Friday, May 24, 2013

My Thoughts on the Boy Scouts of America

Today, on my way to work I was listening to my local NPR station, 90.5 WNPR (a daily routine I love and live by) and heard a report on the outcome to the Boy Scouts of America policy decision related to accepting LGBTQ members and leaders in the future. It was a 50/50 split and I'm not surprised by the organization's decision to accept LBGTQ youth but not leaders. About 60 percent of the membership voted for this change. While I was hoping gay leaders would also be welcomed into the fold, I still see this as a win for gay rights advocates and an illustration that America is slowly but surely evolving on the issue of homosexuality. It's not everything I wanted to see, but it s a step in the right direction.

I'm glad to be ending this week with some good news that shows are nation is moving toward tolerance and acceptance. I realize that many folks aren't as happy as I am. Many Christian social conservatives have been outspoken about the vote and the policy change since it was announced. 

Governor Rick Perry, a Republican from Texas has been quoted in the media saying, "The Boy Scouts of America has been built upon the values of faith and family for more than 100 years," Perry said in a statement "And today’s decision contradicts generations of tradition in the name of political correctness. While I will always cherish my time as a scout and the life lessons I learned, I am greatly disappointed with this decision." 

I find it interesting that social conservatives try to spin gay rights advocacy efforts as political correctness and that their Christian values are being rebuked by society's secular agenda. Just because you practiced something for 100 years or even a thousand years doesn't make it right. 

One of the promising  things about human beings is that we can learn from our mistakes. I believe society's previous position to ask gay men and women to keep their sexual lives in the closet was wrong. I believe throwing your children out of the house because their gay is wrong. I also believe gay women and men have a right to marry like heterosexuals. I personally feel that social conservatives want to take us back to a time when this minority group of our population were discriminated against and their was no accountability. 

Now, many social conservatives plan to start their own version of the Boy Scouts organization that will stay true to their Christian beliefs. While it's their prerogative, such an action will be divisive and will do more harm than good in the long run. Gay, lesbian and transgender individuals aren't trying to force their sexuality on others, they want a safe space where they are respected and have the right to pursue their own happiness. Isn't that what America is all about? 

The fact remains the Boy Scouts of America members vote on this policy change was a half-win and as a society we still have our work cut out for us. I'm not ecstatic by vote that was a major shift for the organization, but I am encouraged by what it tells me about where we are at on the issue of homosexuality in society. We have come a long way, baby!

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