Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Scouting for God
What I do have is boys; two of them, and I would never let them join the Boy Scouts. Well, unless one of them begged and made me feel bad, in which case I'd probably cave as usual, but that hasn't happened yet so I'm sticking to my guns for now.
You might think my reason for this is their exclusion of gay scouts and troop leaders. And you'd be right. Somewhat. I would find it repulsive to support an organization that insists on furthering the myth that all gay men are child molesters, and all gay boys are just "confused" and being influenced by the gay "predators" who are trying to "recruit" them.
But what I would find equally repulsive would be sending my boys into the care of an organization that tells them they are simply not capable of being good, moral citizens without worshipping a god. In addition to their ban on gay members, the BSA also has a ban on atheist members. You can be a Boy Scout so long as you acknowledge a god, regardless of who that god is. But if you don't decide to give the glory to god, it is assumed that you are incapable of being a "good citizen."
My husband and I are trying hard to raise two responsible, compassionate, morally upright, "good" kids, who know that the reason for doing good things is the good they send out into the world; not the fear of spending eternity in hell or the expectation of a reward in heaven. We teach them that you do the right thing because it's the right thing to do; not because there is an invisible scorekeeper in the sky keeping a tally of their rights and wrongs.
I know that the BSA takes a lot of flack over the gay issue. And I get why. It's a big issue. But to me, unless they are willing to include atheist/secular kids in their ranks, I don't see how my boys would fit in. Which is sad, because my two adventurous boys would otherwise probably gain a lot of great experience from the program.
But until the scouts realize that any boy; gay, straight, or anywhere in between, can be a great citizen, I remain much more reluctant to purchase Boy Scout popcorn tubs than I am to purchase delicious Girl Scout cookies.