28 July 2015

Can open, worms everywhere.

I have a daughter and a son (so far).

I was already 100% sure that my daughter would never be a Girl Scout. That is because of the Girl Scouts' extremely troubling involvement with Planned Parenthood, and also their founding membership in WAGGGS (the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts), which has been known to send girls to petition the UN for sexual and reproductive rights. This from an organization intended for girls under 18.

Just today I saw the news that the Boy Scouts of America have decided to end the ban on gay scout leaders. There is a tiny silver lining in that there is an exemption in place for scout troupes that are sponsored by churches. (For now.)

I'll say it straight out: this is depraved.

This is obviously a touchy subject. The BSA has been fighting making this change for years in the face of enormous pressure and has evidently finally buckled under the strain. And let me be clear: I'm not suggesting that all gay men are pedophile predators, or that there's no reason other than sexual interest that a gay man might be interested in being a scout leader. But the reality of the situation is that some scouts are 18, or nearly so. Furthermore, unlike other jobs that men can hold which brings them into regular proximity to potential objects of desire (for instance, high school teachers), the boy scouts go camping. Overnight. And it's not as if high school teachers have a stellar track record of keeping themselves from temptation under circumstances that afford them far less privacy with the teens by whom they find themselves tempted.

I was recently discussing this with a priest friend. His pastor has put him in charge of deciding these issues in his parish and he's feeling paralyzed with indecision. On one hand, the church-sponsored troupes of both the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts are faith-centered in a way the national charters can apparently no longer sustain. On the other hand, he's worried about the trend, and how long the church-sponsored troupes will be allowed to maintain their independence in these matters.

I told him about how my pastor denied the Girl Scouts meeting space in our parish a couple of years ago. It made national news. Obviously some of that coverage was extremely unfriendly. But it blew over, and fast. In my opinion, I told my priest friend, it's smarter to cut ties now and face the angry parents -- and there will be angry parents -- than to wait until he's looking at a lawsuit for refusing to allow a gay scout leader in his troupe. I don't know what he's going to do, but this decision makes the need to decide more acute.

My decision is made: my son will not be a Boy Scout, any more than my daughter will be a Girl Scout.

Such a shame.

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