Boy Scouts of America: at a precipice, or just an imaginary line?
The Boy Scouts of America have put off until their next meeting in May any decisions to change the existing policy that bans homosexuals from being Scouts or leaders.
A statement released by the BSA said:
“After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review.”
A cynic might conclude that the head honchos at BSA, in Irving, Texas, are scrambling to see if they can fill the financial hole left by large corporate donors ending sponsorships over the BSA’s discriminatory policies before they seriously consider doing the right thing.
Religious conservatives continue to gasp and fan themselves furiously over the idea that homosexuals might join the Boy Scouts. (Newsflash! They’re already there!) People like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council continue to spout nonsense that equates homosexuals as pedophiles, while in the same breath denying that’s what they mean.
The Scouts floated an idea last week that would give local councils and troops the right to decide for themselves if they would maintain discriminatory policies, while the national BSA would drop their official ban. That idea has flopped like a lead balloon, after groups on both sides saw it as an unacceptable half-measure. Conservatives and some religious organizations see equality as a threat to their fundamental right to discriminate against those they dislike, while those who stand against discrimination see it as a cowardly way out, “removing” discrimination from the national organization, while letting it remain in effect in local Councils and Troops.
Our previously mentioned cynic might conclude that the BSA was/is looking for an out that allows the anti-gay ban to stand, but restores their cash flow from large corporate donors. Even the cynic must be getting tired of this kind of feckless fence-straddling by the BSA.
It is inevitable that the Boy Scouts of America will, eventually, step fully into the 21st century, and join other organizations, like the Girl Scouts of America, and toss their policy of discrimination into the dustbin of history. The big question is how long will that take, and how much damage will be done to Scouting in the meantime.