FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Boy Scouts and Bigots

by CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI

Prejudice, n. a vagrant opinion without visible means of support.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

It’s not 1991 in the Boy Scouts of America. That was the year that the Girl Scouts issued a Statement in which they said:  “As a private organization, Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. respects the values and beliefs of each of its members and does not intrude into personal matters.  Therefore, there are no membership policies on sexual preference.”

It’s not 1993 in the Boy Scouts of America.  That was the year that at the Girl Scouts’ national convention in Minneapolis it was decided by a vote of 1560 to 375, that a girl scout could pledge service to “God,” “Allah”, the Creator” or anyone else she wished.  B. LaRae Orullian, its national president said:  “The important thing is that the spiritual principles which continue to be the fundamentals of Girl Scouting recognize that there are some religious groups . . . that believe in a spiritual motivating force, but use words other than God.”

It’s not 2003 in the Boy Scouts of America. In a 2003 Girl Scout tract entitled “What We Stand For” the organization said:  “The Girl Scouts value diversity and inclusiveness and, therefore, do not discriminate on any basis. . . . We believe that sexual orientation is a private matter for girls and their families to address.”

It’s not 2011 in the Boy Scouts of America.   That was the year that the Girl Scouts of Colorado said:  If a child identifies as a girl and the child’s family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a Girl Scout.”

It’s 2012 in the Boy Scouts of America.  It could be 1910, the year the organization was formed.  It could be 1993. That was the year that the Boy Scouts defended a suit brought by 10-year old Mark Welsh who lived in Chicago and wanted to become a Boy Scout.  Since he was a boy he was the right sex, and since he wasn’t gay, he had the right sexual orientation.  His only failing was he did not believe in the Boy Scout’s God. In fact, he said he didn’t believe in any god. He was an atheist.  That was too much for the Boy Scouts.  They denied him admission.  He sued demanding to be admitted to the scouts.  The Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals,  two of whose members had been left stranded in the 19th Century upheld the Scouts.  They said letting young  Mark in would “run the risk of undermining one of the seedbeds of virtue that cultivate the sorts of citizens our nation so desperately needs. [Bigots].” So much for Mark.

While looking back fondly on that outcome, the Boy Scouts of America continue to march forward into the 19th Century.  In April 2012, Boy Scout den mother, Jennifer Tyrrell, of Bridgeport, Ohio, was told by the Boy Scouts that she could no longer serve as a den mother because she was a lesbian.  On July 1,  2012 she delivered a petition with 300,000 signatures on it to the Boy Scouts demanding that she be reinstated.  Shortly after she submitted her petition the Boy Scouts of America announced the conclusion of a 2-year study on the question of gays in the scouts and reaffirmed the policy of “not granting membership to open or avowed homosexuals.”  The organization reaffirmed its belief that admitting atheists, agnostics and gays would reflect badly on the organization.  Bob Mazzuca, Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts explained the policy saying:  “The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family . . . . and at the appropriate time and in the right setting.”  This is a progressive attitude since it means a boy who engages in same-sex orientation discussions at home is not offensive to the organization. However, parents who learn of what the scouts would consider a son’s incorrect sexual orientation should keep that information within the family and not share it with a prospective scout troop.

According to documents released in a 1993 lawsuit against the Scouts, between 1971 and 1991, 1,800 Scout Masters were removed from their posts because they were suspected of molesting boys. In some cases the offending individuals were simply reassigned to other posts. In 2010 a jury awarded an Oregon man $18.5 million for abuse suffered by a man at the hands of his scout master during the 1980s. In 2009 a Burnsville, Minnesota scoutmaster was arrested and charged with six felony counts of sexually abusing scouts in his troop.  In 2011 he was found guilty of assaults on one boy and faced additional charges.  In March 2012 a boy scout volunteer was found guilty of first and second-degree sexual assault of one of the scouts who visited him in his home.

Heaven only knows what things would change if the Scouts were now to admit gays and atheists.  The answer might well be-nothing.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
June 23, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Democrats in the Dead Zone
Gary Leupp
Trump, Qatar and the Danger of Total Confusion
Andrew Levine
The “Democracies” We Deserve
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
The FBI’s “Operation Backfire” and the Case of Briana Waters
Rob Urie
Cannibal Corpse
Joseph G. Ramsey
Savage Calculations: On the Exoneration of Philando Castille’s killer
John Wight
Trump’s Attack on Cuba
Brian Cloughley
Moving Closer to Doom
David Rosen
The Sex Offender: the 21st Century Witch
John Feffer
All Signs Point to Trump’s Coming War With Iran
Jennifer L. Lieberman
What’s Really New About the Gig Economy?
Pete Dolack
Analyzing the Failures of Syriza
Vijay Prashad
The Russian Nexus
Mike Whitney
Putin Tries to Avoid a Wider War With the US
Gregory Barrett
“Realpolitik” in Berlin: Merkel Fawns Over Kissinger
Louis Yako
The Road to Understanding Syria Goes Through Iraq
Graham Peebles
Grenfell Tower: A Disaster Waiting to Happen
Ezra Rosser
The Poverty State of Mind and the State’s Obligations to the Poor
Ron Jacobs
Andrew Jackson and the American Psyche
Pepe Escobar
Fear and Loathing on the Afghan Silk Road
Andre Vltchek
Why I Reject Western Courts and Justice
Lawrence Davidson
On Hidden Cultural Corruptors
REZA FIYOUZAT
Useless Idiots or Useful Collaborators?
Missy Comley Beattie
The Poor Need Not Apply
Joseph Natoli
What to Wonder Now
Thomas Knapp
The Castile Doctrine: Cops Without Consequences
Nyla Ali Khan
Borders Versus Memory
Binoy Kampmark
Death on the Road: Memory in Tim Winton’s Shrine
Sam Pizzigati
Companies Can Either Make Things or Make CEOs Rich
Tony McKenna
The Oily Politics of Unity: Owen Smith as Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary
Nizar Visram
If North Korea Didn’t Exist US Would Create It
Jill Richardson
Trump on Cuba: If Obama Did It, It’s Bad
Olivia Alperstein
Our President’s Word Wars
Clark T. Scott
Parallel in Significance
Richard Klin
Prog Rock: Pomp and Circumstance
Charles R. Larson
Review: Malin Persson Giolito’s “Quicksand”
June 22, 2017
Jason Hirthler
Invisible Empire Beneath the Radar, Above Suspicion
Ken Levy
Sorry, But It’s Entirely the Right’s Fault
John Laforge
Fukushima’s Radiation Will Poison Food “for Decades,” Study Finds
Ann Garrison
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party, and the UK’s Socialist Surge
Phillip Doe
Big Oil in the Rocky Mountain State: the Overwhelming Tawdriness of Government in Colorado
Howard Lisnoff
The Spiritual Death of Ongoing War
Stephen Cooper
Civilized, Constitution-Loving Californians Will Continue Capital Punishment Fight
Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla
Cuba Will Not Bow to Trump’s Threats
Ramzy Baroud
Israel vs. the United Nations: The Nikki Haley Doctrine
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail