This makes me terribly sad:
“After a confidential two-year review, the Boy Scouts of America has emphatically reaffirmed its policy of excluding gays,” The Associated Press reports.
According to the wire service, Scouts spokesman Deron Smith said the 11-member committee decided that is “absolutely the best policy” for the organization.
The statement goes on to say this:
“The BSA is a voluntary, private organization that sets policies that are best for the organization. The BSA welcomes all who share its beliefs but does not criticize or condemn those who wish to follow a different path.”
I think it’s important to keep that last point in mind. The BSA is a voluntary, private organization, and it is free to set whatever policies it deems fit. I do not think it is at all helpful to hector private citizens or organizations into pretending their beliefs are something other than what they really are. (I know I’ve already said that recently, but here it is relevant again.) If the BSA believes it is “absolutely the best policy” to exclude “open and avowed [whatever the hell that means] homosexuals,” that’s a pretty damn unequivocal statement. It’s their right to believe that, and I have no intention of joining in any collective attempts to browbeat them into reconsidering.
But of course this means my son can’t join. I suppose technically he can (it’s not clear from what I read here that children of gay parents are explicitly excluded), but if his parents are effectively barred from participating with him, and his family would be considered a “distraction to the mission of the BSA,” then it’s hardly a workable choice to make. And that just fucking sucks.
I was in Cub Scouts and (briefly) Boy Scouts, and the brevity of my participation in the latter speaks to the lack of fit between its mission and activities and my interests. I was already well on my way to preferring indoor, urban pursuits. But, with the exception of this one particular and obviously quite personal issue, I think the world of the organization. I laud its goals of instilling good citizenship and connection to community in its participants, and have nothing but nice things to say about it when patients tell me they’re Scouts. All else being equal, if my son were to want to be a Cub Scout, I’d sign him right up.
Maybe in the coming years, the organization will have a change of heart. I can’t say I’m especially optimistic about the chances of that happening, but one never knows. And obviously not being able to participate in one specific activity out of many alternatives isn’t world’s greatest tragedy. But today I am sad for my son, and for the conversation I may need to eventually have where I explain that Daddy can’t sign him up for the group that his friends get to join. The BSA is free to make its own choices, but it certainly feels lousy to be on the wrong side of them