As has been well-reported, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) are reviewing their policy this week on discriminating against gay scouts and troop leaders. Supposedly, they are considering letting each indivudal troop make their own policy.
I am dubious of the whole enterprise. With Mormon and Catholic money at the center of BSA funding, I doubt they would allow such ‘immorality’ in the organization they fund. What would national Boy Scout events look like with religious conservative troops enacting such a ban and tolerant, diverse troops having gay scouts and leaders? Still, any step forward is a step. Even ‘separate, but equal’ is better than ‘nothing at all.’
Will this be like ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ – a stepping stone to openness? Or will this be like ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ a panacea that was used to keep stall equality for EIGHTEEN years? So I began to think more about it…
- What happens to a gay scout in one troop who moves to another city where they are not open?
- Are various badges and Eagle Scout awards local or national? Will gay scouts get their Eagle from the National office? Will gay troop leaders be eligible for awards and recognition?
- Will the Boy Scouts survive as an open, tolerant organization? Noted bigot Rick Santorum says “no.”
- As someone who declared I will not work with the BSA as long as it is a haven for intolerance, should I work with a tolerant troop within that organization? I am not working with individual tolerant scouts as a matter of protest of the whole. Should this change anything?
- What about the atheists who don’t have as good as press as gays to fight intolerance?
We’ve seen in history that partial equality is movement, but it is not a goal or a victory. Whatever comes from these discussions, at the least the issue is public and undergoing public scrutiny. But until the BSA is fully non-discriminatory, I will not be satisfied. This isn’t a question of what they have the right to do. This is a statement of what they ought to be doing.
A nice post on why this matters can be found on the Daily Kos.
My prediction is either no change or some waffling, useless change that sounds good and still denies gay teenagers their due as scouts and human beings.
What are you questions, concerns, and hopes at this moment in time?
POST-SCRIPT (February 6): In news that shocks no one anywhere on the planet, the BSA postponed their vote until May. Justice delayed remains justice denied.