The Boy Scouts of America have spearheaded the national scouting movement since their founding in February of 1910. For over a century, the BSA have supplied boys across the nation with the skills required to form the foundation of manhood and success. The success of this organization for over a century has at times been brought under fire for their stance on religious and sexual diversity.
The BSA has stood upon its Christian foundation and has been forced to defend its exclusionary principles against atheists, agnostics and “open” homosexuals. When the Boy Scouts of America were formed, incorporated within the structure of the organization was a firm base of Christian ideals. This meant that anyone that did not adhere or who stood openly opposed to the guidelines set forth would be denied membership and have their status and rank as an active scout revoked. Their have been many instances of a scout, often times far into his Boy Scout career, being stripped of his rank because of his religious views or lack thereof.
Over the years, the argument against these practices has built to a crescendo and it seems that issue has finally garnered enough public attention to reach a tipping point. Scouting executives have come under fire for the organizations resistance to change its century old practices to fit modern times more adequately.
As an Eagle Scout myself, I find the BSA’s lack of movement on this issue a bit disturbing. Of course the argument can be made that since they are a private organization, they can change policy and practices as they see fit. After all, if you dont subscribe to the policies outlined within the Scout Oath, you dont have to join. They dont have to make the change to allow open atheists and homosexuals in. They reserve the right to remain steadfast, dominated by their antiquated policies and the status quo. The problem with this line of thinking is that we live in a day and age of free thinking and any roadblock to equality is seen as an affront to someones humanity.
I firmly believe that there is no reason for scouting to prohibit boys from joining their ranks purely based on their sexual orientation or religious affiliation. The time for following antiquated policies is over and the time to embrace the age we live in is now. I see no issue with allowing an openly atheist or homosexual boy into a troop as long as they are respectful of the customs and traditions of scouting, something which many of the boys who have already been kicked out were.
This shouldn’t be an issue in this day and age. We shouldn’t have to be concerned with the religious and sexual choices a boy makes within the privacy of his own mind. We should be more concerned with the legacy we as Scouts leave by denying these boys a future in a program that can do so much good, if we’d only let it.