We haven’t told my son that we are pulling him out of Cub Scouts yet.
We haven’t told him because we want to sit down with him and talk about why. I have talked to him about the anti-gay policies that the Boy Scouts felt the need to reiterate a few weeks ago, and I told him why I believed that they were wrong, but since then my husband and I have talked more about it and decided that we cannot in good conscience let our child be a part of an organization that discriminates against people based on their sexual orientation. We don’t want him to think that this is okay, and we don’t want the Boy Scouts to think that we think it is acceptable.
We haven’t talked to him together because our family hasn’t been together. We are renovating our house and we don’t have a kitchen, or air conditioning, or walls. The kids and I have been traveling as much as possible this summer to stay out of the way of the contractors and plumbers and framers and the other people who leave their Chick Fil A cups in my yard reminding me that I can’t eat there anymore.
This is why it sucked so much yesterday when my son saw my brother’s Cub Scout uniform hanging in his closet at my parent’s house. “Wow” he said, with a reverent look. “Uncle Mike’s Cub Scout shirt”. Then my eight year old looked at all of the patches and compared what he had in common with his uncle. “Tiger, wolf. WOAH! He was a Webelo? Cool!”
And I tried not to cry.
This isn’t fair to my son. This isn’t fair to my brother. How can these close minded, paranoid, bigots ruin scouting for little boys everywhere? Scouting is about adventure. Scouting is about leadership. Scouting is about respect and education and camping.
Well, scouting was about all of those things. Now it is about civil rights. It has to be. We have to stand up and say that this is unacceptable or nothing will change. It is hard, and unpleasant, and I know that my little boy is going to cry when I tell him that he can’t be in scouts with his friends anymore and I hate making him cry.
My son’s den is full of kind leaders who are good tolerant men. My son’s den is full of wonderful boys, some of whom would not have been allowed in a white den 70 years ago. I like to think we have come a long way from those days, but here we are again.
How am I going to explain to him that his twin sister can stay in Brownies but he has to quit Boy Scouts?
I guess I will tell him that the Girl Scouts accept self-identifying girls no matter gender they were born with and that it makes me proud. I suppose I will explain that when hate groups threatened to boycott Girl Scout cookies because the GSUSA let 7 year old Bobby Montoya join a Brownies the Girl Scouts stood behind Bobby and his troop.
I will tell him that if the Boy Scouts reverse their policies of hate and intolerance he can rejoin the very next day, but that we probably shouldn’t hold our breath. We will talk to our son about discrimination and why it is wrong and we will take him camping and hiking ourselves. We will invite his friends to come with us.
And of course I will tell him that life isn’t fair, because it isn’t. And that really stinks.