So, the Boy Scouts are inching forward, perhaps trying to catch up with the times, perhaps trying tolerance…and, I’m certain, trying to retain members, and funding. Now, when I say inching, it is because lifting the ban on gay scout leaders — and scouts! — is still only under consideration and may only be at the national (umbrella) level, leaving local councils to deal with their policies at their own discretion.
If this turns out to be the final outcome of their consideration, it seems cowardly and short-sighted. Clearly, as highlighted in a January 29 Times article, there are individuals and families affected, the latter of which has been evolving for decades…even if the Boy Scouts have not. So now, in 2013, they’re prepared to enter the late-20th century? If the national organization does decide to leave it up to the locals, it also seems to me a perfect way to step back from their responsibility of leading policy decisions in favor of possibly throwing the locals “under the bus” during later policy arguments or litigation.
I’ve no qualms about saying that I’m one of the ones who thinks the Scouts should evolve quickly or risk losing their non-profit status and all of the financial benefits that come with it. This piecemeal evolution seems to allow the to have their proverbial cake and eat it too … not change the policy at a national level, retain funding and benefits for the umbrella organization while ensuring that local councils [that chose the status quo] bear the burdens of possible funding cuts and litigation. Even though they’re continuing policies that the national council has embraced forever, and may eventually simply condone to reduce its own burden of responsibility.
I think the national council, in terms that are kicked around today, should put on its big-boy pants. Change the ban on gays in Scouting across the board, at all levels, because it’s the right thing to do. Or, don’t change the policy at all (something I don’t recommend) but give up your non-profit status and the tax breaks and funding that come with it. Don’t do this half way and saddle the local councils with a burden that the national is trying to avoid.
Just my $.02 … or maybe $.03.