Posted: May 24, 2013 10:00 AM
 
On May 23, 2013, the Boy Scouts of America voted by secret ballot to lift its 103-year ban on openly gay members. Many are hailing this as a step in the right direction toward ending what they call discriminatory practices by the iconic organization. For me, it's the last step in that direction I'll accept. I'm OK with gay members — just please keep the gay leaders out.

I've always dreamed of having my children be Scouts. Growing up, I desperately wanted to be a Girl Scout, but my parents were too busy working and had no time. I knew when I became a mom, I was going to be a Girl Scout Troop Leader, my husband was going to be a Boy Scout Troop Leader, or we would both lead — it would just be a simple matter of whether God graced us with daughters or sons.

I've always dreamed of raising Scouts

boy scoutsAs an adult, that dream remained. About once a month, the Boy Scouts play a prominent role at mass, with uniformed troop leaders serving as ushers and uniformed Scouts presenting the gifts. Every time I see them, I envision my boys starting off in their Cub Scout blues before moving on to the traditional tan uniform we all know and love. Visions of my 4-year-old and 2-year-old obtaining Eagle Scout, the highest advancement rank in Boy Scouting, dance through my head. In a world where character, citizenship and faith seem to be diminishing in value for society as a whole, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have held true to their century-long standards. At least until yesterday they did. Yesterday, by secret ballot, the BSA's National Council voted to allow “open and avowed” gay Scouts into the ranks.

This vote honestly makes me sad. Not because gay boys will be Scouts — I take little issue with that. I feel all young boys can benefit from the teaching of the BSA. Scouts are trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave and reverent. Our world could do much better with more men holding these Scout qualities dear. My sadness comes from the obvious direction this vote is taking the organization as a whole. First, gay Scouts. Next, gay leaders. This vote is a clear break from the faith-based policy BSA has always adhered to, and I suspect another vote won't be too far off.

This vote seems to be more about achieving political correctness than making ethical and moral choices by following Scout Oath and Law. Which teaches our boys to do what everyone else thinks you should do, rather than to stick to your guns on what you believe.

Do what's right or what's popular?

More importantly, this vote make me sad because it is completely out of character with what the BSA has always touted as its mission: to "prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law." Just last July, a BSA task force unanimously concluded that Scout policy on the issue of gay members and leaders was "the absolute best policy for the Boy Scouts of America." Now, less than one year later that "absolute best policy" is apparently absolutely wrong. This vote seems to be more about achieving political correctness than making ethical and moral choices by following Scout Oath and Law. Which teaches our boys to do what everyone else thinks you should do, rather than to stick to your guns on what you believe.

The next vote isn't far off

I shouldn't be forced into discussing something with him before I feel he's ready.

My prediction is we will see another vote within a couple of years, another secret vote this time on allowing openly gay troop leaders. Truthfully I hope if it happens, it happens soon. I would much rather my boys never become Scouts than have to pull them out when (not if) gay leaders are allowed. I want to choose when to teach my children about sexuality issues, and it isn't something I want to discuss when they are seven. If openly gay people are allowed to serve in leadership roles for the Scouts, that is a conversation I would feel compelled to have immediately with my child. I'm sure some would say "Good, you should have that conversation," but my child isn't your child, and I shouldn't be forced into discussing something with him before I feel he's ready.

My dreams of my boys being involved in a value-based youth development organization weren't dashed yesterday, just altered. Much like American Heritage Girls was founded when the Girl Scouts of America started deviating from faith and partnering with Planned Parenthood, a replacement Boy Scouts will arise. Sooner rather than later, I hope, so I can begin fantasizing about my boys in their uniforms instead.

The flip side^ Hear from a mom who is glad her sons don't want to be Boy Scouts because she's still upset that gay leaders aren't allowed. Read I'm glad my boys don't want to be Boy Scouts.

More tough topics

Parenting a gay teen
Boy Scouts and bigotry
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