A few months ago, the Dadcentric blog published a post about the discriminatory policy of the Boy Scouts of America.
I read it, nodded in agreement, and then went and got ready for my son’s Boy Scout meeting.
That’s right, we’re staying with the Boy Scouts.
But why? The answer is complicated, of course, but it really boils down to me having to do what’s best for my son. Since joining Scouts, my son has changed in profound and positive ways. Socially, intellectually, physically.
There is no other group in my area that could have provided these opportunities to him.
So, I am forever grateful to Boy Scouts for how it is helping shape my son. He’s not the only one, as I see many boys in our troop who are badly in need of the leadership skills taught through rank advancement and merit badges.
At the same time, I clearly recognize that the organization is deeply flawed and in need of change.
My son, and the other boys in his troop, know that the national policy of discrimination is wrong. They also know that this policy is only in place because the LDS church holds the purse strings for the Boy Scouts.
The Mormon Church charters over half of all Boy Scout troops in this country. It is their de facto youth ministry.
This leaves many other troops, especially those chartered by civic organizations or progressive churches, on the outside when it comes to the making of policy.
Until the Mormon Church changes its policies, the Boy Scouts will not change theirs. It’s really that simple.
So, what do we do in the meantime? Do we give up on the Boy Scouts and 100 years of wonderful traditions? Or do we stay and wait it out, maybe try to have some influence?
Like I wrote previously, I have to do what’s best for my son. And what’s best for him right now is to take advantage of everything that Scouting has to offer.
The compromise is that he does it in a tolerant, progressive troop, chartered to an inclusive church, where he learns that discrimination of any sort is not acceptable.
I’m quite proud of my son for what he’s accomplished in the last two years of Scouting. He’s learned everything from whitewater rafting to welding to wilderness survival. He’s become an avid coin collector after taking a merit badge on the subject. He’s picked up a bugle and is attempting to play Reveille. He’s learned to get along with boys from ages 11 to 18, and they’ve learned to get along with him.
I’m most proud that, when he heard the news that the BSA was reaffirming its discriminatory policy, his response was, “That’s not right. We need to change that.”