One more step on the road to ruin

The national office of the Boy Scouts of America has taken the unprecedented step of reversing a local council’s Eagle award decision, officially denying Ryan Andresen the rank on the grounds that he is gay.

Advancement in the Boy Scouts is essentially automatic up until Eagle; you do your merit pages and whatnot, reach the requisite time in the prior rank, and you get promoted. Eagle is different; you have to complete a significant service project, and then go before a (local to your troop) committee for review. I always saw this step as a final check, so to speak, to avoid promoting fairweather Eagles not actually committed to scouting — resume padders or people otherwise unfit at the character level, I guess. My own committee had only one person on it other than my scoutmaster, if I recall correctly, but other councils may do it differently. In any case, it is that body whose decision is final. They forward the paperwork to some office, and your Eagle kit comes back to be awarded at the next Court of Honor.

That BSA would rescind the decision of a local council here is enormous, and it shows precisely how much of a pawn of right-wing interests the group has become — and makes it clear that cries of “well, it’s just the national office that’s bigoted; my local group is fine!” are misguided. That the Mormon church is the single largest supporter of Scouting is a major part of this problem.

It’s a damn shame. My experience with Scouting in the middle 1980s was formative and valuable. There are no mini-Heathen to steer away from it, but the overt, bigoted, rightward trend has absolutely kept me from volunteering my time with local scouting groups, which is something I always thought I’d be happy to do. I certainly never thought I’d feel the level of shame for their behavior that I do now. Dammit, I’m from Mississippi; I don’t need another group acting all stupid for me to be ashamed of — magnolia-tinged shenanigans take up enough of my head-shaking as it is.

2 thoughts on “One more step on the road to ruin

  1. I think the Scouting experience still is formative and valuable for boys today. It may be that there really is something wrong with my worldview, but the homosexual angle just doesn’t register with me on any level and I suppose it never will. I suspect the Boy Scouts position will evolve over time.

    I never really thought about it, but is there a solid alternative to the Boy Scouts out there that attempts to do roughly the same thing as well as they do it? If the alternative is to simply immerse boys in the grotesque mire of contemporary pop culture and hope for the best, I’m sticking with the Boy Scouts. I suspect 99% of the participants don’t give a damn about the gay issue one way or the other. Now, Scouting? That, I bet, they care about.

    I work with a guy who has been an amazingly devoted and nationally recognized Scoutmaster his whole life (a frighteningly accomplished IT wizard from way back…Bell Labs…all that shit), and now that you mention it, I have no doubt you would be an extraordinary Scoutmaster. Much is lost here, nobody wins, and none of it makes sense.

  2. Kids who aren’t gay get taught there’s something wrong with it. Kids who are gay hear the same lesson, and wonder if it’s true.

    Game, set, match.