Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Dub Step Forward

Apparently the BS of America central governing body needs more time to make the decision about some more equality in its ranks. It is important to point out that this does not mean that they are even considering equality for you or your children. Atheists will continue to be excluded, in accordance with  national policy, from scouting.

For that matter gay people will continue to be excluded from scouting. What is being considered is only the ability to let local scouting troops make their own decisions about allowing gays to participate. If any particular troop wishes to engage in discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation they will continue to be free to do so. Those that wish to ignore sexual orientation as a precondition to participation will now be relieved of the burden of also ignoring the national organization when doing so.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the national leadership of the BS of America was actually considering the idea of simply letting in any young person who wants to participate in their organization? The charter granted the Boy Scouts of America in section 36 of the United States Code (chapter 309 “BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA”) describes the purpose of the organization as:

“The purposes of the corporation are to promote, through organization, and cooperation with other agencies, the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues”--36 USC 309.02

There is nothing in the charter about the increasingly demanding parallel purpose of pre-selecting boys who believe in the correct local deity or whom display the correct sexual orientation. The religious and sexual requirements are add-ons meant to enhance the seemingly secular organization described in the federal charter.

The BSA itself presents a false secular front when it describes itself:

"The Boy Scouts of America is one of the nation's largest and most prominent values-based youth development organizations. The BSA provides a program for young people that builds character, trains them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and develops personal fitness." --"About the BSA"

The BSA statement even sidesteps the central gender-bias of the Boy Scouts by referring to its participants using the gender-neutral "Young People". 

The sexual orientation ban appears to have only been strictly codified in 1991, and re-stated in the middle of last year.

The ban on you and your children is based on the 100-year-old bigotry stated in the core belief that your kids cannot become the best kind of citizen since they do not believe in god.

Should the limp decision by the Boy Scouts of America result in more participation it will not be a step forward for those kids who are still excluded; who are not just excluded but defined as sub-citizens by BSA core principles. Perhaps gay kids, or kids of gay parents, or gay parents themselves, will get to feel the thrill that some of their homophobic counterparts feel today when classifying gays as unable to be full members of society.

Is it really progress to have people with a greater diversity of sexual orientations rallying behind a banner that describes our kids as “less than” anything?

No, it isn’t.

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