How to Join the Boy Scouts
So you want to get in on all the fun and excitement that scouts have?
Well there are 3 things you have to do to become a Boy Scout and enjoy the fellowship of a patrol and a troop.
First you have to be at least 11 years old.
Second you have to find a Boy Scout troop near your home.
Third you have to know the rules of scouting….gays need not apply.
The third requirement may be changing.
Boy Scouts of America is considering dropping a longtime ban on gay members, ending its decades long policy.
Meeting the Boy Scout Test
“Simply coming in to a troop meeting and getting in with your future pals won’t make you a Boy Scout overnight,” explains the Scouting Handbook from 1962. There are skills you must learn and rules you must follow to be a full fledged scout.
Apparently gadar is one of the important skills a scout must develop as the rules were clearly spelled out when it comes to sexual orientation…scouting was not for ALL boys
The Boy Scouts has long held onto this antiquated policy reflecting a time when gays were silent and invisible.
This longtime policy of banning gays is as dated and quaint as these vintage illustrations are.
Who better to depict the red white and blue American Boy Scout than Norman Rockwell whose Brown & Bigelow Boy Scout calendar has always been a hands down best seller.
In 1912 Norman Rockwell was hired as staff artist for Boy Scout magazine Boys Life. At the tender age of 19 he took over as art director of the where he was paid $75 a month to do covers and some inside art work.
“That fellow in the upper left in Norman Rockwell’s painting celebrating the 50 years of Boy Scouts, doesn’t show 50 years of wear and neither does the scroll he is passing on to his modern counterparts,” the description reads on this February 1960 illustration from Boys Life. ” Matter of fact.” they say proudly, “that code spelled out on the scroll has stood up to 50 grand years of scouting.”
Fifty years later the code is indeed beginning to show some wear and tear.
The Boy Scouts notorious history of excluding gay youth from their organization, contrasts starkly with their flag waving emphasis on equality and citizenship.
“The scout oath and the scout laws are meant to be your guide to citizenship”, the 1962 Boy Scout Handbook advises us, defining “what it means to be a good American, becoming the kind of citizen our country needs and deserves.”
An important component of the Boy Scout Code states- “I will recognize the dignity and worth of my fellow men and will use fair play and good will in dealing with them.”
“To you and me, America is the finest country in the world. But it is not just the land we live in, it is also the kind of life for which America stands- democracy.”
The Scouts stand firmly for democracy.
“It is your duty as a scout and as an American to help keep that democracy alive. To do this you must know the true meaning of America, you must believe in her forms of government, you must be willing to do your part to keep America great.”
“The Americans creed sums up in the words of great Americans the things for which America stands. It points out your rights and privileges’ and your duties as an American citizen.”
“I believe in the United States of America……as a government by the people for the people…” Of, by, and for the people- not just some of them, but all of them. Not just the rich or the poor, not just people of one race or one creed, but all the people- the people to which the declaration of independence refers when it says: All men, are created equal.”
Some scouting units have recently lost their sponsors and many corporations have cut off donations because the ban violates their non discrimination policies. In recent years it has forced more and more criticism for this controversial policy as the US has become more accepting of gay rights.
A slew of negative headlines began appearing: A lesbian Mom was kicked out of her position as a den leader in Ohio. The Eagle scout application of a California teen who came out was rejected. Last summer a 19 year old Eagle Scout in Missouri was fired from his job at a scout summer camp after he announced he was gay.
Is this really the American Way?
“It is important to America and to yourself that you become a citizen of fine character physically strong mentally awake and morally straight”, we are told in the introduction of the Handbook.
“The strength of America depends on YOU.”
“You are the guardian of what the early Americans have built. You are the American on whom the future of our wonderful country depends.”
At a time when President Obama became the first president to use the term “gay” in reference to sexual orientation in an inaugural speech the idea that scouting might reflect the actual diversity of thought like the multicultural and sexually diverse fabric of modern America is encouraging.
If the Boy Scouts wish to remain relevant in the modern era, they must start by changing their discriminatory and bigoted attitudes towards gay youth and adult volunteers.
Scouting truly is for ALL Boys!
Copyright (©) 2013 Sally Edelstein All Rights Reserved