Thursday, January 31, 2013

Boy Scouts

To the Boy Scouts of America:

I am married to an Eagle Scout and am the mother of an 8-year-old Cub Scout. My husband has been active in scouting for as long as he has been old enough, including regional and national leadership roles, a stint working at Philmont, and receipt of what seems to me essentially every award you offer. He is now an Assistant Scout Master with the troop that is affiliated with our son's pack. 

Two years ago, when my son started Cubs, I was hesitant to allow it. I find your anti-gay policy morally abhorrent, and I did not want my son exposed to such bigotry. My husband, who also hates the policy, convinced me that the Scouts were more than that, and that indeed the policy was outdated and no longer an issue. He had had such a positive experience with Scouts that he wanted it for our son as well. So I agreed.

Well, I'm sure you can see where this is going. Imagine our horror when, less than a year later, you reaffirmed your stance in a burst of incomprehensible posturing about morality. What? How could it be that this organization, with legitimate claims to moral authority in so many areas, could make so grave and consequential an error of judgement? We couldn't believe it. What was wrong with you? Didn't you know that you were out of touch on this? No, apparently you did not know. Either that or you were being controlled by other interests, which is an almost equally horrifying prospect.

I think I can safely say that this issue has caused more friction in my marriage over the last 12 months than all other issues combined in the 12 years before that. My husband is saddened and disappointed in you, the way one would be in a beloved relative who has committed a crime. I, however, having no previous relationship with you, merely find it inexcusable. For me, it's a deal breaker.

I hesitate to say that I am pleased with your decision to reconsider your position, because in an ideal world the Scouts would take a leadership role in condemning discrimination in any form. You would refuse to allow any group who discriminates on any basis to be affiliated with you. However, let us not allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good. To the extent that this move would mean that gay boys are not routed out, and that gay parents are not refused the right to volunteer with their children's troops, I am all for it. Do it. But don't stop there. Please.