BSA Boycott: Buy Your Christmas Tree Elsewhere
Many of you may not recognize the picture the picture above. It is of a paperweight that I received in 1992—when I became and Eagle Scout. At the time, I was proud of this accomplishment. It took a lot of hard work. It was a project that I started when I was 11 and completed at age 17. The hours I spent working on various skills to earn various badges was well worth my time. I learned a great deal about myself, about how to be a good person, and about the outdoors. These are all things that I still value today. Though I had a positive experience as a Boy Scout, they are no longer an organization that I support. In fact, I stand in opposition towards two of their policies. They are vehemently anti-homosexual and anti-atheist. The latter affects me personally, the former affects someone I know well.
Throughout my time as Boy Scout, I had a scout leader named Rick. I cannot count the number of camping, hiking, biking, canoeing, and snowshoeing trips he took me and other kids on. I would like to point out that these are all things that I do today—regularly. I cannot count the ways in which he instilled a sense of patriotism in me—as a Boy Scout, at least at that time and place, becoming an Eagle Scout involved a great deal of “love of country”. This too is something that is still very important to me. In the 10 years that I was around Scouting and Rick—there were only positive and happy times, for me, and everyone else. (I was involved in the Scouting Troop until I was 21). Then something changed. Rick came out of the closet as a homosexual. I will skip the details, but the short version is that he was removed from having anything to do with the Boy Scouts. I was 21 at the time and this shocked me on a few levels. First, Rick was gay? He was the first openly gay person that I knew (it naturally turns out that some of the people and friends I had in high school and college are gay—though I didn’t know that at that time). This was the first time the “gay thing” had crossed my path. I had to stop and think about it…for about 3 seconds. I think that is all the time that I required to realize his removal from the Boy Scouts was preposterous. He had never behaved in an inappropriate manner towards any child. The only thing that Rick ever did was to teach us about ourselves and the world around us in a very positive way…and he got expelled? That was the day I stopped supporting the Boy Scouts and started supporting both, my friend Rick and the homosexual rights cause. Since that time, I have seen many stories where homosexual Scouts and Leaders have been expelled from the group. It happens all the time.
The above story was occurring during my transition from Catholicism to atheism. At the time of the “Rick Scandal”—and it was scandalous—many parents were upset about the possibility of pedophilia, which is absurd (as it would always be to equate homosexuality with pedophilia), I did not even know about the Boy Scouts’ anti-atheism stance. I suppose I never thought about when saying or hearing the Scout Law, the last part being that a scout is always “reverent”. I guess I never thought about it when saying or hearing the Scout Oath, which starts, “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God…” Looking back on it, god is the first thing Scouts swear an oath towards. Since I have left and opposed the Boy Scouts, I have seen numerous cases where atheist Scouts and Leaders have been expelled from the group. It happens all the time.
We live in a time where this type of bigotry can no longer be tolerated. It does not matter from where or which group it emanates. Do the Boy Scouts do a lot of good? Yes. But the cost is too high. This is an organization that is promoting discrimination against two groups of our fellow citizens. I don’t really give a damn about the community service they do. Why? Because as they are working to build up one part of the community, they are simultaneously working to destroy a sense of community acceptance for others. Plus, there are many groups out there doing the same work, groups who would be just as just as eager to take your donation of either time or money. There is no shortage of community service to be done. It is the logical fallacy of the “false dilemma” to imply that this is about helping charity or not doing so. We do NOT need to support the Boy Scouts to help Charity. In fact, supporting the Boy Scouts is supporting the anti-homosexual and anti-atheist crusade that is rampant in parts of this country. I was delighted to see that the United Parcel Service (UPS) pulled their sponsorship from the Boy Scouts just last month. I am asking you to do to the same. Every year, the Boy Scouts sell Christmas trees as a fundraiser. I am asking you to consider buying your tree elsewhere. Why support an organization that actively discriminates? I am not alone in making this request. Below, you will find a list of other secular bloggers who are doing the same today. Please stop by their sites and leave a comment if you support this iniative.
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