The Boy Scouts has never been and was never meant to be a Christian organization. This is a distortion by conservative American Christians in the past two decades and it is destroying the US Scouts.
Lord Baden Powell founded the Scouts as a universal organization
and explicitly non-sectarian. The Scouts elsewhere (UK, Canada, France, Mexico, etc.) do NOT discriminate against gays.
The Scouts were meant for ALL families, not just religious conservatives.
Jews and Muslims boys do not eat pork. But in Europe and America, they sit next to boys that do since this is America, not Iran, where we respect each other’s diverse beliefs and try to work together.
I was a Boy Scout in NYC in the 60s and tolerance was the rule of the day: We were all sorts of religions and races. The focus was on nature and the outdoors. Given it was NYC we were a mixed group - Jews, Chinese, Protestants, Blacks - and we didn't meet at a church. I never thought of BSA as a primarily religious organization.
Today Mormons and Baptists rarely form mixed groups, which is a shame. This fundamentally deforms the spirit of Scouting, which was as a universal, non-sectarian organization.
The divisions only began in the 1990s after Christian conservatives, and above all the Mormons, hijacked the BSA and decided that more liberal religious interpretations were unwelcome. Mormons, who represent less than 2% of the American population, now control more than a third of American Boy Scout troops.
The ban is also hypocrisy: Jesus Christ never once mentioned homosexuality but clearly did not like divorce. Yet I bet the conservative churches do not lobby to get divorced men expelled.
We can each believe the other is immoral. I believe that people who drive giant gas-guzzling SUV’s are immoral. But I don’t have any desire to keep any parent or any kids out of the Scouts. This nation does not have one official religion and we must all try to respect diverse beliefs even if we do not share them. The Boy Scouts were founded in exactly this spirit, with the intent of inculcating a universal spirit. I quote Scouting’s founder, Lord Baden Powell:
"Buddha has said: 'There is only one way of driving out Hate in the world and that is by bringing in
Love.' Scouting's aim is to produce healthy, happy, helpful citizens, of both sexes, to eradicate the prevailing narrow self interest, personal, political, sectarian and national, and to substitute for it a broader spirit of self-sacrifice and service in the cause of humanity."
We are a two-dad family, both former Scouts, and have no objection to our kids hanging with Mormon or Evangelical parents or their kids. We all need to get along and respect our diverse beliefs. These are not the Boy Scouts of the Mormons and Baptists, but the Boy Scouts of America, in all her wonderful and diverse glory.
I am proud that a solid majority of Americans (55%) now agree that the BSA’s ban against gay men and boys should be lifted:
May the Boy Scouts of America return to their original universal spirit, accepting all boys and all families regardless of their religious beliefs or sexual orientations. We look forward to rejoining once that happens and hope to meet and share company with other families over the campfire at the Jamboree, be those families Mormons, Baptists or even Hummer owners.
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