The Boy Scouts of America are pushing back the decision whether to lift their ban against homosexual members. The decision was supposed to be announced Wednesday but was extended to May at the earliest.
The extension on the decision shows just how controversial this topic is to the Scouts. According to NPR, 70 percent of all Scout units are sponsored by religious organizations and churches. The Scouts’ national headquarters in Irving, Texas, held a prayer rally on Wednesday in support of the ban against homosexual members.
After all, what is more Christ-like than massive discrimination against a prominent group of people? It’s what Jesus would have done, even though in the Bible, Jesus never mentions homosexuality.
The Boy Scouts are celebrating their 103rd anniversary this year and considering lifting the ban would go against almost a century of their tradition.
“No one will want to sleep in the same tent as a gay Scout,” said Peggy Kilcrease, an assistant district commissioner for the Mountain Lake District in Grand Prairie, Texas. Kilcrease has been a part of Scouting for 40 years, according to DallasNews.com.
“We need to keep our boys straight and keep them safe.”
Nothing says straight and safe like a bunch of little boys and fully grown men in embellished costumes going out into the wilderness alone. It’s the American way.
According to NPR, Scoutmaster Darrel Russell of Weatherford took his family to the prayer rally. Russell said having gays in the scouting movement would be like mixing boys and girls, because someone’s sex and someone’s sexual preference are completely and totally the same thing. I’m sure he got an “A” for anatomy in high school.
Russell intends to shut down his troop if the ban is lifted. The suffering of all is more important than learning tolerance.
The Scouts don’t have the best reputation for change and nondiscrimination. After all, it wasn’t even until 1974 that all troops allowed African Americans to integrate, according to the African American Registry.
The Supreme Court ruled that the ban was perfectly legal almost 10 years ago, but currently the Scouts have been getting pressure on all sides. There has been a drop in membership during the past decade from 3.3 million to 2.7 million. There has also been a major pull of funding from big companies after their refusal to lift the ban last year. Verizon, Intel, UPS and some religious organizations such as local United Way chapters have all cut back funding, according to the Washington Post.
Former Scout members and leaders have obtained 1.4 million signatures in opposition to the ban. According to NPR, Quinnipiac University found through a national poll that 55 percent of Americans favored ending the ban, while only 33 percent wanted to see it upheld. The margin of error for that poll was only 2.3 percent.
Part of the Scouts’ Oath goes as such in regards to God: “You do your duty to God ... by respecting and defending the rights of others to practice their own beliefs.” And with regards to being morally straight: “You should respect and defend the rights of all people.”
One can only hope that this oath will be upheld and this ban lifted.
Jessica Ensley is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University and a columnist for The Post. Should the Boy Scouts allow gay members and leaders? Email Jessica at firstname.lastname@example.org.