Alternatives to Boy Scouts offer better opportunities, diversity, acceptance

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I’ve always been of the opinion that if people don’t want me, they can go you-know-what themselves.

Which is why when the Boy Scouts of America scandal surrounding its intolerance of openly gay troop members and leaders arose, I couldn’t help but wonder why proud and out gay men would fight to be part of a bigoted organization.

I do think the BSA needs to change its policy, unless 10 years from now it wants to be lumped in the same category of crazy we lump segregationists from the 1960s. 

But, some causes are lost causes. I have zero fondness of Boy Scouts myself. Where I grew up, the Boy Scouts were linked with the church I belonged to, and it provided the framework for the weekly activities for teenage boys. 

These were not the nicest boys around. In fact, they were downright cruel. They played pranks on my younger brothers, such as pouring toothpaste on their heads or calling them mean nicknames in order to get a rise out of the two of them. They made crude comments about girls, they lied and cheated in school, and they broke a lot of the foundational moral rules of that religion.

I get that’s not true for everyone. However, whenever I hear about the Boy Scouts of America, those boys are inextricably linked to that organization in my mind. So, whenever I hear arguments about maintaining tradition or moral values, I have to scoff and roll my eyes because the organization I grew up with didn’t do a very good job of instilling either. 

To hear people defend the BSA for its traditional, antiquated values enforces my belief that the intolerant and backward thinkers of the world, who will be left in the dust as society hopefully progresses, can have it.

An organization that would condone such “boys will be boys” behavior (which is what my parents were told when they brought their grievances to troop leaders) can go ahead and waste away on the shelf of intolerance along with Jim Crow laws, miscegenation and “No Irish Need Apply.” 

Rather, the openly gay troops and leaders should let the BSA waste away and turn their attention to more progressive scouting programs, such as Camp Fire USA, which, according to their website campfireusa.org, aims to “reduce sexual, racial, and cultural stereotypes and to foster positive intercultural relationships. In Camp Fire, everyone is welcome.” Instead of fighting to join a bigoted organization, opponents of the BSA’s policy should focus their energy and efforts into promoting and expanding programs that make inclusion a core value.