Boy Scouts Survey Adult Members About ‘What If’ Scenarios Involved In Lifting Their Gay Ban
“Bob is 15 years old, and the only openly gay Scout in a Boy Scout troop. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for the troop leader to allow Bob to tent with a heterosexual boy on an overnight camping trip?”
This is the third question on the Boys Scouts’ survey of parents, volunteers and alumni hoping to decide whether or not the traditional children’s group will allow homosexual scouts or troop leaders. The survey, which also includes more nuanced questions, went out to over 1.1 million adult scouts and is supposed to help the BSA leadership respond to the harsh criticism it has received for its anti-gay policies.
The use of the survey could be the latest attempt from the Boy Scouts to shirk responsibility for the actual decision-making process. Instead of forming an opinion about what is right and just for an organization that is supposed to teach young men about morals, it passes the choice off to a vast survey of people who can spread the blame. Even when the Boy Scouts announced the possibility of lifting their gay ban, they never said that they would mandate all troops accept members, no matter what their sexual orientation. It simply said that it would not disallow the acceptance of gay Scouts.
It’s also interesting to note that the survey does not include current members of the Boy Scouts, young people who have been born into a generation that it much more accepting of homosexuality.
The Boy Scouts have every right to survey their members about the change in policy. And I’m hoping that the members of the scouting community will rise to the occasion and prove themselves to be open-minded and thoughtful individuals who do not rely on tired assumptions and prejudices. I do not believe that there is any reason for a parent to care about a homosexual scout and a straight scout sharing a tent. It’s worth noting that gay scouts and straight scouts have been sharing tents for decades, it’s just that no one really talked about it openly.
I’m simply hoping that the BSA doesn’t use this survey as a shield to avoid taking real responsibility and leading their organization into the 21st century. Also, I hope the Boy Scouts are considering the number of people who won’t get the survey, the ones who have already left the organization because of its bigoted policies.