Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Back in 2013, I wrote about the Boy Scouts of America's decision to allow Gay boys to enter its ranks. 

As I said then, I was never a Boy Scout, and I have no stake one way or the other about its reputation or continued existence. But I questioned the advisability of, in effect, asking very young boys to consider and declare their sexuality, at an age when such questions should be regarded as premature at best, and potentially corrupting at worst. My argument then was about the jeopardy of participants, of a public organization devoted to moral integrity and conduct, being forced to facilitate an agenda whose mandate was directly opposed its founding principles. 

The Illustration from my May 24th, 2013 post

Today, the media is a-flurry with reports of a new wave of negative publicity and court filings against the Scouts, centered around the revelation in court of internal Scout documents detailing over twelve thousand victims of abuse by some 8000 scout leaders, dating back to 1944, which the organization has managed to keep from public knowledge and view. The Scouts apparently kept a so-called "perversion file" of deposed leaders, which it didn't release either. 

The wave of 300 court cases representing some 3000 abuse clients has now prompted the Boy Scouts to declare bankruptcy, in an effort to shield itself from the anticipated court judgments against it. Like the Roman Catholic Church, which evaded responsibility for the sexual abuse of boys by priests over the decades, the Boy Scouts now finds its very continued existence threatened. 


Founded in 1910, over the years the Boy Scouts of America has expanded to include up to 2.3 million youth, girls as well as boys, and is coordinated with the assistance of 900,000 adult volunteers. The Scouts were originally founded "to teach patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred values" to boys. However, changes have been made to the Scouts, starting with a new name, Scouts BSA, and its values and guidelines have been altered in the ensuing decades. In 2013 it lifted restriction on sexual orientation and in 2015 lifted its ban on allowing gay scoutmasters--despite the organization's history of sexual abuse--involuntarily, via litigation. 

The corrupting influences on this venerable old boys' club are like a bad dream come true. One can only imagine the sort of sex talks that might take place in today's scouting world, of gay (or lesbian?) scoutmasters informing young boys that all sexual behavior is morally neutral, and that expressing or believing in "homophobic" attitudes is wrong. Would this also mean that homosexual behavior by boys while in scouting ventures would be condoned? Or that sexual contact between homosexual scoutmasters and "willing" boy-partners would be tolerated, even encouraged? 

20 years ago, who would have been able to predict such eventualities, or to imagine that society would be persuaded to adopt them? 


Kirby Olson said...

They may also be getting problems from the girls who want to join and the transgenders. Problems are endless!

Craig said...

I wanted to join the Cub Scouts when I was nine years old, living in a remote, rural community in the North Cascades. My mother denied my request, but she did eventually allow me to get a bb gun. Most of my classmates in school already had their own .22 rifles or 20 gauge shotguns. Farming was the main industry in that valley with marshes and woods along a substantial river and with creeks feeding into it from steep foothills within walking distance that rose from near sea level to several thousand feet. Hunting for rabbits, ducks, geese, pheasants and deer was not a popular diversion. It was a major portion of the local diet.

My mother's father had been a scoutmaster. Her only brother, a year older than she, was a church organist by the time he reached his teens and an accomplished pianist, though he played everything by ear as he had perfect pitch. I've never doubted that my uncle was gay, though gay then was not a term in general use among those to whom it did not apply.

The reason my mother refused to let me join the cub scouts was that her father had adamantly insisted that his only son join and her brother had just as adamantly tried to refuse. I did grow up reading lots of books by Ernest Thompson Seton, Theodore Waldeck and Albert Payson Terhune at my mother's request and enjoyed them all immensely. Seton is widely regarded as a founder of the BSA, its first president and the organization's only Chief Scout, but his affiliation with the organization was limited from 1910 to 1915. His early writings as a 'naturalist' had a huge following and the BSA successfully exploited the image he had created.