This week it came to light that the Boy Scouts of America have kept “Perversion Files”; thousands of files that outlined sexual abuse in the BSA and how they systematically covered it up. As the BSA propagated acts of prejudice against nearly a quarter of the country’s population by banning gay people and atheists from participating, they allowed the sexual abuse of children in their care. This cover-up and allowance of sexual abuse has been happening for nearly 90 years in the BSA, meaning anyone still alive today who was the parent of, a participant in or a supporter of the BSA has done so during this policy.
These allegations are especially cutting when one considers that the Boy Scouts allegedly allowed Scoutmasters who they knew were pedophiles to continue to lead while they turned away honorable atheists and gay people who wanted to be leaders. The Boy Scouts of America has, through their actions, demonstrated that they find atheism less “morally straight” (part of the Scout Oath) than sexually abusing the children in their care. This is a disgusting policy, one that should shame each and every person who has
participated in the BSA in the last 90 years.
One must expect that sexual abuse and abusers will find their way to children, no matter the setting. The BSA must anticipate having child molesters in their ranks, given the scale of their organization and the number of boys in their group. The “Perversion Files” allegedly are not just a list of people of whom to not allow in the BSA because of their predilections, but also contains names of people the BSA let in, knowing their predilections. This extended implanted pedophilic action makes everyone who has given money to the BSA in the last 90 years unknowing participants in the sexual abuse of children. The American federal government, meaning the tax payers of the United States, have given money to the Boy Scouts for decades.
While American bigotry allowed the Boy Scouts to perpetrate acts of hate in the name of “being morally straight”, the resulting lack of examination allowed these crimes to continue. The pseudo-religious, paramilitary, “morally straight” organizational structure creates the perfect storm for concealing wrong-doing. When the moral standard of the organization is the purpose of its existence, it can only continue to thrive if the people
the group serves, in this case, boys and their parents, and the overall community believe the organization provides a strong ethical structure for the group. Thus, the reputation of a group becomes more essential than the actual practices of the group. Anything that damages the reputation or image of the organization must be contained, to prevent exposure. In a press release the BSA reaffirms this point by discussing values, image, and ideals but not actions of the Boy Scouts of America.
While we are deeply disturbed by the actions alleged in this lawsuit, they do not represent the values and ideals of the BSA or its councils, professionals, members, or chartered organizations.
It is less important to groups like the BSA that their actions be “morally straight”, but that their image is “morally straight.” When a child comes forth with allegations of abuse, this one case becomes an overall case of brand image. As a consequence, the organization’s image and missions are entirely threatened. It is no longer an issue of child abuse or rape, but an issue of damaging the reputation of millions of people and the group as a whole. A well-meaning person could see it as doing a greater good to hush up the child.
When applied on the scale of the BSA or the Catholic Church, it becomes a systematic practice that harms thousands, maybe millions of children as well as their families. The only way to assure abuses do not becomes systematic is to ruthlessly decimate the false ultra-moral image of the BSA, demand transparency, jail those who covered up abuses and demand they comply with societal standards of behavior.
This is done most effectively by parasites, not attack dogs. People already inside the organization need to withdraw their children and financial support. They need to make it clear that they are leaving the group as long as there are “Perversion Files” and as long as all people are not allowed in their ranks. I suspect a 5% reduction in numbers would significantly damage the financial bottom line enough to get their attention.
Parents of young boys who have considered entering their boys into Boy Scout programs need to write and tell them that they will not be enrolling their child in the BSA as long as they have a policy of covering up the molestation of the children in their group. I suggest including a check for the enrollment amount with the word VOID written over it. Nothing gets a big organizations attention like a check they cannot cash.
Eagle Scouts (the highest rank in the BSA, a lifelong title that earns an instant promotion in the Army as well as other social considerations) need to come forward with the radical stance that molesting children is wrong, even in the BSA. If they actually believe in the title of an Eagle Scout and what it is supposed to mean, they need to come forward and act bravely, a demand of an Eagle Scout. Speaking directly to their local councils and demand they take a position on the “Perversion Files”, will make a contract with the boys in their charge to report any abuse to the authorities, require them to act within the law, will train Scoutmasters how to report abuse, establish a confidential abuse reporting service and force transparency on the national level. After discussing it on a local level, a council of Eagle Scouts needs to be conveyed independently to write a formal demand of the Boy Scouts of America.
Eagle Scouts need to refrain from participating in any BSA activities. This includes scout meetings, trips, jamborees, or any other event. I encourage Eagles to continue their activities informally until the BSA comes
into compliance with common decency.
Scoutmasters, Assistant Scoutmasters, Cubmasters, Assistant Cubmasters and Den Mothers need to withdraw from the organization, with the same policy as the Eagles, until they condemn pedophilia, and commit to a culture of transparent inclusiveness. They need to do this for two reasons. First, it’s the morally correct position. Second is the matter of self-preservation. Until the BSA roots out all the pedophiles and pedophile enablers, the taint is on every single, individual Scout Leader, Assistant Scout Leader, Council Member, Den Mother, etc. The outside world should look upon them as potential threats, because they are, as long as there is an exclusionary, secretive culture in the BSA. Without a significant change, the image of the BSA will be that of NAMBLA, with the same connotations. They should join with the Eagle Scouts and write a separate formal demand with the same provisions as the Eagle Scouts.
I encourage the former scouts and their parents to write letters of disgust and support any demands for transparency made by people insidescouts. This policy put them or their children in danger. Even if they were
not hurt, the policy did not assure the utmost protection for their children and violated the trust they put in the organization.
The Scout Law, “A Scout is: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, Reverent” is the perfect trap for a pedophile to lay. If a child actually believes these things, a molester and the BSA could use the law against them. A boy who wants to refuse a sexual advance is being disobedient. Then the pedophile can warn the child that if he tells someone he is not loyal to his troop or to the BSA by making the group look bad. Talking about sexual abuse is certainly not friendly or cheerful. Putting people in jail is not kind or helpful. Having sex before married or having gay sex is unclean and irreverent. If he goes against the wishes of Scoutmaster and tells someone, he is not being obedient. Trustworthy scouts would know how to keep secrets. Lastly, a brave child would deal with the sexual abuse themselves, without telling someone.
Without a significant change in the culture of the BSA, the pedophilia will continue, the cover-up will persist, and this cycle of violence will persevere. Refusing to take action against the BSA policies of pedophilia is to enable it to occur. Any Eagle Scout, Scoutmaster, Den Mother, Council Member, parent, child, supporter, or person, who cannot stand up against the molestation of children has no place in any organization with children.
The Boy Scouts have two choices: the status quo, or live up to their oath, law, slogan and promise. Continue to allow children to be abused or change. How could anyone who believes in any aspect of the Scout Law think covering up pedophilia or not speaking up makes a person, trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, or morally straight? I ask the Boy Scout community: do you pay these ideals lip service, be a hypocrite and do nothing, or act with bravery to honor the trust given by these boys, their families and the community? Will you do nothing to wipe the stain of pedophilia from the sash worn so proudly?