When did the Boy Scouts of America become strict literalists? Here’s the Boy Scout Oath:
On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country and
To obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.
When I was a Boy Scout, I never confused “morally straight” with “sexual-orientation straight.” Then, again, I thought God meant the same God that we invoke in the pledge of allegiance, a higher power that does not belong to a particular religion but one who wrote a universal morality on “the hearts of men.”
However, with “the worst kind of Christians” in leadership positions, the moral compass points straight in the most intolerant sense. Normally, I might simply be saddened to hear about the Boy Scouts’ decision, but remain silent. When they chose to exclude homosexuals from leadership positions within the organization, it was their (close-minded) right. Extending that policy to their membership is going too far for at least two obvious reasons:
1) Membership for many scouts begins in elementary school with Cub Scouts (including my own brief membership). At this age, every little boy claims girls are gross and morality is still being codified. Sexuality, in most cases, isn’t even a direction on the moral compass yet, unless that direction is the opposite of where the girls are hanging out.
Therefore initial membership can’t “weed out” the homosexuals. This means that homosexual boy scouts will be primarily targeted around high school age, when their sexual identities are manifesting, and when they’re the most vulnerable, emotionally. Nice policy, kick your members when they’re already down, dealing with hormones and high school.
2) The ultimate goal of a Boy Scout is, arguably, to become a member of the Order of the Arrow.* From BSA.org, the Mission of the Order of the Arrow:
The mission of the Order of the Arrow is to fulfill its purpose as an integral part of the Boy Scouts of America through positive youth leadership under the guidance of selected capable adults.
Boy Scouts are trained to become leaders, it’s a guiding principle throughout the organization. Do we want another generation of leaders who exclude homosexuals, and celebrate stagnation? More importantly, do we want more leaders who can define “positive leadership” as “making a definite contribution, constructive […] guiding and supporting others,” while simultaneously turning their backs on their own members in a time of need?
*Correction, I had originally implied a connection between the Order of the Arrow and the Arrow of Light. The former is the highest society that a Boy Scout must be elected into by his peers. The latter is the highest award that a Cub Scout can achieve. The sentence has been redacted, but the sentiment it contained is still true, my father was a badass Boy Scout.