This is a comment by Ryan Hauck on the post “No Equality Badge For Boy Scouts Of America“.
Ryan Hauck said:
I think the BSA did its due diligence in making the decision they’ve made. I believe they looked at this as a business decision and not a moral one. Based on the study summary, the number of people estimated to leave if the BSA fully lifts the ban is an order of magnitude larger than those who would sign up as a result (and that doesn’t even include the LDS membership.) The study results didn’t mention how many additional people were estimated to leave if the ban is not fully rescinded, but I imagine the numbers are similar to the latter group. The BSA Executive Board has to proceed carefully here to avoid an implosion of the organization. I think they’re very smart people and realize that they have to effect change in stages.
I’ve struggled with the BSA’s policy for years — well before I had a son, or even had thoughts of starting a family (my oldest is almost 9). I had almost a decade to think about it before having to act. Ultimately it came down to my belief that changing the BSA has to come from within. The BSA is already constitutionally protected from being changed by external forces.
If everyone who opposed the ban left the organization, it would only become more homogenous and stubborn and socially conservative; change would *never* happen. It has to come from the membership — and in fact this current movement is primarily a result of internal discussion and pressure. Of course there’s significant external pressure, but the driving force is coming from individuals, councils, and board members who “wear the uniform.” I’m doing more good within the organization than I could possibly do from outside it. By engaging volunteers and parents as a respected colleague and not a random opponent, it becomes a conversation instead of an attack. They listen instead of withdrawing. I’ve already found that leaders I would *never* have expected to support lifting the ban—including two Southern Baptist ministers!—are in fact receptive to lifting or partially lifting it, if not outright supportive.
My Pack has lost leaders and scouts during my term as Cubmaster because of the BSA’s policy (and I have friends and family—former scouts — who refuse to participate as well). I encouraged them to stay and was upset when they left. But if I quit the organization, chances increase that the next Cubmaster will actively enforce the BSA’s ban. (I know for a fact my current Assistant Cubmaster unequivocally supports the ban.) As long as I’m a respected leader, however — and if I do say so myself, I’m a damn good Cubmaster—I have a real chance of influencing my pack, the troop above us, my chartered organization, my district, and my council. That’s an uphill battle—like Sharisse, I live in the Bible Belt and my views are very much a minority. However I still own the authority to air my views in a way that my council has to accept as legitimate — they cannot dismiss me as a random angry citizen who takes pleasure in heaping scorn on the big, bad Boy Scouts.
The effort to lift the ban on gays requires all of us to play different parts. There are those who fight by withholding support and those who fight by insisting that our support be accepted. Since the BSA currently has full authority to expel gay people without heeding their voice, it’s up to their allies — who are harder to demote or expel, especially now that the BSA has given us free license to openly disagree with policy — to be that voice within the organization. And I think it’s finally starting to work. After all it took over 20 years to get to the point that the BSA leadership even raised this as a question, yet in the span of less than a year they’ve gone from affirming the ban to suggesting multiple ways to allay or eliminate it.
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