I’ve never really railed against the Boy Scouts of America on my blog. Though for the record I can do this for hours, so I will try my best to keep this under ten thousand words. I’ll get to my general rant in a moment. We are going to start with a story of what just happened to a friend of mine.
My friend was a Scout Master twenty-four hours ago. Today he is not one. According to my friend there was a family in his Cub Scout Pack who sold over one thousand dollars worth of popcorn during the annual popcorn sale the scouts do. This happened back in November. This family delivered the popcorn, but never delivered the money back to the scouts.
He has chased this money for months. The local leadership placated him by saying they were looking into it. After months of nothing being done he went to the Boy Scout Council and they had heard nothing. They did get a lawyer involved, but the police were never contacted. (I guess you can get a merit badge for grand theft in the scouts also.)
From what his girlfriend stated on her blog, today he attended a meeting with the local leadership today and they advised him to be a good Christian and turn the other cheek. It then came out that he was an atheist. I’m sure it didn’t help his cause that he wore a shirt with an obviously censored profanity on it. Granted there were no kids there, but I’ll go on the record that this was poor judgement on his part. So because of the drive to set things right, that he is not Christian, and the shirt (just one more weak excuse); he was excused from his duties as Scout Master.
I’m sure this was all politics and the fact that my friend was rocking the boat. Organizations like the Boy Scouts hate people that rock the boat. They are allowed to excuse people for any reason. So they take that option and remove what they perceive as a problem. In the end instead of doing what is right and dealing with the upheaval, they preferred to make excuses based on the Boy Scout party line.
This goes along with my general problem with scouts. They are a discriminatory organization. Back in 2000 they won a landmark judgement in the supreme court:
A private organization is allowed, under certain criteria, to exclude a person from membership through their First Amendment right to freedom of association in spite of state antidiscrimination laws.
In part this is a great ruling, it means that private organization do not have to bow to outside pressure. It also unfortunately allows what should be an all-inclusive organization the right to kick out children (and adults) who are either atheist or homosexual. In theory it allows them to kick someone out for almost any reason.
My real problem is not that they are allowed to discriminate. My real issue is that receive government sponsorship and favors. No organization the receives local, state, or federal money should be allowed to have discriminatory practices. This goes down to local government buildings that scouts have their meetings in (firehouses, library, schools). State granted land for Boy Scouts camp. Federal grants for land for one dollar a year for their national convention also need to be abolished.
The Girl Scouts by comparison are a great organization. Contrary to popular belief they are not affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America. When the Boy Scouts were kicking out homosexuals, the Girl Scouts announced anti-discriminatory practices. While the Boy Scouts would never let a girl join, the Girl Scouts will allow transgendered children join their organization. Heck the Girl Scouts are even being attacked by anti-gay groups.
I even told my ex-Scout Master friend last Saturday that I would prefer my son joined the Girl Scouts over the Boy Scouts. He asked if I would let him join the Girl Scouts. I replied with a great bit “Yes!” The irony that this happened just a few days later.
Xie and I have always had an issue with the Boy Scouts being discriminatory and a Christian organization. For the record I identify myself as Christian, but I also believe in a strong separation of Church and State. Like I said before I don’t government money should be going towards a religious or a discriminatory organization. This lead to the Girl Scout question from my friend.
Seriously, my only problem with the Girl Scouts is they don’t have an option for non-transgendered boys. If only they would create something for all of us who were disenfranchised with the Boy Scouts. Even when I was young I quickly didn’t enjoy the scouts. I only lasted one year in Cub Scouts / Webelos. I would prefer my son to join an organization that taught him tolerance and acceptance of his fellow-man. Something that didn’t force him to be religious to be a member. Somewhere that he could learn to become his own man instead of some monolithic ideal that was decided upon over a hundred years ago.
Wouldn’t that be ideal? I would also get cookies. I would get lots and lots of cookies. Seriously if my son was selling I could eat Thin Mints like they were going out of style. I don’t want to get stuck with the popcorn. The cookies are where it is at.
So Girl Scouts how about it? Would you please start an organization for men? I already will commit to more than the five boxes of cookies a year I currently buy. I might even commit to a couple hundred boxes the first year. All young children need to learn at least some of the lessons that you are preaching.
As a last disclaimer, one of my best friends is an Eagle Scout. He reflects none of the issues I have with the scouts. In fact I consider him one of the finest people I know.