To put it mildly, I'm pissed. I mean it. Absolutely livid.
A couple of months ago, I went off on a little tirade about the Boy Scouts' ban on gay members. I got it out of my system, and life was good. I made the decision at that point to keep Alex in Scouts until after the vote on whether or not to lift the ban happened. Anyway, it was delayed, and from what I understand from our meeting tonight it will be held on Wednesday.
We didn't have a regular Scout meeting tonight. Instead, we had our committee meeting - the grown ups sit around and talk about boring stuff like finances and planning outings and stuff like that. The subject of the vote was brought up, as apparently there had been some question as to whether the church who charters our pack and troop would continue to charter it if the ban was to be lifted. We were informed that regardless of the vote, the church would continue to charter the Scouts. I was happy to hear this.
Now, at this committee meeting there were 5 or 6 other adults, plus me. Our leader was trying to plan things out for the next few months, and was informed by several of the other adults that they would be leaving the organization if the ban were to be lifted - which left the leader in a bit of a bind, because he can't plan any outings for the boys until he knows if he has any adults left or not.
(For the record, as if you didn't guess already, I informed the leader right then and there that if the ban is lifted, he can count on me to be more involved than ever before.)
OK. I understand that the Scouts is a Christian-based organization. I understand that it is a private organization and can make its own rules. I understand that when people joined, they knew about those rules (except for me, the clueless one) and they were ok with them.
Now the rules might be changing. So they want to leave. Keep in mind that BSA is not looking to change the rules for adult leaders - only for the kids.
So these adults, who are supposed to be role models for these young boys, are going to bolt straight out of the organization because they might have to be in the same room with a kid who is gay??? Really?
News flash: There are gay people everywhere. They're in the grocery stores and the libraries and the public pools and in schools and hospitals and banks and post offices and shopping malls and *gasp* maybe even working IN THE SAME OFFICE WITH YOU!!!! If they haven't turned you gay yet, what makes you think that they're out to do that to your kid too? If you are so worried about your kid being exposed to someone who is gay, then you'd better not ever allow that child out of your house. Really.
Look at these two images. Read them. These are pictures that I just took of Alex's Cub Scout Tiger Cub Handbook.
Where exactly does it say that the purpose of Cub Scouting is to shun someone who does something that you don't like? Where does it say that someone who is different than you doesn't belong in Scouts? Where does it say that a boy who is gay is not worthy of being a Scout?
Character Development. Is there a better way to develop your child's character than to show him that it's ok if someone does something that you don't necessarily like? What is so wrong with teaching your son that it's ok to agree to disagree? Doesn't that build character?
Respectful relationships. A relationship doesn't only have to be between a man and a woman. It can be the relationship between a group of kids. There is a group of kids that I see playing together after school on a regular basis - just judging by appearances, there are girls, boys, blacks, whites, Hispanics, and even a little Muslim girl who all play together - and they are great friends. They are all so amazingly different from each other, but they respect each other's differences and have a great relationship with each other.
Values? They want to preach about values? Look at that list: Compassion. Courage. Honesty. Respect.
Right there, in black and white. The eleventh Core Value in Cub Scouting.
How in the hell can we teach our kids respect if we don't show that same respect to ALL other people?
Respect for kids shouldn't be selective. They're KIDS. Show them respect. Show adults respect (unless they give you a damned good reason not to do so).
Seriously people. Get over it. Yes, you have a right to your beliefs, just as I have a right to mine. You're not right and I'm not either. But as adults, we have the responsibility to be positive role models for all kids today. Do you want to teach them that it's ok to be close-minded and exclusionary, or do you want to teach them that it's ok to accept someone who is different from you? You can accept the person without accepting their beliefs.
Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum.
Know what that means?
Love the sinner, but hate the sin.
You don't have to agree with everything that everyone does. But learn to respect the fact that everyone is different.