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Friday, September 30, 2016

There was a time, many years ago, when the Boy Scouts of America took a courageous stand in the face of bigotry.

For years, the Scouts had awarded a badge of honor bearing a swastika. It was called the Thanks Badge, meant to reward kindness. For centuries, the swastika was known only as an ancient symbol of well-being.

Then, in 1933, Adolf Hitler co-opted the swastika, declaring it the official Nazi symbol. The next year, the Boys Scouts dropped the swastika from their badge. In 1936, the Scouts announced that anyone who had been awarded the old badge could swap it for the new one.

I first wrote about this in 2002, praising the Scouts’ willingness to change, in contrast to those Americans who still insisted on displaying the Confederate flag, forever a symbol of one of the ugliest periods in U.S. history.

How I wish the Boy Scouts of America’s leadership of today could summon the same courage, the same commitment to justice.

Two years ago, under public pressure, the BSA assembled a committee of 11 “volunteers and professional leaders” to examine its policy of barring open gay Scouts and gay or lesbian adults from serving as leaders. In July of this year, the Scouts’ executive committee announced that this committee had affirmed this practice of discrimination.

The Scouts refused to disclose details about the process or the names of those who served on the committee. Think of it as the Boy Scouts version of a super PAC: You can promote bigotry, without fear of anyone’s knowing your name.

In a news release, BSA insisted that its policy to exclude gay boys and adults “reflects the beliefs and perspectives” of the organization.

“While a majority of our membership agrees with our policy, we fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society,” said then-Chief Scout Executive Bob Mazzuca, who has since retired.

The Girl Scouts, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the Four-H Club and even the U.S. military now forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Boy Scouts seemed to think that those who don’t agree with the policy would nevertheless defer to its stop-secret panel of prejudice.

The BSA’s hope, it appears, was that the pesky discontents would take their protests elsewhere.

And that’s exactly what is happening.

  • they want to ban openly gay members or mentors while hiding pervets on a Penn State scale ! who do they think they are ? the Catholic Church ? yes some gay men are pedophiles but so are some straight men /straight women/gay women. i’ve known teachers/preachers/cops/cabbies/cooks and people from many walks of life that were gay and good people or should i say good people and gay.

    • Either way. Gay people are people. Anything else a gay person is derives from his or her being a person.

    • phantomoftheopera

      actually, pedophiles are not considered straight OR gay. they are pedophiles. that is their sexual orientation.

      of course, they never consider that, if they say gays can’t be in boy scouts because they will abuse, then straights–particularly men–can’t be anyway near girls. works the same way. we would, of course, see that as ridiculous. need to see both the same.

  • daniel bostdorf

    We also need to have a dialog about bullying people with brain chemistry disorders A/K/A “mental illness.

    I hope—as National Mental Health Week” approaches in October….that the National Memo will highlight survivors of bullying and mental illness.

    Bullying itself is a mental illness.

  • Ms. Schultz, I suggest (humbly, I hope) that the organizations pulling support from the BSA help the poor the Scouts were helping directly, cutting out the bigoted and homophobic middleman

  • totenkatz

    I support the Boy Scouts and, as a private organization, can decide who to omit and who not to omit. The author and those withholding their monetary support for the Boy Scouts are the bullies. They are trying to bully the Boy Scouts into supporting their way of thinking by withholding funding or calling the Boy Scouts names. Those who cry for tolerances and understanding the loudest are those that don’t practice either. This article is exhibit A.

    • discussant99

      Let me get this straight. The Boy Scouts, being a private organization, can decide to pick and choose who can be a member. However, Intel, a corporation — or me, a private citizen — is required to give money to the Boy Scouts organization or be labeled by you as a “bully”?

      Moreover, those darned people who “cry for tolerances [sic] and understanding” are refusing to tolerate and understand homophobia and bigotry. Imagine that. The nerve of them!

      A truly astounding display of “logic” there, totenkatz.

      • totenkatz

        I agree you and the private coorporations can give money to whom ever you please just don’t try to bully others to believe as you do. And you make my point you are using the words homophobia and bigotry not the Boy Scouts. If you think a Boy Scout of any age is a homophobe just because he is a Boy Scout you are the bully and you are intolerant!!

        • Sand_Cat

          Pretty weak.

          • totenkatz

            But true

    • Quirt Evans

      Well stated, Toten.

  • Perhaps the lack of tolerance now seen in the Boy Scouts of America has something to do with the fact that a huge percent of its controlling staff and hierarchy are now Mormons. Mormons have a history of intolerance for other beliefs and personal liberties. It is a sad day for the Boy Scouts of America.

  • 13observer

    totenkatz hit it right on the money! They have EVERY RIGHT to exclude anyone they wish! People don’t like it when certain faiths are PUSHED on them…. just like the Boy Scouts don’t like the gays trying to PUSH their way into the Scouts! Too bad, so sad!

    • discussant99

      Arguably, the Boy Scouts can get away with discriminating against gay members or troop leaders. But should they? Clearly there will be financial consequences (unless pro-discrimination groups take up the slack). But more importantly, what are the moral implications here? I can see why pedophiles should not be allowed into Boy Scouts. But what does that have to do with gays and lesbians? Two different things, logically speaking.

    • You sound a lot like Todd Akin…businesses should be allowed to exorcise their “FREEDOM” he called it to discriminate against women. They have EVERY RIGHT to discriminate against women according to Akin. I am just assuming you have no problem with that. right? I bet your daughter or wife or sister would have real problems with your attitude towards them being discriminated against, but I bet you’re to chicken shit to tell them you are a bigot. “THE GAYS” as you call them have no more control over their sexual orientation than your mother did over her gender, but it’s fine for you to point your accusing finger at them and demand that they remain separate from your happy little clique of “GOOD FOLKS”, and hey you have freedom of speech so go for it; but be man enough to tell all the women in your life that you consider them second class citizens too. Oh that’s too much isn’t it.

  • rothgar

    Yes BSA is a private institution except for the fact that the Boy Scouts have (or had) a special charter from Congress granting it exclusions from amongst other things anti-trust laws. As private institutions companies like Intel are welcome to withhold their donations.

    It is the link between pedophilia and homosexuality that is part of the problem here. Ignorant homophobes see the two as linked. It was completely idiotic that a Lesbian couldn’t be a Cub Scout leader there is no chance of threat of any untoward advances in that case.

    One of the biggest pedophiles in the National Capital Area Council is a friend and fraternity brother – he spent 15 years in jail for his crimes. In College, he was so Homophobic he nearly beat up a friend of mine who was wearing a Law School Honor Society shirt because it had a Lambda on it. I don’t think the Scouts have ever revoked his rank of Eagle.

    They may get mine back!

    But I spent so much effort getting it, I am reluctant to let these bullies take such a prized possession.

    According to another friend and fellow Eagle Scout, who is active as an adult in Scouting told me, Ms. Peckler is completely correct. It is the threat that 1/3rd of all troops those run by the Mormons will quit BSA if this rule is ever changed that is keeping BSA from seriously considering removing the ban on Gay scouts and leaders.

    More Mormon bullying — anyone seeing a thread here?

    Perhaps it is hard to fathom but Boys generally enter scouting at 6, 7, or 11 years old. To think they know their sexual orientation at those ages is absurd. As they grow up and discover these urges it is in my view hateful to strip them of what may be an activity where they are excelling because of who God made them.

    It is equally hateful to strip the adult support from an aspiring straight Scout because his parent(s) are gay. I went though Scouts without much parental support and earned Eagle and it was a pretty challenging. My parents were interested in other activities so I did Scouts on my own. My Dad went on 1 camp-out in 7 years.

    The problem is the Mormon threat.

    • CAThinker

      Interesting and enlightening… I spent five years of my pre-teens in Southeast Idaho, my father a Navy transfer to support the Navy’s nuclear training site there. This was the early 70s and the scandal at the time was that the Mormon church wouldn’t allow a black man to be a BSA troop leader… Being from So Cal (and returning to So Cal afterward – that’s what the CA in CAThinker is) it was absolutely foreign to me that the boy scouts could discriminate like that. But then, I got to live it myself – a brown (pacific islander) catholic kid in SE Idaho – the discrimination wasn’t overt or institutionalized like it was in the south but palpable all the same. The division at the time was Mormon or non-Mormon… And fortunately I found a troop that was associated with a Lutheran church… that took everyone… So while I couldn’t go camping with the kids in my neighborhood (Mormons), I didn’t miss out on the boy scout experience. The message – screw ’em. If the Mormons troops drop out let them – there are plenty of other troops to take their place.

      • “If the Mormons troops drop out let them – there are plenty of other troops to take their place.”

        Unfortunately, there really aren’t. At least one-third of Boy Scout youth and adults today are members of the Mormon church. Boy Scouting is an official part of their youth ministry. In some councils, particularly those in rural or otherwise remote locations, it is very difficult to recruit boy members, scoutmasters, and other adult volunteers.

    • totenkatz

      Wow you throw all Mormons into one basket under the guise of how tolerant you are? Please re-read what you wrote here. Another point is the debate on how old you are when you form your sexual orientation. I’m sorry your parents didn’t support your interest in Scouting and I’m sorry it has made you an angry and bitter person. Who knows 10 years from now the Boy Scouts might change their position on gays and allow them into Scouting I really don’t care. What I care about is freedom to choose whether I agree with that choice or not.

      • rothgar

        So I report from the inside about the reasoning and politics of the decision to retain the ban on homosexuals in the Boy Scout and you claim I am lumping all Mormons into one group — well in this case it appears they proudly are in one basket. That would be a homophobic basket. If America is ready to discard that basket I think we’ll be better off.

        I guess you missed the hypocracy that a real BSA Pedophile has not been stripped of his rank (to my knowledge) but if he came out as a gay man (unlikely) they would have stripped him of his rank. Missed that one.

        From the gay folks I’ve known I reject the idea that orientation is a choice. When did you (or I) chose to be straight?

        Whether my parents supported me or not is not the issue. They didn’t support my attempt to obtain a ROTC scholarship or get a College degree but I got both of them. My parents had a special needs child to deal with so my needs were subordinated which I agreed with, understood and still do. My point was that straight children of gay parents are also hurt by this policy.

        I am very proud of my accomplishments thank you very much.

        That doesn’t mean I want to inflict my challenges on others to satisfy Mormon homophobes.

        • totenkatz

          I understood your point. There are bad people in all organizations. But again you lump all Mormons in one basket and call all Mormons homphobes so again you prove my point. You are a name calling bully.

          • Of course not all Mormons are homophobes, any more than all Roman Catholics are (or all Scouts). But the fact remains that the official policies of both organizations are strongly homophobic, and they spend their members’ money accordingly. It should be no surprise that any organization in which the Mormons have become so predominant as the BSA would be held hostage to
            this obsession.

            Boy Scouting in America is dying a slow and painful death, thanks partly to homophobes and partly to pedophobes. I’m sorry to see it. Growing up male in our society is not getting any easier.

          • totenkatz

            So you are a homophobe if you agree with the offical policies of the Boy Scouts against gay membership? Do you even know what homophobe means? Okay you make my point again you are a bully since you support the notion that anyone who agrees with the Boy Scout position is a homophobe therefore all Boy Scouts are homophobes as are all their parents. You can’t have it both ways. You are the one calling the Boy Scouts homophes, you are the one lumping them all together. No room for disagreement in your world.

    • daniel bostdorf

      We also need to have a dialog about bullying people with brain chemistry disorders A/K/A “mental illness.

      I hope—as National Mental Health Week” approaches in October….that the National Memo will highlight survivors of bullying and mental illness.

      Bullying itself is a mental illness.

      • rothgar

        Agreed.

        I suspect the Bullying is a sign of other underlying mental issues.

        I hope in the throes of the Political Silly Season we can have this discussion.

        I suspect that Bullying as an individual or group is at the root (the castigation of otherness) of a lot of ugly tendencies among humanity – discrimination, racism, totalitarianism, intolerance, tribalism, genocide, etc.

        At least when an individual bully is involved the victim has the chance to counteract the bullying (most commonly through shows of intense force). After I threw a chair at the brothers who were harassing me because I had a broken foot I never had trouble from them again. OK so noone will be picking me for a non0violent demonstration anytime soon.

        It is a lot harder when everyone else is picking on someone like commonly happened with LBGT folks in earlier days.

      • Quirt Evans

        But, my friend, some will argue that homosexuality is a mental illness.

  • discussant99

    As an aside, as I read the Intel statement, the company was not giving funds directly to the Boy Scouts in the first place. They were giving funds to local troops with which Intel employees work, as troop leaders and whatnot. (Intel, an enlightened company, generously funds charitable activities of their employees, who are also given a number of days off per year for such community activities.)

    Intel says it is willing to keep funding any individual troops that do not discriminate against gay members (in other words, those that ignore the bigoted policies of the national organization). I suspect that plenty of troops already ignore the prohibition — surreptitiously, perhaps, under a kind of “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. But now this sets those troops up for conflict with the national office — if you’re getting Intel funds, ipso facto, you’re not following the rules. It’ll be interesting to see how this shakes out.

    BTW, Boy Scouts (and similar organizations) in Europe have long had non-discrimination policies concerning gay people. And guess what? The sky is still in place.

  • jjrjon

    These people who feel compelled to undermind an American Institution (The Boy Scouts of America) should seriously consider establishing “The Gay and Lesbain Scouts of America”. That way they can be proud how their organization stands out, and they can do what Gays and Lesbains do, whatever that may be. I’m sure they would have full Gay and Lesbain participation.

    • Sand_Cat

      “Separate but equal,” right?

    • American institutionalized discrimination????? Yeah JJ no surprize that you give that your full throated support. Fortunatly for the rest of us we have moved past the need to fear everyone who is different. You and your antiquated ideas of what’s right for everyone are only 10-15 years from being completely irrelevant. How sad you will be when you have to find some backwoods swamp hovel full of toothless inbred idiots just so you can have a political discusssion with people who think like you. You should find them now so you will have somewhere to move when the rest of the world moves on without you.

      • jjrjon

        Yes Joel, I did give my full throated opinion, and its working. You and I are having this irrelevant discussion. Fortunately in these great United States a person has the right to voice his opinion weather you like it or not. What’s the matter Joel, you’re Name calling. Did I hit a nerve? It scares me that you and your backwoods swamp hovel full of toothless inbred idiots seek to force your agenda upon the masses. Everyone or anyone may be different, however for the other’s that are different I don’t see them trying to force their agenda upon everyone else as your group is attempting to do. If we disagree you start the name calling. What’s with that? I don’t fear anyone, least wise your backwoods swamp hovel full of toothless inbred idiot friends. Just look, they live amongst us as you do. So when you want to brag about your sexual orientation please do it in private. Please keep in mind other normal people are not interested.

  • 13observer

    I sent my kid to the scouts to learn “values” not alternate lifestyles! Just like you don’t like “Bible thumpers” don’t PUSH you gay sh*t in my house!

    • Methinks thou dost protest too much…..got a little itch don’t ya 130.

  • John Austin

    Is the sexual orientation of Boy Scouts relevant to any Scouting activities? I’d be more worried about leadership that thinks so than I would about gay youths participating.

  • John Austin

    We’re all so sorry that reality has had to intrude into your life. I hope your child learns from exposure to values other than your own. He (or she) should adopt the ones that ring true whoever they come from. The thing I am most proud of in my son is all of the things he has learned that I never knew. He explained football to me better than anyone ever has (at fifteen) and I’ve been a fan since Jim Brown was playing. He has a better understanding of people than I ever did and he claims that his mother and I helped him learn it.

    I

  • John Austin

    Most scouts won’t fall for the homophobe trap. Most people know that orientation is a natural trait. I suspect those who feel strongly that it is a choice, believe it because they have chosen to fight their own natural traits by choosing heterosexuality.

    • rothgar

      And from comments I’ve heard from far-right co-workers perhaps rely on the law to keep them motivated to surmount their urges. Believe it or not that is what I’ve heard.

    • Quirt Evans

      So, you’re saying that if a man is heterosexual, he chose to be that way by fighting his own homosexuality? I think you’re reaching a little too far on that one. One’s response might be that you are proving that people can choose to be straight or gay. Is that what you’re really saying?

      • You really just can’t read can you. Both you and toten are totally twisting context to suit your argument. Discrimination is discrimination pure and simple. It is intollerable in any organization private or public. Who is to blame is irrelevant, discrimination exists in the BSA. It’s a fact. It should stop, and it will stop. Arguing whether every Mormon is a homophobe or not is irrelevant as well. It is a fact that the mormon church discriminates against homosexuals just like the completely hypocritical Catholic church does. It should stop but it probably won’t…but that’s ok Catholic churches are dying on the vine anyway. I suspect that the Mormon church, although still growing due to it’s rabid missionary program, will soon see it’s rolls start to dwindle when it’s rediculous rules start to become even more well known.

  • John Austin

    Founded by that good ole ‘merrikan boy Lord Baden Powell.

  • daniel bostdorf

    We also need to have a dialog about bullying people with brain chemistry disorders A/K/A “mental illness.

    I hope—as National Mental Health Week” approaches in October….that the National Memo will highlight survivors of bullying and mental illness.

    Bullying itself is a mental illness.

    • Quirt Evans

      But, some would argue, so is homosexuality.

  • wtny64

    Hey, ‘Mrs Brown’! I didn’t know you were here-I didn’t even know about the site, I got it from a link. I’ll make this spot to my list of daily reading…

  • Quirt Evans

    Your idea may have some merit. But, would they let the heterosexual kids join? Or the Mormon kids?

  • I know you don’t know the difference between gay and a pedophile because you allow pedophiles in but keep gay out you need a real education to make the right decision. Pedophiles are most times not gay learn the differerence