Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Conversation About Boy Scouts

Over at Family Scholars Blog, David Blankenhorn proposes the following, with respect to the Boys Scouts' recent announcement that they would not change their policy prohibiting gay Scout leaders and troops:

"When I spoke to several Scout leaders about this topic several years ago, I suggested that they consider changing their policy to say something along the lines of, the Boy Scouts as an organization does not involve itself in the sexual lives of boys, will not permit Scouts or Scout leaders to act out sexually in any way under the aegis of Scouting, and rejects in general the idea of bringing topics of sexual expression into the organization, whether heterosexual or homosexual."

In response, I said:
"I support the Boy Scout’s right to define their own membership, even though I disagree with how they do so and even though I think it’s (yes, I’m going there) bigoted and heterosupremacist. 
I go back and forth about whether progressives should abandon institutions like the Boy Scouts (and many religious organizations) and create better ones than those that continue to entrench privilege, or whether we should remain and instead try to reform these flawed institutions. 
It’s a tough call for me, but I do come down on letting private associations form their own rules and membership policies. 
I also think your proposal is a good start to the conversation. (I really would have loved to have been a fly on the wall, listening to the committee that recently issued this decision, and heard whether something like this was put forth). 
With respect to this provision of your proposal: 
'and rejects in general the idea of bringing topics of sexual expression into the organization, whether heterosexual or homosexual.' 
I wonder, is it common for Boy Scout leaders to talk about marriage, being married, and having a wife? Is it common for boys in this organization to talk about girls and having crushes on them? 
I’m wary of the above-quoted provision of your proposal, because I contend that a gay scout doing the exact same thing that heterosexuals do all the time (while often taking for granted the ability to do so without being accused of 'throwing their sexualities in everyone’s faces') would be quickly accused of 'talking about sexual expression' were he to mention his husband, partner, or boyfriend. 
And, if there truly were no double standard in enforcing that provision and all mention of partners/sex/marriage were prohibited, I think it’s a bit… reality-denying. Just think, all to avoid acknowledging the reality that gay people really exist in the real world, the provision would, instead, silence people of all orientations from talking about topics related to sex, sexual orientation, or sexual expression. 
Talk about 'political correctness' (the conservative, anti-gay kind that caters to people unable to handle the reality of homosexuality) silencing people. Wow!"
What do you all think?

If the Boy Scouts instituted a Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, would that be a good, workable, or moral compromise to the issue of Gays In The Boys Scouts? Should we, progressives, just abandon this institution if it refuses to allow gay scouts and leaders? 

Or, do you see some other alternative?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Vinaigrette Girl here. Scouting in the UK is fully supportive of LGBT Scouts. I think BSA is wrong in every way possible and should be lobbied by other Scouts because their policy is not what Baden Powell (let alone Christ) would have wanted.