There was a time perhaps half a century ago when many American boys looked forward to joining the Cub Scouts (ages 8- 11) and/or Boy Scouts( BSA) (ages 11 & above). Their parents encouraged their sons to became scouts because they knew that scouting stood for good citizenship and for learning skills such as camping, living outdoors, and a whole myriad of other skills that could be useful in adulthood. Scouting also taught other basic skills such as cleanliness, teamwork, and of course, to “Be prepared”, which is the BSA motto.
Although the BSA had some minor militaristic characteristics such as uniforms, rankings based upon required accomplishments, and standing assemblies, it generally was not considered a militia or right-wing organization, nor was it considered politically or religiously right-wing based.
In the 1950′s and early 1960′s, most people weren’t thinking in terms of gay-rights or the religion-right taking over government. Americans’ concerns were directed at the perceived Soviet/communism threat of global domination. The civil rights movement was just beginning to gain national attention. The USA had not yet gotten irreversibly mired in the Vietnam war. But as the decade of the sixties progressed, the social/sexual/anti-war/anti-military-industrial complex/anti-draft revolutions blossomed into full-fledged historical change agents that resulted in new standards of human interaction.
Most people probably never even knew that the BSA did not allow gays or lesbians to serve as either members or staff. During the 1970′s and even the 1980′s, many gays and lesbians were still “in the closet”. If they served as cub scout den mothers or boy scout troop leaders, they certainly didn’t let anyone know ab0ut their homosexuality.
1. Sex is evil.
2. Premarital sex is particularly evil.
3. Homosexual sex is even more evil.
4. In all cases, abstinence is the only acceptable policy.
5. In the case of procreation, as long as you are married, #4 is waived, but only if you don’t enjoy the sex part.
Gays and lesbians were considered to be dangerous Satanical deviates hell-bent upon bringing godless communism into every home in America. rejection of gays and lesbians was crutical to receiving God’s love. As proof, HIV/AIDS was reported to be God’s punishment against gays, bisexuals, Hollywood liberals, and disco lovers.
Curiously, gays pedophile priests in the Roman Catholic Church that have been raping and sexually torturing/traumatizing children for almost 2000 years don’t seem be covered under the same limitations or restrictions as BSA members and staff…..but that’s another blog..
In any event, as the issue of gay rights gained traction in the 1990′s and 2000′s, the BSA moved further and further to the right, partially motivated by the fact that some of the locales they had used for decades as meeting places, such as schools, began to impose non-discrimination policies. Religious organizations rushed to fill that gap, and along with other conservative groups began to exert increasing pressure and influence on the BSA to maintain its anti-gay, pro=religious policies.
The result of all this has been that with over 70% of all BSA troops now affiliated with religious organizations, membership in the BSA has declined from approximately 8 million members in 1999 to 2.7 million today.
This decline of 2/3 of their membership numbers, as well as the total acceptance of gays and lesbians in the US Armed Forces, brought enormous pressure to bear upon the BSA to get their act together and join the 21st century by eliminating their anti-gay discrimination policies. To that end, the BSA proposed a change that would allow individual troops to decide whether or not to allow gays and lesbians into their troops. Their final decision was expected today.
Unfortunately, this policy, if it had been adopted, would have allowed gays into some troops while others that suffered from homophobia or severe religious overdose could continue to discriminate. However, over time, the lunatic-fringe-controlled troops would be singled out in the face of other “all-inclusive” troops becoming the majority.
Nonetheless, the BSA today announced that it will delay its decision on this defective policy until its national meeting (or Jamboree) in May 2013 because “due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy.”
Translation: The religious organizations, reinforced by ultra-conservative organizations such as the Family Research Council, are exerting enormous pressure on the BSA to hold the line on gay participation in the BSA; they need time between now and May to do the intense lobbying necessary to hold back ANY change in the BSA’s anti=gay, anti-lesbian, anti-transsexual policies.
The smart money says that the extreme-religious right will probably prevail in May. If that happens, the BSA may well degenerate into a militia-style ultra-right wing Hitler-youth type of organization.
Or…they might get adopted by the organization seen picketing here: the Westboro Baptist Church: