I came across two stories tonight, one dealing with a number of gay Eagle Scouts that were returning their badges to the Boy Scouts of America, as a protest against the organization’s discriminatory policy concerning gays. The other story was about the BSA’s “perversion files,” an apparent secret collection of reports documenting cases of alleged sexual abuse by sexual predators, along with the names of the accused, the defendants and others.
It’s funny, but not funny in a Ha-Ha way, that the two stories happened to follow one another. First, the issue was the discriminatory policy against allowing openly gay men and boys from being a part of an organization that has done so much good for young men over the years. The importance of the Eagle Scout badge cannot be dismissed, because not only is it a singular honor to achieve it, but a lot of work goes into earning it.
My brother earned his badge, and I remember how proud all the family was. and the hard work that went into getting it. The thing that bothers me is that the badge has nothing to do with the young man’s sexual orientation. It is only a reflection of the dedication he has to the tenets of the scouting oath, and his giving of himself to his community and country.
The biggest issue standing in the way of changing the BSA’s stand on gays being allowed to become scouts seems to be the fact that churches are usually sponsors of the scout troops. The Mormon and Catholic church have sponsorship of most of the scout troops in the U.S. with the United Methodist’s coming in third. On top of that information, the president is the “unofficial” head of the organization. We already know where President Obama stands on gays, so he is wisely staying out of the fray. Mitt Romney is also opposed to the BSA’s stand.
The other story I read was about sexual predators within the BSA. We are not talking about homosexuals, but men that sexually abuse the youth they are supposed to be mentoring. Just like the Catholic Church, the BSA has kept the perpetrators out of the publics eye, and instead, in many cases just took the leadership of the troop away from them. Many of men prosecuted and jailed ended up getting back into scouting after serving their prison terms, and got caught again.
It just looks to me like I would be a heck of a lot more concerned about a boy being sexually abused by a trusted scout leader, way more than having a boy who was openly gay as a friend and fellow scout to my son. What do you think?