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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Torn over Scouting

I, Doug, realize the obligation to my fellow Eagle Scouts;
to my home, my country, and my God.
I will at all times do my best to assist other scouts
who are climbing the trail to Eagle
to give back more to scouting than it has given me
to assist my troop as much as possible
and to be a living example of the Scout Oath and Law
to the best of my ability.
I took that oath on January 13th, 1989.  When, in subsequent years, the Boy Scouts took their anti-gay policies all the way to the Supreme Court, I cried.  It was wrong.  They were wrong.  I knew openly gay leaders, at least one of which was involved in the Supreme Court battle, and I can honestly say they were no danger to me or any of my friends.  They did not push who they were on us, and knew and taught the scouting program easily as well as any leader who I was sure was straight.

But I stuck with the program, because for all they were doing something stupid, it appeared that they were still a force for good.  They still taught boys to stand up for what they felt was right.  They were still the best leadership training around.

But what does this teach our kids?  At the same time they were banning gays because they claimed they were putting children in danger, they were keeping files on KNOWN child molesters and not doing anything about it.  When it came time to put up a defense, the best they could say was "the local troops were responsible, not us" and "we didn't want to traumatize the children who had been abused".  The Cascade Pacific Scout Executive had the cajones to get up on the stand and blame the parents for trusting the scouting program!

WHAT?

I am, currently, an active Scout leader ... so I can repeat from memory:

The Scout Oath:
On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.
The Scout Law:
A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly,
Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful,
Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.
Which of these can an organization that kept files on more than 1,000 child molesters while ousting men who weren't dangerous ... all under the lie of protecting our children ... claim to be?  Trustworthy?  Would you trust them?  Loyal?  Loyal to WHO?  Helpful or Friendly?  Only if you're one of those 1,000 men.  Brave?  Well, it certainly takes balls to do what they did, to make the claims they make ... but you can't call it standing up for what is right.

Can such an group be called morally straight?  Or was it doing their duty to god?

What Scouting has given me, recently, is a reality check ...  I'm unsure if I want to be involved in this program anymore.  I'm sure my boys are safe, but only because I'm active and paying attention to make sure of it.  But now I'm wondering if it's worth it.  I'm wondering if I even want my children associated with this program.

I teach my boys that brave means standing up for what you believe is right, even if it hurts.  I teach my boys that thrifty means spending your time wisely as well as your money.  But now I'm asking:  Is it wise to continue with this program?  Is it brave?  Or is it the brave thing, the wise thing, the right thing, to walk away?

I don't know.  I don't know if BSA as we know it will survive this blow.  I'm not sure I want it to.

        aka: goofdad

4 comments:

The Father of Five said...

Don't give up - at least not yet.

I have two Star Scouts (one is a Scoutmaster Conference and Board of Review away from Life Scout)

I am also a practicing Catholic - and now BOTH of these organizations are involved in a "sex scandal" - front and center in the news.

I am not proud of the actions of either of these organizations as of late... But I also am VERY familiar with the almost "predatory" nature of the media, and their sensationalizing methods of disseminating the news...

Patience.. Maybe that should also be part of The Scout Law.

knitinsage said...

well, this may be a matter of evolution -- one man having an impact on many young men, having the courage to state a reasonable position in the face of prejudice. good for you, dad.

phoebe said...

I know it hurts when you relize the ideals you hold in your heart aren't upheld by the organizations you respect ,the gov the church the scouts .your friends and family. hang in there draw on your inner strenths. remember to follow your heart and work to make the changes in the world as you are doing . one person at a time.your example and love have made a difference to those around you .

S. K. said...

Ghandi said to Be the change you wish to see in the world. I think that by your sticking around as long as your kids want to is being a pain in their... no... witnessing to bravery trustworthiness, and loyalty. It's not just your kids you witness to, either. You know that!