It has long been common knowledge that Boy Scouts of America and the LGBT Community or indeed the Atheist Community don’t exactly see eye to eye.
The Boy Scouts of America is a large private youth organisation in the United States. I has very strict policies which prohibit atheists from membership in its Scouting program, and prohibit “open or avowed” homosexuals from leadership roles in its Scouting program as directly violating its fundamental principles and tenets. The Boy Scouts of America has denied or revoked membership status or leadership positions of youths and adults for violation of these foundational principles. These principals or positions have been ongoing since 1991 which state:
“inconsistent with the Scout Oath that a Scout be morally straight and in the Scout Law that a Scout be clean in word and deed”.
By the looks of things these principals are not going to change anytime soon. The organisation claim that these policies or rather ban have been under review for the last two years. Bob Mazzuca, chief scout executive, said:
“The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers, and at the appropriate time and in the right setting.
“While a majority of our membership agrees with our policy, we fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society.”
Scouting den leader Jennifer Tyrell was removed from the group after the truth of her sexual orientation became known. Because of this approximately one month ago a petition of 275,000 signatures was presented to the organisation requesting for the ban to cease. In short the ban has not be ceased and still carries on.
You may be asking, what can be done about this? Well this may not be the answer everyone wants to hear, but it is the facts as they happen to be. The law supports the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to have the polices they currently have. In 2008 the US Supreme Court ruled that the organisation can ban or remove leaders on the bases of sexual orientation stating that they could not force the organization:
“to accept members where such acceptance would derogate from the organisation’s expressive message”.
And there is also the obvious issue that BSA are indeed a private organisation and not funded by the US government therefore many of their rules and polices are of their own discretion. So from a legal standpoint one cannot really do much to prevent BSA from enforcing the rules they enforce. All one can really hope to do is possibly organise more petitions against these polices, protest against these polices or boycott the organization entirely. Personally I feel that boycotting is the best answer.
Boycotting is the best solution because firstly signing petition no matter how many signatures one gets in support of removing the ban clearly isn’t working. Its going to be the same vicious cycle over and over again. Its almost like trying to convince a large group of creationists that evolution is indeed a fact, you might convince a few of them but the vast majority of them are so engrained with their religious viewpoint they wont even care to listen to reason. The BSA are no different, their anti gay / anti atheist position is based on religious reasons, not reason and certainly not fact nor rationality.
As for protesting? This more or less will have the same effect as the petitions. We would be only trying to convince a group of people who are not willing to listen to reason or rational.
So why is boycotting better? Boycotting is a better solution because by doing this we can reason with a group of people who are reasonable and will listen to reason and even more importantly care about equality and treating other human beings with dignity and respect. BSA do not have this philosophy and one could even claim they are no different from your average hate group, they just happen to be much more submissive about their hatred. If boycotting the Boy Scouts of America where to be successful it would remove their power, possibly move them towards a decline of membership and possibly render them as a useless organisation entirely. When a retail store provides poor customer service and all round horrendous treatment towards their customers, chances are they will go out of business. Why should the Boy Scouts of America not suffer the same fate?
I would advise any parent or guardian to never send their children to the Boy Scouts. I would also advise any person interested in giving some time to give something back to their community look towards alternative organization than the Boy Scouts. By participating in the Boy Scouts or allowing our children to be members of the Boy Scouts we are endorsing discrimination, treating others for being differently unfairly, it endorses bullying. Is that the sort of message that we should be teaching children? To be bullies? And the Boy Scouts of America are indeed bullies.
The Boy Scouts of America endorses unfair treatment, do not support it.