Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Scouting Fallout and the Future

I am a Cub Scout Den Leader.  The following are my opinions and do not necessarily reflect those of Pack 31, the Knights of Columbus (our Charter Organization), or the Boy Scouts of America.

So Boy Scouts of America has decided that gay youth may be permitted to join but not adults yet.  The result of this that some churches are withdrawing their sponsorship of the BSA.

For those not in the know, the BSA doesn't actually own each individual troop and pack.  They are sponsored by Charter Organizations: churches, businesses, and civic groups that help provide space and resources so the Scouts can succeed.  Many of them are religious.  The Mormon and Catholic churches are the largest religious Charter Organizations.  They have agreed to the new inclusive rules.

I believe that in the next 4 months there will be an exodus (pun!) of churches from the BSA.  The media will portray this as a crisis.  Come September, when most troops and packs start their year, a large bunch of non-religious groups will step up and replace the departing churches.  By the end of the year the churches will have diminished in power within the BSA.

It is my opinion that the BSA knew this would happen.  They also knew they had to  do the changeover slowly so the organization didn't fall apart in the process.  That is why I think they chose not to endorse gay adults.  If the LDS church pulled its sponsorship it would be a critical blow to the organization.  So they start with the youth and let the fallout come as it will.  Then there will be a secular rebuilding for a couple of years.  Then they will vote in gay adults as well.  They will have systems in place to protect them at that point should the LDS church decide to withdraw.

All of this is adult politics at its best.  But let us not forget that children are affected by this.  Last night a dad came to me before the den meeting and thanked me for helping run an amazing organization.  He then told me the policy was against his religious beliefs and he was pulling his son from Scouts.  His son was very upset by this because he LOVES Cub Scouts.  The den was upset because one of their friends suddenly was made to quit without any explanation.  I left it to the parents to explain what is going on.  I'm not dumb enough to approach that subject with the kids.