaders, they can still participate. It is only this way that scouting corporate leadership will see homosexuals aren’t the sexual predators they are often made out to be.
Much of the fear of having a gay man in a leadership position with a den or troop is the potential for inappropriate relationships during overnight camping. This is a fear not based in reality, but plain old-fashioned bigotry and misunderstanding. It is unfortunate there are still large groups of people, organizations, and corporations, even governments, that have such a narrow point of view. That gay men (and women) are not given equal opportunity in all aspects of life is a shortcoming of us as a nation.
Since The United States of America nationally does not recognize same-sex marriage, will you be moving? Will you opt out? Don’t want to support an organization that doesn’t support equality? How do you pay taxes to a government that doesn’t support equality? As a country we are taking steps towards equality, but it is just that, steps. Some states (organizations) are more forward thinking than others.
Yes, it’s different, I know. The Boy Scouts is a private organization, not the government, but the sentiment is the same. Participation in scouting is voluntary. Being homosexual is not. By not participating, by letting the organization stay the way it is without being challenged from within to make those policy changes necessary, you are not helping to make a positive change, instead you are helping perpetuate the problem.