Thursday, August 20, 2009

Politics or Not ... Scouting

Should everything be politicized? Kids birthday parties? Medical care? Is celebrating Christmas anti-Semitic?

I was a member of the Boy Scouts of America. I can heartily recommend Scouting for skills & leadership development; we had great fun & learned a lot.

More than 100 million Americans have been part of the Scouting movement; the vast majority with excellent experiences. Each & every day, Scouting skills save lives. Thanks to Scouting, many people better understand nature and the wider world.

But some people now see Scouting as the Great Satan - for sexual intolerance.

Scouting sought to be an organization for young men, but otherwise asexual. Health, hygiene & first aid are taught, but sexual matters were deliberately avoided; family & health professionals were recommended for advice. Perhaps such a solution could not continue in an all-inclusive issue-based society. Why weren't girls welcome? And what if volunteer adult leaders abused their trust as chaperones?

The National Office, Boy Scouts of America was pressured to take unambiguous positions in the national struggle for tolerance & gender equality. Bigotry was certainly involved in the decision to refuse membership to avowed homosexuals. Parent worries about pedophilia became part of the debate. The majority of Scouts are pre-teens, sexuality not yet a major part of their lives. But sexual & gender battles developed around them, fought bitterly by others through to the Supreme Court of the USA. Hurray perhaps for legalism, politics & propriety. The boys are the losers...